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We think children are growing up much faster and are more informed about everything. 

Is this true? 

My friend’s granddaughter started secondary school in September. She is a bright child full of life and involved in all sports and activities. And in recent times, she is never without a smartphone in her hands (restricted) 

Yes, at thirteen years old, her mother had to take her aside and break that (AWFUL) news to her to avoid any embarrassment in front of her new classmates. 

Perhaps children are not growing up as fast as we assume they are, and that should be a good thing. 

I remember my mother all those years ago telling me how I would come to realise that school days are the best days of your life. 

I am still not convinced, but growing up too quickly is not the alternative. 

To help you and me get into the spirit of Christmas, let me first provide you with a poem for the children in your life. It’s by my favourite poet, Roger McGough. 

Why not add a poetry book to a child’s Christmas stocking this Christmas? Any good bookshop will be willing to offer suggestions. My recommendation would be ‘Pie in the Sky’. I have had this book by Roger McGough for years, and the child in me often seeks ideas and inspiration from between its pages. (read on) 

Mother, while you were at the shops 
and I was snoozing in my chair 
I heard a tap at the window 
saw a snowman standing there 

He looks so cold and miserable 
I almost could have cried  
so I put the kettle on  
and invited him inside 

I made him a cup of cocoa 
to warm the cockles of his nose  
then he snuggled in front of the fire  
for a cosy little dose 

He lay there warm and smiling 
softly counting sheep  
I eavesdropped for a little while 
Then I too fell asleep 

Seems he woke and tiptoed out  
exactly when I’m not too sure  
It’s a wonder you didn’t see him  
as you came through the door 

(Oh, and by the way,  
the kitten made a puddle on the floor) 

For the last few years, I have spent time in August in Listowel, attending the Revive Festival and, after the festival, being entertained in JB Keanes Pub for the remainder of the night and now managed by his son Billy (a great publican, host, and author in his own right). 

Here is an extract from John B. Keane’s Christmas story entitled ‘Many Years Ago’ 

If the Christmas that came to our street were a person, he would be something like this: he would be in his 60s but glowing with rude health. His face would be flushed and chubby with sideburns down to the rims of his jaws. He will be wearing gators and a tweed suit and he would be mildly intoxicated. His pockets would be filled with silver coins for small boys and girls and for the older folk he would have a party at which he would preside with his waist coated paunch, extending benignly, and his posterior benefiting from the glow of a roaring log fire. 

But you see Christmas is an occasion not a person, A person can do things, change things, create things but all our occasions are only what we want them to be. 

My wish for you and me is that we could be that person over the Christmas Holidays. 

Thank you for reading my scribblings over the year and if you enjoy my stuff, could I ask you to gift this article to a friend or colleague?