AN AUSTERE DECEMBER BUDGET will translate into a cold Christmas for many in Ireland because benefits are going down, wages are depressed and many running costs remain the same. I'm thinking specifically about the cost of fuel to heat homes and how some elderly pensioners in my small town of Cashel just won't have the spare change to buy another bag of coal. We have a 1600 litre tank for heating oil but it's never been filled and it's been run down to fumes four times since its first winter of 2005. I'm trying to stay ahead of the flow this year but it means paying 15% more than we did five years ago, turning off one floor for most of the time and allowing the boiler to run only on a timer. I'm taking pages from my mom's book on the American Depression because she had it much tougher back then. In fact, her family moved twice during the cold winters of the 1930s in Iowa because money from crops couldn't pay the mortgage. We have it much easier by comparison and as a bonus, we have the twinkling Cashel blue back on the town square once again this year. We are truly blessed in that kind of way.
Christmas in Ireland over 15 years, December 2009.
Christmas in Ireland, December 2008.
First Christmas in Ireland, December 2007.
Christmas in Ireland, December 2003.