Christmas Q&A - Fr David O’Hanlon, Loughnavalley

What are your favourite Christmas film and song?

Favourite song would have to be either O Holy Night (sung by Leontyne Price) or Last Christmas by Wham or All I want for Christmas by Mariah.

My favourite Christmas film has to be Gone with the Wind, which I regard as both feminist and anti-racist. Strong female protagonist. Every African American character is a good person – not so others.

Who cooks Christmas dinner in your house? What’s your favourite part?

Mammy cooks Christmas dinner. As Nell McCafferty said to Gay Byrne about her festive arrangements: “It is unnatural for a mother not to feed her child at any age!” I love turkey. I love Brussels sprouts. I love bread sauce. I love sherry trifle. I love mince pies and Christmas cake. I love chocolate. I love it all!

Do you have any family Christmas traditions?

Christmas tradition is the individualised Christmas stockings made by my father for every member of the family since 1980!

What’s your best Christmas memory?

Best Christmas memory is singing as a child with choir in Boyerstown at midnight Mass. The dark, the cold, the excitement!

How do you spend Christmas afternoon?

Christmas afternoon is spent waiting for Christmas dinner with bracing draughts of refreshment. Mammy says: “Imagine we’re only sitting down at four o’clock!” Daddy says (on every other Sunday of the year): “Sure isn’t this as good as a Christmas dinner?”

Are you an organised shopper or a Christmas Eve one?

Last minute shopper. I love rushing around Mullingar in the cold and dark when the lights are shining getting the last few things. TKMaxx, Halligan’s, Tesco.