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irish christmas

Here on the Emerald Isle, you might not have three feet of snow outside or Christmas carollers knocking on your door, but that doesn't mean you're not feeling festive.

Whether it's begging your co-workers to turn off Christmas FM in the office or roaring your head off to Fairytale of New York in the pub, the Irish festive season has its own unique quirks.

In fact, a survey by One4All  revealed that watching the Late Late Toy Show is this country's favourite festive tradition.

Well, is there anything more Christmassy than watching some poor four-year-old get starstruck during her toy demo on live TV?

Here are just a few oh-so Irish things we all look forward to in the run-up to Christmas…

1. The Grafton St lights being turned on
Even if you don't hail from Dublin, a trip to the capital is always in order come Christmas. Let's just ignore the 'Grafton Quarter' sign.

 

2. Guessing which gaudy jumper Ryan's going to wear on the Toy Show this year

Get guessing, ladies. The Toy Show returns on Friday!

3. Hearing Fairytale of New York for the first time on a night out
It's only acceptable in the week leading up to Christmas though.

4. The annual Brown Thomas Christmas windows
Remember the good ol' days when they were aimed at kids? Us too.

5. All of the hot alcoholic beverages
Mulled wine, hot whiskey, Irish coffee, Bailey's coffee… ALL.

 

6. The Christmas RTÉ Guide
Former esteemed cover stars include Marty Whelan, Miriam O'Callaghan and Dustin. 

7. Your annual Twelve Pubs expedition(s)
There's the work one, the BFFs one, the one you end up on by mistake… but they all finish here:

8. Christmas FM launching again
November 28, people. Prepare for your commute to get a LOT more festive.

9. Your mam getting out the fancy tins of biscuits
USA, Afternoon Tea and (if you're lucky) the purple Cadbury biscuit tin.

 

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Christmas is LESS than a week away, so naturally we've complied the things you'll probably encounter over the festive period.

Deep breathes lads, grab a drink and see how many you and your mates relate to on this list.

Sure, it wouldn't be an Irish Crimbo without them.

1. The relative that asks you what 'Santa got you' even though you're 25 – and don't forget the wink if there’s a child around.

2. Hiding Roses wrappers – you have no idea how many you've managed to eat without vomiting and you're hiding the wrappers of shame from the fam.

3. Being woken up to go to early mass or trying to stay awake for midnight mass – and the church is always freezing, WHY?

4. Having to fake liking a gift – they've no clue what you're into or what you like and haven't bothered to find out. This one will definitely be re-gifted, thanks Linda.

5. Getting to the age when gifts of socks and shower gel are exciting presents – sure, we can't afford the luxuries anymore when we are forking out an arm and half for rent in Dublin.

 

6. Your siblings that have well and truly moved out of the house are back for the Christmas period and this means war. Reverting back to childhood roles and fighting over the remote is just a rite of passage.

7. Board games are broken out and they start off well, until someone gets WAY too drunk, starts a fight or storms off.

8. It wouldn't be Christmas without your drunk uncle singing RA songs in the corner.

9. The unwanted comments on your fashion choices – "that skirt is a bit short, did you forget your trousers?"  "Are you not cold wearing that?" "Do you know you have holes in your jeans?" – EYE ROLL.

10. Trying to find your glass of wine; It's come to that time in the evening when everyone is tipsy and nobody knows who's glass is whose. 

11. You've been looking forward to your FAVE soap Christmas special all year. The writers are going ALL out and the plot is just divine…and then you have that one person who has never seen an episode since last Christmas asking who every character is – breathe, just breathe.

12.  It isn't a family gathering without this question and we suggest a shot of bourbon every time it's asked – DO YOU HAVE A BOYFRIEND YET? When the answer to that question is you have a better relationship with wine than the male species – just smile and walk away.

13. It wouldn't be the silly season without the grandparents being slightly racist – just look at the ground, deep breathes.

14. Spicy comments about any of this year's referendums – my body, my choice, Declan – don't start.

15. Or any political comments that you just don't have the strength to argue about after a year of working your ass off at work.

