Marie Louise McConville: With just 146 days to go, I've started preparing for Christmas - have you?

With just 146 days to go, have you started preparing for Christmas 2020?
With just 146 days to go, have you started preparing for Christmas 2020?

So, with just 146 days to go, have you started preparing?

In reality, 22 weeks is not a long a time and really, your Christmas planning should be well under way right now.

Now, don't start on me because I've already got into my yuletide preparations.

You all know I always try to start early and this year in particular I am determined to make some in-roads.

In the middle of the pandemic, I realised I needed to buy some things to keep the kids entertained as best I could so I could work.

But when I logged on to buy colouring books, tracing pads and other items, it was a bit of a nightmare as most days things were sold out.

So, of course, my mind soon turned to Christmas and what would it be like if we were all still in lockdown in December?

Can you imagine organising Christmas for two young kids in the middle of a second wave, with most shops closed and online traffic at its busiest?

Well, even the thought was too much for me so I started investigating Christmas 2020 and as usual, making a list.

Here's my fear.

As someone with an underlying health condition I am already concerned about a second peak of Covid-19 and it got me thinking, how will Santa get out and about?

So, for the past few months, on the day I got paid, I have been budgeting and then sending Santa money to get a few things organised and then he hides them away.

Of course, Darren is in total despair at my so-called craziness but I will not be deterred.

When some of the shops reopened in recent weeks, I ventured one day into a toy shop.

I was with my friend who couldn't quite hide her disgust at me - helping Santa with Christmas in June - and I told her my fears over everywhere shutting again.

It was overheard by someone who worked in the shop and he said to me: "You are just right. We could close again".

I was delighted.

Don't get me wrong, I'm lucky because my kids are still young enough that they will be happy with whatever Santa brings them. They are not yet old enough to be asking for specific things.

My thinking is I should take advantage of this while I can.

I have no doubt Santa will have his work cut out for him this year - visiting every house around the world without spreading coronavirus and I can't even think about his elves, trying to make toys while socially distancing in the workshop.

If I can help make their job any easier, I am happy to do so and if getting ready earlier brings me a sense of peace, I won't apologise for it.

Laugh if you will but you have been warned.


My favourite US songstress returned to the music scene with a new album and I was so happy to see her.

Taylor Swift launched her new album, Folklore, which sold more than 1.3 million copies in the first 24 hours, breaking all kinds of records.

In a social media statement, the singer described the new album as songs she had "poured all of my whims, dreams, fears and musings into… Before this year, I probably would've overthought when to release this music at the 'perfect time,' but the times we're living in keep reminding me that nothing is guaranteed".

Keep up the good work Taylor.


With the school holidays in full swing, like most parents I am busy trying to find and book activities to keep the kids occupied while abiding by ongoing Covid-19 restrictions.

With soft play ruled out as well as play parks, it's been difficult but thankfully, cinemas have reopened and despite a delay in new films being released, there is still plenty on.

While some cinemas do have a few new movies to show, many have also taken to showing some much-loved classics, including Dirty Dancing, The Greatest Showman, Mamma Mia, Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter.

And, if you have young children like myself, the brilliant Trolls: World Tour is also on the bill at many cinemas.

Our family of four went to see it recently and it was just such a brilliant, light-hearted, colourful film with great music - bums were definitely dancing in the seats.

In Trolls: World Tour we rejoin Princess Poppy and best friend, Branch on a new adventure, this time, to save trolls all over the land from Queen Barb who wants to rid the world of all types of music except for rock.

As a result, Poppy and her gang of pop trolls must visit trolls devoted to six different kinds of music in a bid to unite them and save the genres from becoming extinct.

It's a great film for both kids and adults and the perfect way to spend a rainy August afternoon.