Marie Louise McConville: Exhausted from my Christmas dinner debut

I had entirely underestimated the amount of work that goes into making and hosting Christmas dinner
I had entirely underestimated the amount of work that goes into making and hosting Christmas dinner I had entirely underestimated the amount of work that goes into making and hosting Christmas dinner

I don't mind telling you that I'm absolutely exhausted.

I just feel like every ounce of energy has been zapped out of me but the festive season will do that to you.

Of course, this year was a little different for the McConvilles as we hosted Christmas dinner for the first time - ever.

I can hear the laughing now but it's true.

At the grand old age of 45, I had never made Christmas dinner.

And in a bid to right that wrong, a few months ago, I asked my in-laws if they would like to come to us for a change.

Every year, the four of us are warmly welcomed to Strangford and basically, are waited on hand and foot.

We are handed a beautiful four-course meal and afterwards we just sit on there on the verge of a food coma while my in-laws do the dishes, on their insistence. It's brilliant.

So this year I asked them to come to us thinking it might be nice for the kids to be in their own house all day giving them the chance to play with whatever Santa would bring.

Looking back now, I had completely underestimated just how much work goes into making Christmas dinner and hosting two visitors, never mind any more.

Don't get me wrong, it was a really lovely day but it was a lot of work.

We had meticulously planned the menu and thought we were wholly prepared but that was nothing compared to the prep on the day and the serving.

To be honest, it was Darren who did most of the cooking while I dressed the table and got other things ready.

He plated and I served but my goodness, it was like running a marathon relay, trying to make sure the various elements were hot, at the same time and everyone was sitting, at the same time.

And when all the eating was done and we were all ready to fall asleep at the table, it was time for the clear up but there were just so many pots and plates and cutlery - it seemed never-ending.

I really take my hat off to anyone who does this year in, year out and still manages to keep it festive, I certainly wouldn't be in a rush to do it again.

All that mixing and roasting and whisking and mashing, I can do without it.

We've only just recovered and now it's time for another celebration, New Year's Eve, which I dislike.

As usual, we will all be in bed well before the New Year arrives and that suits me just fine.

2022 had plenty of ups and downs and now we must looks towards a new year with hope for brighter days.

So come one 2023, let's be having ya...I'm sensing a lottery win.


US singer Lizzo has revealed she had a bit of an emotional festive season after receiving a special Merry Christmas message from her idol, James Galway.

The 34-year-old `2 Be Loved' performer cried tears of joy after the Belfast-born flute player sent her a video of him playing `We Wish You A Merry Christmas' on the flute.

In a message, the 83-year-old added: "Merry Christmas, Lizzo, from your number one fan".

Over the video, Lizzo wrote: "Y'all - Sir James Galway wished ME a merry Christmas'.

The Grammy Award-winning singer then added: "Price went ALL THE WAY UP".



So, who fancies winning some cinema passes to brighten up a gloomy January?

2023 is shaping up to be a fantastic year for new films and all will be available to see at Movie House Cinemas, which has four locations around Northern Ireland at City Side in Belfast, Glengormley, Maghera and Coleraine.

While `I Wanna Dance With Somebody' tells the story of the life and times of musical icon, Whitney Houston, Till tells the true story of Mamie Till-Mobley's relentless pursuit of justice for her 14-year-old son, Emmett Till, who was brutally lynched in 1955 in Mississippi.

In a Man Called Otto, Tom Hanks takes on the lead role of a grumpy widower whose life is transformed when a lively young family moves in next door.

Full details of the forthcoming line-up is available at

I have two pairs of tickets for Movie House Cinemas to give away.

If you would like the chance to win the tickets, simply email your name, address and telephone number – along with the answer to the question below – to

Closing date for entries is noon on Tuesday January 10.

(Q) Which male actor stars in the lead role in A Man Called Otto?

Normal Irish News rules apply.