This is a just for fun article that I was asked to write for the local parish Christmas newsletter. You can join me on a free, fun ‘Christmas Memory Writing Session’ at 8pm on Tuesday 17th November 2020 by clicking here.


The very moment Maurice Musgrave phoned and asked me to write a piece on my favourite Christmas memory, a smile spread across my face as a memory instantly popped forward. It was almost like it was spring loaded, just waiting to burst out!

I have always loved Christmas and still do to this day. There’s magic everywhere and people seem to let that magic play a bigger role in their day to day lives than they do at any other time of the year.

Every year we’d hound mammy and daddy to ‘please let us put up the decorations’ the moment the calendar page turned to December even though, they had to stay up well past Christmas until January 15th annually! That’s my birthday and it always seemed unfair that my three sibling’s birthdays all conveniently fell between the prime decoration period of December 16th to 31st!

Anyways, my favourite Christmas memory is from the year 1996. I was 9 and was obsessed with horses.  Our trusty 12.1hh Dartmoor pony Holly was my number one best friend and accomplice. Since I was old enough to talk, horses (and dinosaurs!) were my world. Being a ‘real’ cowboy was what I spent my youth striving towards.  There’s a cowboy hat on my head in most of my childhood photos, I really took it seriously!

Having mastered the art of using a normal saddle and going bareback (like the ninjins!) I set my sights on a real-life western saddle from Santy. There was nothing else on the list that year, just a cowboy saddle for the county Kildare girl and her trusty steed. It was all I talked about and dreamt about. I remember having serious in-depth conversations with Holly about what we’d do when we got ‘the saddle’. The places we’d go, the adventures we’d have… With a lasso and hip flask hanging by our sides, the possibilities were endless!

I couldn’t sleep that Christmas eve, which in fairness wasn’t unusual for us, but this Christmas in particular, I really couldn’t settle. Would the big man in red pull it out of the bag? Would he get to the Wild West and bring me a saddle for the bog lanes of Kildare?

At 3am on Christmas morning I’d had enough, I couldn’t wait a moment longer. I tiptoed out onto the landing, silently glided towards my sister’s bedroom door, and beckoned her with a silent “shhh” to get up! We went down the stairs in complete stealth mode. Each step was precision, I’m pretty sure I stopped breathing!

As our eyes adjusted to the dim Christmas tree lights, I could see shapes appear. A bike for my brother, a huge life-size doll for my little sister, shoe boxes and clothes for my big sis… Then there it was… Like a vision from heaven!

The black leather shinning against the twinkling lights…

“GET UP QUICK” I screamed at the top of my lungs to the sleeping house around me, “HE’S BEEN HERE!!”

Needless to say, Holly was not available for our maiden voyage at 3am on December 25th 1996 but thankfully, Daddy was!

Wishing you and yours a little bit of magic this Christmas and every day.

Emma-Jane Leeson.

Christmas Memory Emma-Jane Leeson


You can join me on a free, fun ‘Christmas Memory Writing Session’ at 8pm on Tuesday 17th November 2020 by clicking here.