The holidays in Northern Ireland are very similar with a few differences to what we are used to in the States. Christmas is a very big time of the year for families and for shopping. Because there is no Thanksgiving holiday here, the shops begin to put out Christmas decorations right after Halloween and they promote it all the way through the new year. Many people buy very expensive gifts for their children like video games, bikes, laptops, and other things like that. It always amazes me the extravance of their gifts for their children. Like most places, Christmas is very commercialized. Many families only get together out of duty and many find it a very stressful time. Drinking is a big part of the holiday celebrations; but then, of course, it is a big part of any celebration and any weekend, even if there is no celebration. Even though we don’t drink, we actually received a bottle of wine as a Christmas present this year.
The day after Christmas is another big holiday called Boxing Day when people usually getogether to eat another big meal and be with family. It traditionally comes from giving gifts out of a box to poorer people and also refers to boxing matches that were help on that day. Everyone I talk to has a different story about how it originated, but that is what I have come up with so far.
New Years is traditionally a time to drink some more. We had a party on Christmas Day evening and New Year’s Eve. I really enjoyed both and it gave a Christian alternative to our church people. They are a wonderful group of people and I really enjoy getting together with them.