16. Same conversation again and again – yes I'm still single, yes I'm still working there, yes, nothing has changed.

17. Having to watch the Angelus bells on RTE, although you have no religious beliefs, but you know your mother is watching and she'll disown you otherwise.  

18. The one relative that always loses or misplaced their glasses – cue the entire room looking for them, when they realise they were sitting on them in whole time. 

19. The person who said they aren't drinking but ends up getting hammered.

20. The hungover person: the one who was way too ambitious with the drink on Christmas eve, and they're trying not to vomit as they force the Christmas dinner down. 

21. Waking up at crack of dawn for the Christmas sales, being abused by the crazy crowds for a bargain and then being shamed by the family for going out on the holy days and ruining tradition.  

22. Acting surprised as money from the Christmas card falls into your lap – ah, Jesus that's a lovely card Mary, OOHH and €50 too – ah you shouldn't have.

 

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We know, we know, Christmas is a time of joy and love, but it is also a time of FOOD. All the food.

After all, what would an Irish Yuletide celebration be without a massive tub of Roses, a half-eaten selection box and all the USA biscuits you can eat?

Here are just nine of the 'delicacies' we couldn't live without during the festive season…

1. Afternoon Tea and USA biscuits
An absolute festive staple. But is there anything worse than being trolled by your mam when she uses the empty tin to store Christmas decorations in?

 

2. Cadbury Roses
Prepare for some heated discussions about whether the Coffee Escape REALLY belongs in the Roses collection or not.

 

3. A selection box
Just for kids? Stop your nonsense and pass us that Curly Wurly.

 

4. Baileys
Save your G&Ts tonic for January – once Christmas hits it's pretty much obligatory to have a cheeky Baileys or five on every night out. 

 

5. The melon boat
The standard Irish Mammy "fancy" Christmas starter. What's that? A glacé cherry? Notions.

 

6. Sherry trifle
Your Nana is duty bound to make at least one of these throughout the Christmas season. Laced with alcohol, of course.

 

7. The Christmas yule log
Basically a chocolate Swiss Roll with the addition of some icing sugar for snow and some plastic holly leaves.  

 

8. Turkey and ham sandwiches
Forget Christmas dinner, the sandwich you make that evening while watching your new box set is the TRUE taste of Christmas. 

 

9. Fizzy orange
What better thing to wash down that sandwich with than some ice cold Finches or Club Orange? Hello, Christmas.

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Is there anything lovelier – or more bizarre – than a traditional Irish Christmas?

Okay, it's not everyone's cup of tea, but even the Grinches of the world can't say no to a tin of Roses and a hot whiskey.

No matter what's gone down over the previous twelve months, there are some traditions that always stay the same come Christmas time. Here are a few of the things that are no doubt going to happen in your house…

1. Someone will get a roasting for eating from the wrong selection box
"I was SAVING that Curly Wurly for tomorrow you heathen."

 

2. And there'll be a fight over when it's okay to eat the "good" biscuits
Look at them there, in their shiny tin, calling to you.

 

3. You say you'll have "just the one" down the pub on Christmas Eve
Just the one… entire bottle… of Baileys.

 

4. But despite the hangover, you'll still wake up early on Christmas morning
Because presents.

 

5. One relative will insist on hogging the TV for Coronation St on Dec 25th
"Can we not put on a box set and call it a day, Auntie Mags?"

 

6. Your mam/dad will SWEAR this is the year they get the roast potatoes right
"Anne in work said she uses coconut oil for them, so I bought a kilo."

 

7. You'll have to feign excitement for at least one awful gift
"Oh, a selection of lavender soaps, my fave."

 

8. There'll be a heated discussion about whether Coffee Escape belongs in the tin of Roses
A contentious issue indeed.

 

9. One relative will get a little too liberal with the sherry
And they'll start talking about your mam's "wild" days in the Sixties.

tv christmas drinking holiday that 70s show

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With all the lights and festive flare running rampant in our lovely little capital during the Christmas season, you would think that all of the locals would be in soaking up all the atmosphere of town in December. 

When actually, most of us are trying to avoid town like the absolute plague. 

1) The crowds 

I just want to walk up Henry street, buy a lipstick in MAC and go home. 

