DUBLIN -- Christmas ornaments have started appearing in shop windows, red leaves hang defiantly on tree branches and bight red garments adorn kids who are itemising their Christmas lists while also trying on Halloween costumes. It seems the Christmas sales season is creeping closer to the October bank holiday weekend. Where I grew up in the States, my Irish grandmother insisted it was not proper to begin thinking about Christmas until the last leaves had dropped from the trees. This led to many afternoons of leaf-picking while ostensibly creating an album of pressed leaves.
I haven't seen Irish kids picking leaves. They appear to be as enthused about Christmas shopping as I was before I knew the secret of Santa.