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January 6th, also known as Little Women’s Christmas or Nollaig na mBan, was once considered the one day of the year when women were given a break from endless chores and housework to meet up with female relatives and friends in an effort to celebrate their own little Christmas.

On the Feast of the Epiphany, men were left to their own devices while the women folk deserted the house to eat, drink and sing with wild abandon. While this tradition certainly isn’t as prevalent as it was in past decades, there’s no doubt that elements of the custom can still be seen throughout the country today.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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To a certain extent, women across Ireland still observe this feast day, but instead of looking on it as a break from domestic responsibilities, ladies use the 6th to celebrate mother-daughter relations, female friendship and sisterhood.

In an age where domestic responsibilities are more evenly split within the home, the 6th no longer signifies a woman’s much-deserved break from the tedium of household chores, but an occasion to celebrate the festive season with the women and girls in her life. Nollaig na mBan urges us to appreciate the powerful, wonderful and strong women in our lives.

It is also a time to reflect on just how far Irish women have come, most notably in recent years when the 8th Amendment was abolished and abortion was legalised in Ireland. Irish women are proud of their voices. We are no loner afraid to fight for what we deserve or to celebrate what we achieve.

So, if you haven’t gotten a chance to open a bottle of wine and relax with a group of close girlfriends over the festive season, then make today that day and keep this lovely custom alive!

 

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The most wonderful time of the year is here and there’s no place we’d rather celebrate than home. There’s something so special about Ireland at Christmas time and Deliveroo has reminded us of that.

They gathered up a list of the country’s top Christmas traditions and all our favourites made the list, including the Late Late Toy Show.

Deliveroo’s survey highlights that six of Ireland’s fifteen most popular festive traditions that inspire the most Christmas spirit revolve around food and drink.

Top 15 Traditions that inspire the most Christmas Spirit:

Christmas decorations

The Late Late Toy Show

Christmas adverts

Festive coffees

Mince pies

Christmas songs

Christmas sandwiches

Receiving the first Christmas card

Christmas markets (at home and abroad)

Christmas dinners

Glass of Bailey’s

Opening the first window of an Advent Calendar

Festive crisps and dips

Carol singers

Christmas filters on Snapchat and Instagram

Food will be as important as ever this year, as the average Irish person will consume 6 slices of smoked salmon, 2 glasses of Bailey’s, 4 Christmas sandwiches, 6.5 mince pies, 2.5 glasses of mulled wine, 2 Christmas dinners, 11 Brussel Sprouts and 1 potato croquette. 

When do we start to get those Festive Feels? The research reveals that almost one in three (32%) start to feel festive at their first Christmas party. While 27 percent say that the turning of the calendar to December 1st prompts their feelings of festivity. Almost one in five Irish adults (19%) say that the Late Late Show kicks off the festivities, followed by receiving the first Christmas card (12%)  and seeing the Christmas lights being turned on (8%).

Based on our favourite parts of Christmas, Ireland is a traditional bunch. Food and drink were voted as the favourite parts of Christmas, time off work follows. Perhaps surprisingly, people held more favour with attending Christmas Mass and services than receiving Christmas gifts.

What is your top Christmas tradition?

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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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What are Ireland’s favourite biscuits and chocolates at Christmas time, you ask? What do Irish people absolutely HAVE to have with a cup of tea after Christmas dinner?

All is being revealed today, as Aldi releases figures from a survey carried out to highlight that the supermarket is stocking a wide range of all of the favourite food, drink and confectionery brands you love this festive season.

Tins and tubs of chocolates are a firm favourite in Irish households each Christmas, and it comes as no surprise that Cadbury Roses raced home to victory as the favourite amongst Irish householders, with 43 percent of the overall vote.

We are a nation of biscuit lovers, and the people have responded – Jacob’s Chocolate Kimberley was the winner with 38 percent of the vote.

There are the flavours that you hate, the ones that you avoid and then there are the ones that you love more than the rest, but can never seem to get your hands on! Fudge, caramel and orange flavours were the most argued over sweets amongst families when it comes to the ones that everyone wants, with coffee, dark chocolate, Turkish delight and strawberry cremes being named as the chocolates that are always left behind.

The brands most associated with Christmas in homes across Ireland are – Cadbury Roses, Jacob’s Chocolate Kimberley, Quality Street, Coca Cola and Guinness.

