xmas in arizona

It’s been a long tough year as the coronavirus continues to mutate. Our lives have changed and social restrictions continue to rule how we live. With the fear of yet another lockdown keeping us at home in Ireland, we took advantage of travel restrictions being lifted and headed to Arizona. Christmas in Ireland is wonderful as family and friends gather around food-laden tables and open fires sharing stories, love and laughter, but the longing to be near one’s own children is strong. 

South Africa was sadly not an option this year and I sincerely hope our grandchildren ‘don’t lose the smell of us.’ I’ve stolen that line from a friend whose children were also overseas and changed it slightly. When she said – ‘I’ve lost the smell of my children’ – my heart resonated with sadness. However, we’ve been doubly blessed to spend Xmas with our daughter and her husband in Arizona. It’s the best gift we could receive. Never under-value the joy of being with family or dear friends. The pandemic restrictions have highlighted that above all else. 

Enough of being maudlin and I will count my blessings. Right now I’m relishing the blue skies and warm winter sun. It’s such a joy to sit outside and although I’m heartsore at not seeing our South African family, my thoughts are with them. Thank goodness for WhatsApp and all the other social media connections, especially the voice messages from our much-loved grand-children. Richard likes this verse so I’ll include it again this year. 


This Christmas I can’t be with you, 

But be assured you are forever in my thoughts 

And deeply entwined in my heart; 

No matter how many miles separate us, 

My arms reach out to embrace you, 

And I hold dear all that you have given me,

Pure joy, tenderness, and a life filled with happiness. 

This Christmas, 

I send you all my love 

And hold you close to my heart. 

©Helena Abrahams 


There is a certain irony in what I wrote about Santa Claus in December 2019. Covid was not on the Irish doorstep until February 2020. This is an extract from that blog. 

‘We are all familiar with the big, white bearded man dressed in red and known as Santa Claus or just Santa. He has many aliases and a great many passports. New legislation in Europe has really p… him off. Every year he must apply for a new licence to break into people’s homes. Unlike your usual thief in the night so far that licence has been granted, but a time may come when he is refused.’ 

They say you can’t beat the Irish for their good luck, but Santa’s good luck in December 2020, was awesome. Not only did the Irish government declare him exempt from Ireland’s Covid quarantine rules, he was also considered an essential worker. There’s a few clever dicks running the country counting the future votes of all the families and children who will be grateful for SantaOpenGate intervention. These politicians are no fools. Well, they have their moments. Happy Xmas Lads and Lassies and good luck with the politicking! 

Apparently, Santa tested negative for Covid-19 prior to his arrival. Rumours abound that he received PUP – the Pandemic Unemployment Payment, not only in Ireland, but in other European countries. I assume these rumours are just sour grapes from people who couldn’t travel like Santa, although his usual red suit was replaced by a classy Prada track-suit trimmed with Russian sable. Hmmm! 



Cacti with Santa hats and Xmas lights. And boy, the Xmas lights and decorations here are awesome. Reindeer (not real ones) are mid-prance and brighten the byways and highways. Santa is dressed in all his fur-trimmed-red-finery, ready to jump into his sleigh and travel the world. I hope he’s had his Covid jabs or there’ll be no mince pies left out for him in this house. Santa, don’t forget your mask and make sure you sanitize my table when you’ve stuffed your gob.

In Chandler, Arizona, tumbleweeds are made into a Xmas tree every year – 35 feet tall and 20 feet wide. This tradition dates back to 1957. It only takes 1,000 of these dead plants to create this amazing Xmas tree, a gargantuan 80 pounds of shimmer and sparkle and 1,200 LED lights. Wow! Can it be seen from space? I’ll ask Richard Mork when he returns from visiting his family in Mars. 

Apparently, along Interstate 17 near Sunset Point, one tree is mysteriously decorated every year. This has been happening for 30 years. I know who the mystery decorator is, but I’m not saying. My lips are sealed, but can be unsealed for a certain price. I’m not greedy. Add 6 zeros to 200 and the info is yours. 


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As we’re not too far from Mexico this Xmas, I’ll wish you – Feliz Navidad. 

To honour my lovely daughters-in-law in South Africa, I wish them the Afrikaans Gelukkige Kersfees and Chinese 诞快乐 . To our sons – the Irish greeting of 

Nollaig Shona Daoibh. Enjoy the craic and have a grand day. Sure with the sun shining down on ye all the turkey will cook itself. 

I’ll be thinking of you all as you celebrate across the oceans and I promise to remember the seven hour time difference so I don’t awaken you from your sweet dreams. Although, you might thank me if you’re being chased by a ginormous Xmas pudding. 

I wish you happiness, great joy and peace!

Read my blog –  All I Want For Xmas Is You!

I have written two novels available on Amazon

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  1. So very happy for your reunion Helena ye deserve it.Have an amazing Xmas and a Great New year.I’m sure you will be inspired by your amazing surroundings.
    Love to everyone.

    • Sorry for the late reply Mary! I lost all sense of time. We had an amazing Xmas with the family. Love every moment being in Arizona.
      Inspiration galore here. The Xmas tree made from tumbleweed (Xmas blog) is amazing). Huge cacti. Camelback mountain. So much to see – a feast for the eyes. Need more inspiration for the New Year’s blog. Hope you had a lovely Xmas and love to you all. Helena xxxxx

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