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celebrations

‘Tis the season to gather with family and friends amidst the twinkle of vibrant lights, the warm crackle of a fireplace, and the nostalgia of red or green décor.

But with that hectic pace of the holidays just around the corner, this doesn’t give you much time to plan and execute the perfect seasonal soiree.

So whether you’re hosting an office social for your co-workers or a laid-back evening with your closest friends, these last-minute ideas will ensure a festive party atmosphere that’s both merry and bright—without the added stress.

Backyard Bonfire Roast Party

As the weather cools down and the daylight hours shorten, it’s an ideal time to huddle around a firepit with the people you love.

Host a bonfire in the backyard, complete with outdoor games, torch lights, cosy blankets and seasonal noshes.

For a sweet tooth option, provide the fixings to roast s’mores and simmer a batch of crockpot hot chocolate.

Or if you want to serve an entire meal for the guests, Midwest Living recommends hearty winter staples like fondue or chilli that can be enjoyed around a roaring flame.     

Tacky Christmas Jumper Party

What is the reverse of a swanky gala with a black-tie dress code? The obvious answer is a tacky sweater bash, and for this event, the quirkier your guests deck themselves out, the more hilarity will ensue.

So the choice is yours—either keep it G-rated, or make it adult only with jumpers that scream “naughty list.”

You can even reward the person, whose attire is the most outlandish, with a Christmas-themed mug and Starbucks gift card to savour a holiday drink (while rocking that sweater, of course).   

Around the World Potluck Party

If you’re curious about how other cultures show off their holiday spirit, then a global inspired celebration is an exciting way to find out.

Invite guests to prepare traditional foods which represent Christmastime all over the world and host a potluck where everyone can sample these unique, exotic dishes.

This streamlines the menu planning, so you can focus more efforts on other memorable touches such these decorations from various countries for an ambiance that’s culturally diverse and authentic.

Holiday Cookie Exchange Party

Since just about every person breaks out their oven mitts and dusts off their cookie recipes this time of year, it’s the perfect occasion to gather your loved ones for a cookie exchange.

Bake a few dozen seasonal treats, and request your friends or family do the same. Then invite the whole crew together to nibble on each other’s creations, swap their favourite recipes, and bring home a selection of these holiday desserts.

To pull off the ultimate cookie exchange, Good Housekeeping delivers some hassle-free ideas.

No matter how you decide to celebrate the holidays, these creative and festive themes are sure to enchant your guests and make them feel all the warmth this season has to offer.

Even if you’re short on time, there is no reason you can’t still host a meaningful experience for those you care about—and maintain sanity in the process.

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If you've spent much of January bemoaning the number of Celebrations you ploughed through over the festive season, you're (obviously) not alone.

But in our defence, we honestly feel we wouldn't have eaten our way through so many of the less popular ones if we'd been supplied with a larger quanity of our favourite one – the Malteaser Teaser.

Generally considered the holy grail of the Celebrations box, the Malteaser variety is your only man, and it looks like Mars have finally cottoned on to this one.

Doing their bit for mankind, the confectionary company have released – wait for it – a box of nothing BUT Malteaser Teasers,

Yes, you read that right.

Hitting the shelves in Tesco, the retailer is, according to reports, the only place you can get your hands on them.

So we'd advise you to move quick before you're left wrestling for the last box with… well… us.

Don't say we didn't warn you.
 

 

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If you're celebrating St Patrick's Day in the West today you might notice things are a little more subdued than usual.

At least that's the aim of the plan laid down by several supermarkets and off-licences across Galway, preventing revellers from purchasing alcohol until 3pm today, March 17.

It's hoped the initiative will help to cut down on anti-social behaviour in the area, on a day which is notorious for on-street trouble.

According the Gardaí, the initiative is totally voluntary and businesses are under no legal obligation to refrain from selling alcohol.

Speaking to Newstalk today, Galway's Lord Mayor Frank Fahy said that the issue of anti-social behaviour on March 17 was not just isolated to one part of Ireland.

"We need to encourage people that there are other ways to celebrate St Patrick's Day other than going over the top as regards alcohol.

"It's not just Galway, every city has the same problem, right across the country."

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Chocolate fiends, listen up.

Confectionary giant Mars has reportedly been forced to issue a 'voluntary recall' of products in 55 countries, after plastic was found in one batch.

The recall affects products distributed from the Netherlands earlier this year but only certain Celebrations boxes and variety packs believed to be affected. 

The problem specifically affects Mars, Milky Way and Mixed Variety Packs as well as Celebrations with the following best before dates:

  • 08/05/2016
  • 17/07/2016
  • 24/07/2016
  • 04/09/2016
  • 11/09/2016
  • 18/09/2016
  • 02/10/2016

"This is an isolated incident and only the above products manufactured in the Netherlands are impacted. No other varieties of chocolate, pack formats or bar sizes are affected in Ireland," read a statement released by Mars Ireland. 

"To date, we have only received one consumer complaint. In Ireland, we have not received any consumer complaints."

"Mars Ireland regrets any inconvenience caused to our consumers. We offer our consumers our sincere apologies."

If you currently have any of the affected products, you are asked to call the customer care team on 1890 812315.

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A victorious Dublin team returned to the capital city today to celebrate after yesterday's All Ireland Senior Football win over Kerry.

Crowds were gathering on O'Connell St all evening ahead of the team's arrival, but, as is tradition, the Sam Maguire cup made a few other special visits first today:

And probably a few unscheduled ones too, starting with the Boar's Head pub on Capel St at 9am:

But after an official presentation in Dublin's Mansion house, the team made their way by bus over to O'Connell St, where thousands of locals were present to welcome them home.

Not to be left out, even the city's Lord Mayor Críona Ní Dálaigh jumped on board:

Just look at that view:

There'll be quite a few young fans too hyped up to do their homework tonight, but Dublin GAA are going to get them off the hook (kinda):

And did anyone use this 'sick' note this morning?

After speeches, it was on to the songs, with Kevin McManamon leading the tunes:

Looks like an amazing evening… Congrats to this year's All Ireland Champs!

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Kylie Jenner has celebrated her birthday by doing something crazy – shaving her head!

The teenage reality TV star showed off her new look on her Instagram account with the caption: “So this happened yesterday.”

Her new hairstyle features an under buzzcut beneath her bob, and we have to say, it looks quite edgy and cool on her!

Kylie has always had a much different style to her sisters, which we think is great.

The 17-year-old celebrated her birthday in style with friends and family…and even Justin Bieber!

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The cast of Irish drama Love/Hate didn’t want the celebrations at their wrap party to end so they caught a flight to Spain!

The TV stars are said to have moved the celebrations for finishing the fifth series from Dublin to the Costa Del Sol at the weekend.

Bosses of the hit show splashed out thousands of euro on a wrap party in Dublin but that just wasn’t enough for some of the cast.

It’s understood at least 10 people from the star-studded bash boarded a flight for some fun in the sun.

Laurence Kinlan, who plays Elmo in the fifth series which is to air next autumn, was boasting on Twitter about the epic session, and posted an Instagram photo with the caption: “Jesus it’s warm over here!”

Around 200 members of the cast and crew, including Tom Vaughan-Lawlor who plays Nidge, Fran actor, Peter Coonan and Charlie Murphy who plays Siobhan, were at the wrap party.

The celebrations for the cast and crew may be the last for the group as it has been rumoured that series five is the final hurrah.

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