April Drew caught up with some old friends in New York, and their kids, to see what Santa would be putting under the Christmas tree this year.
Santa is coming to town, and all the Irish boys and girls in New York are getting very excited for his arrival next week.
Two-year-old Ella Dolan, who will start playschool next year, is already getting into the Christmas spirit. Every night before bed Ella and her mommy light a special candle for baby Jesus.
Sometimes if she is good Ella is allowed to watch “Follow Santa” on the computer. It’s a website that tracks Santa’s movements across the world leading up to Christmas Day. Ella loves it and gets very excited when she sees Santa online.
Although Ella and her parents, who are Irish born, will continue the tradition of leaving out a cookie and milk for Santa, they will go that extra mile for Christmas 2012.
“This year my mammy said she will mix oats and glitter and we will spread it on the grass for Rudolph,” Ella told the Irish Voice last week.
She is hoping Santa will bring her “Dora and Diego and a baby doll and a toy for Elfie.”
The Yonkers resident will have Christmas dinner with her parents in their house and her aunt and uncle will join them too.
“I am going to help my mammy cook a big dinner and we will have ice cream too -- it’s my favorite,” Ella says.
Adam, 5, and Sophie, 3, are the children of Cork export Lisa and Fermanagh immigrant John. They live in Yonkers. Adam goes to Paideia School 15 and Sophie is in the 3S program at the Will Library.
December isn’t all about Santa and presents for this family. This time three years ago Adam was undergoing open heart surgery. Today the family celebrate their son’s life because he has beaten the odds and is living a healthy and normal life.
Lisa told the Irish Voice that she and her husband are “so thankful” for their beautiful kids.
“A few years ago we didn’t think that was possible but Adam has showed us his strength and courage every day,” she added.
Adam wrote via email he was most excited about “Santy bringing me my pirate Lego book.”
His only concern was his behavior. “I hope Santy thinks I was good enough to bring me my Lego,” he said.
Adam’s little blonde haired sister Sophie is excited about getting a grocery store all for herself so she can run her own shop.
When asked what he was thankful for this Christmas season Adam said, “I’m thankful for my family and mommy.” Sophie was thankful for “my dollies.”
Lisa and John will be cooking the dinner. Her sister Anna, her husband Ivan, her niece Olivia and her nephew Jack will join them for the Christmas feast in their Yonkers home.
In an effort to pay respect to the families of the Newtown tragedy, Lisa asked that all parents “slow down” and not be so focused on material things this Christmas.
“Let’s try to do something as simple as lighting a candle or giving our elderly neighbor a hug,” said Lisa.
Every night Lisa and John pray with their kids. “We pray each night for all the sick boys and girls with broken hearts. I want the kids to be aware of how lucky we are to have what we have,” she added.
In January Lisa and Adam will do the New York City Heart Walk. They have asked people through Facebook to sponsor this cause.
“It’s close to our hearts and we are always trying to spread the word about congenital heart defects being the number one birth defect,” she said.
Erin and Peter McGlynn are very excited about Christmas this year. They became parents to their daughter Maeve earlier in the year and have their Yonkers home decked out for the Christmas celebrations.
Maeve will spend her first Christmas in Long Island with her grandparents and cousins. Her dad Peter hails from Donegal. Not wanting to leave out the Irish relations, they plan to spend part of their Christmas day Skyping with family in Ireland.
“This year we are extremely thankful for a beautiful, happy and healthy baby girl and wonderful families on both sides of the pond,” Erin told the Irish Voice.
Santa will bring Maeve her first baby doll, clothes and some extra fun toys.
“We have met Santa twice, both times she cried when she sat on his lap. Hopefully next year she will warm up to Santa,” said Erin.
Maeve visited her Donegal cousins last August for two weeks, and the McGlynns plan to bring her back again in the not too distant future.
Keegan, 7, Nolan, 6, and Brian, 4 are the sons of Kathy and Jerry Hess, both who have families from Roscommon and Tyrone. The Hess family holiday traditions starts Christmas Eve when Kathy’s whole family gets together.
“The tradition we have had as family is to spend Christmas Eve with my family at my Aunt Mary Beth’s house. She and Uncle Paul would put out a spread that you would need to starve for a week to have enough room to eat,” said Kathy.
“Last year we had my whole family together so it was an especially wonderful Christmas Eve. Early in the spring, she passed away so we will be starting another tradition for our family this year, with our lost families in our thoughts and prayers.”
They will have Christmas dinner at Kathy’s Parents house up north in Stormville, New York.
Although little Keegan is most excited about getting toys for Christmas he has one worry.
“What if I’m on the naughty list?”
He asked for an R/C camera airplane.
When asked what he plans to do to get back on the nice list Keegan said, “I’m going to listen to my mommy and daddy.”
Keegan said he is thankful “that we have money and we are alive.”
Kathy notes that Keegan has collected some money this year to give to the poor. She is very proud.
Keegan’s younger brother Nolan is excited about a lot of things. “I can’t wait for a week of no school, Santa, the Christmas tree, Celtics Christmas party and snow,” he said.
Nolan said the best things in his life are “McDonald’s, computers, TV, basketball, soccer, Gaelic, but not school.”
Confident he has been good, Nolan said Santa will bring him a trike, a domino rally and a Kindle.
“On Christmas Eve, I won’t get coal,” he said.
The youngest of the three Hess boys, Brian, said, “I want Santa to come and bring presents right upstairs, that’s what I am excited for, but if he puts them under the tree, that’s okay too,” Brian said.
Through all this excitement Brian can’t remember what he asked Santa for. He looks forward to the surprise.
All three Hess boys promise to go to bed early on Christmas Eve.