WHY ARE YOU ALL MAKING THIS SIMPLE TASK SO DIFFICULT. 

2) The traffic 

It doesn't even matter if you manage to avoid rush hour because in December, you can look forward to traffic ALL the time. 

3) The queues 

Want to walk around Dublin with a nice hot chocolate and soak in the festive cheer?

Make sure to pencil in the twenty minute queue for said hot chocolate. And also for anything else you may want to purchase 

4) The over zealous shoppers 

You really learn at Christmas that people are actually RUTHLESS. 

Do not go up against an Irish mammy with a load of shopping bags on the street because you will LOSE. 

5) The slow walkers 

Yes Dublin is beautiful and yes the lights are sparkly but I really just want to be able to walk up this street at a reasonable if not brisk pace. Thanks. 

6) The people who cannot use umbrellas 

Particularly relevant this year, is the onslaught of umbrellas because we are now forced to do our Christmas shopping in literal STORMS. 

Guard your eyeballs with your life people. 

7) The drunk people 

Don't get us wrong, we LOVE getting drunk at Christmas. 

But we don't like those who use the festive season to get so drunk that they literally destroy everything in their path (including the festive spirit). 

8) Penneys… in general 

All we want in life is to be able to go into Penneys and fill our baskets up with handy stocking fillers. 

But the crowds are exhausting and don't even get us started on the queues. And good luck if you want to get a matching festive PJs set in a size ten. 

9) Public transport 

Public transport at the best of times can be painful, but in December all modes of shepherding people to and from town become literal travelling boxes of sweat. 

The Luas gets a particular shout out on this one. 

We may just be feeling a bit grumpy after spending the last few weeks Christmas shopping but we do still think Dublin is amazing at Christmas. 

(But we personally won't be heading in til the New Year)  

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Much as we love our families, being in the presence of our parents non-stop for all of Christmas week can get a little exhausting.

Helen Rahily, a former Director of TV at RTÉ, is home from London for Christmas and the Irish Mammy Experience is already getting to be a bit too much for her.

Luckily she's decided to share all of her 88-year-old mammy's wise words with us via Twitter.

From blunt honesty:

To complaining about the price of things these days:

Not to mention the inevitable guilt trip:

Followed by another one:

Ah, family.

Follow @helenorahilly or look for the hashtag #IrishFamilyChristmas for more Irish Mammyisms… we're addicted!

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We know, we know, Christmas is a time of joy and love, but it is also a time of FOOD. Lots of food.

The Irish Christmas experience mainky involves chocolate, alcohol and cake – we know how to do things right in the Emerald Isle.

Here are just nine of the amazing foods we couldn't live without during the festive season…

1. Afternoon Tea biscuits
If you haven't already cracked open a leftover tin from last year, don't worry, you're bound to get at least three more tins from neighbours/long-lost aunts/the Christmas raffle. RIP, jelly star. You were the unsung hero of the Christmas biscuit selection.

2. Roses
The ultimate sign of a stingy person? They only arrive with a box of Roses, not the giant tub. Ah, who cares, it's all chocolate at the end of the day. Prepare for some heated discussions about whether the Coffee Escape REALLY belongs in the Roses collection or not.

3. A selection box
Just for kids? Stop your nonsense and pass us that Curly Wurly.

4. Baileys
Save your gin and slimline tonic for January – once December hits it's pretty much obligatory to have a cheeky Baileys or five on every night out. 

5. The melon boat
The standard Irish Mammy "fancy" Christmas starter. What's that? A glacé cherry? Notions.

6. Sherry trifle
Your nana is duty bound to make at least one of these throughout the Christmas season. Laced with alcohol, of course.

7. The Christmas yule log
Basically a chocolate Swiss Roll with the addition of some icing sugar for "snow" and a plastic holly bough or two. 

8. Turkey and ham sandwiches
Forget Christmas dinner, the sandwich you make that evening while watching your new box set is the TRUE taste of Christmas. White bread (fine, have brown if you like), butter, turkey, ham, optional mayo. Perfection.

9. Fizzy orange
What better thing to wash down that sandwich with than some ice cold Finches or Club Orange? Hello, Christmas.

 

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