The most popular biscuit brands are:

  • Jacob’s Chocolate Kimberley – 38 percent
  • Fox’s Biscuits – 15 percent
  • Cadbury Chocolate Assortment – 10 percent
  • McVitie’s Chocolate Digestives – 9 percent
  • Jacob’s USA Biscuits – 8 percent and Shortbread – 8 percent
  • Afternoon Tea – 5 percent
  • Chocolate Hobnobs – 2 percent
  • Snowballs (1 percent), Custard Cremes (1 percent), Pink Wafer (1 percent), Viscounts (1 percent) and Victoria Biscuits (1 percent)
 

The most popular chocolate brands are:

  • Cadbury Roses – 43 percent
  • Quality Street – 18 percent
  • Celebrations – 12 percent
  • Cadbury Heroes – 8 percent
  • After Eights – 5 percent
  • Lindt – 3 percent and Ferrero Rocher – 3 percent
  • Butlers (2 percent), Black Magic (2 percent), Terry’s Chocolate Orange (2 percent)
  • Milk Tray and Dairy Box – 1 percent
 

Aldi will be stocking a wide range of branded items this festive season, meaning you can find everything you need this Christmas, and all at amazing Aldi prices.

 Stock up on snacks in time for this year’s Late Late Toy Show (30th November) with the following great items – on sale from 25th November for one week only!

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The theme of this year’s Late Late Toy Show has been revealed as host Ryan Tubridy and a cast of hundreds prepare for the most magical night on Irish television.

A million dreams will be keeping viewers awake tonight as The Late Late Toy Show does The Greatest Showman. The Late Late Toy Show airs tonight, Friday, November 30, at 9.35pm on RTÉ One, and will be available to watch worldwide for free on RTÉ Player.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Host Ryan Tubridy said: “Having The Greatest Showman as our theme this year is helping to emphasise the essence of what I believe the Toy Show should be – inclusive. This year we are celebrating the kid who doesn’t get Snapchatted, or who doesn’t always have someone to sit beside on the bus. These kids aren’t lonely or unhappy, they just find joy in their own way. This year’s show will be wrapped up in kindness and warmth and humour, so, as the song goes, see you on The Other Side!”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Ryan Tubridy (@instatubridy) on

This year’s Late Late Toy Show boasts a huge cast with more than 200 young performers and over 30 talented toy testers taking part. The children come from all over Ireland with the youngest just three and a half-years-old

As always, Ryan and the Late Late Toy Show elves have a few surprises up their sleeves and all will be revealed as the show goes on.

The circus themed set has been created by RTÉ production designers Marcella Power and Caroline Wade, and the elves in the RTÉ Costume and Make-Up Departments have been busy rewriting the stars over the past weeks as they ready the cast for Friday’s spectacular.

As with every Late Late Toy Show, a number of charities have nominated children to experience the magic of the set for themselves in advance of tonight’s show. This year children from LauraLynn Children's Hospice, The Jack and Jill Children's Foundation, National Children’s Hospital at Tallaght University Hospital, Our Lady's Children’s Hospital, Crumlin, and Barnados will get a sneak preview of the set and get to play with the toys. Their visit will be captured onscreen and will be aired during the show. All toys featured on the show will be donated to charity following the broadcast.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Ryan Tubridy (@instatubridy) on

Earlier in the night, The Late Late Toy Show Unwrapped will give viewers a chance to look back at some of Ryan’s standout moments in his 10th year at the helm of the Toy Show at 7pm on RTÉ One.

No matter where you are The Late Late Toy Show will be available to watch worldwide for free, both live and on demand for up to 30 days, on RTÉ Player across Desktop, iOS and Android. Last year the show was viewed live in over 100 countries outside of Ireland. In the lead up to the main event, viewers from around the world can also watch a host of clips and extras on RTÉ Player featuring some of the best moments from The Late Late Toy Show over the years in The Late Late Toy Show Collection.

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Penneys and RTÉ have released this year’s limited edition Late Late Toy Show collection and it is too cute for words.

The Late Late Toy Show range will be on sale in Penneys stores nationwide from Monday, October 22, with Penneys donating a total of €75,000 to Temple Street Foundation, CMRF Crumlin and The National Children’s Hospital Tallaght.

Stay up past your bedtime for the best Friday night of the festive season and embrace The Late Late Toy Show with novelty sweaters and loungewear sets emblazoned with the iconic owl. For the littlest viewers, there is the ‘Wake me up for the Late Late Toy Show’ sleepsuit, bib and hat.

When you are wrapped up in your owl blanket and the tree is dressed in Late Late Toy Show baubles make sure to sharpen your pencil for the new bingo set that will allow you to play along at home, marking off your card as the traditional Late Late Toy Show frivolities unfold.

Once the show is over make sure to write that all-important letter to Santa using the letter pack and then slip on the owl eye mask for a perfect festive dream-filled sleep.

“We are delighted to be the chosen charity partners for the Penneys Late Late Toy show collection,” the children’s hospital foundations at Crumlin, Tallaght and Temple Street said in a joint statement.

“The range is not only fun and engaging but the donations from this initiative will help so many children and their families. Our aim is to continuously deliver the best possible care to the children who come through our doors every single day, and as a loyal corporate partner, the team at Penney's help make this possible.”

The Late Late Toy Show collection will launch in Penneys stores Tuesday, October 22.

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