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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 in the festive spirit.

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 to celebrate the launch of their Christmas campaign 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.

 

2. Guessing which gaudy jumper Ryan's going to wear on the Toy Show this year
Last year he wore a selection of them, knitted for him by the grannies of Ireland.

 

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 26, 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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Nowadays you're supposed to have your life sorted as soon as you exit the womb.

Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating but the pressure is on as a 20-odd-year-old to have your career path chosen, your relationship golden and your life stable.

So it was beyond refreshing when we had a chat with actor Simon Delaney, who said he didn't have his sh*t together until the age of 28.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Simon Delaney (@simondelaneyesq) on

Talking to SHEmazing, he explained all the different careers he wanted to pursue before he caught the acting bug.

"I don't think I had a clue until I was about 28 – I really hadn’t got a clue – I just kinda ambled and arsed my way through my teens and my twenties."

"I wanted to be a bus driver, I wanted to be a chef and then somehow I ended up as an actor…how did that work out?" he humbly questioned.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Although once Simon did forge the acting path, he did have a lot of aspirations for his career – and most of his dreams have come true.

"A lot of my wishes have come true, you know I always wished when I became an actor that I could appear on the West End and I have done that."

"I’ve worked in Hollywood, I have done movies, TV series – I’ve been very lucky, so I suppose most of my wishes have been granted."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Simon Delaney (@simondelaneyesq) on

Besides his career, Simon revealed that even in his twenties he knew he wanted to be a parent.

"I was lucky enough to meet Lisa…and two houses and four kids later, here we are. So my wishes were granted and I thank God every night.

"Every night when I am picking toys off the floor and wiping dirty arses, I thank god that my wishes came true," he joked- AWH, bless.

Given his good fortune, when One4all asked Simon to hop aboard their Christmas appeal to grant three lucky people their festive wishes, he didn't hesitate. 

Talking about the competition where One4all ask people around Ireland to submit their Christmas wishes, he said: "I think it’s a gorgeous campaign". 

Last year, people entered their wishes in their thousands and three lucky people were granted their wishes.

"This year they are doing the same and they have until November 27 to pop onto the One4all website to send in their Christmas wish. And you know what, Santa just might grant it," explained Simon.

Whether its reuniting with a long-distance loved one, making that special someone smile with an unforgettable yuletide surprise, or asking the love of your life to be yours forever, Simon and One4all want to hear from you.

So what are you waiting for? Go and fill out that form.

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Mum, mam, mom, mammy, super woman, life-giver, best find, soulmate  – whatever you call your dear mother, it's time to celebrate all the wonderful wisdom she has passed down through the years, 

She might drive you absolutely crazy at times, but at the end of the day, she only wants what's best for you – and hey, chances are you put her through hell when you were a teenager, so you probably deserve it!

Truth be told, mothers are actually some of the most kind, caring and genius people on the planet, and whether we'd like to admit it or not, we wouldn't be the people  were are today without their help and guidance. 

In fact, new research from One4all has shown that some of the most valued things we have ever received come from our mums or the mother figures in our lives. 

A massive 96 per cent of respondents said they noticed similarities between themselves and their mothers, however, it seems men and women inherit slightly different attributes. 35 per cent of women said its having the same values that make them most alike, while 34 per cent of men said they shared their mother's temperament. 

Interestingly, the majority of men said they felt closest to their mother when they were a child, while more women admitted their mother-daughter relationship peaked during their thirties. 

When times get tough, your mother will always be there to offer a hot cup of tea and shoulder to cry on, so it's hardly surprising that one third of those surveyed agreed that a great piece of advice is the most valuable thing they've ever received from their mum. 

What's more, 90 per cent say they would consider their mum or mother figure to be a role model in their lives. 

When the tables are turned, 17% of Irish adults say they would now most like their mum or mother figure to admire their own strength, along with their outlook on life (16%) and their parenting skills (12%).

Commenting on the survey findings Aoife Davey, Group Marketing Manager at One4all Ireland, said: “From a sentimental piece of jewellery or a great piece of advice, to an inherited facial feature or their sense of style, it’s safe to say the leading ladies in our lives have had an impact on us from the very beginning. It’s clear to see that our mothers and mother figures ultimately shape the people and parents we become."

"We absolutely believe that mothers should be celebrated every day but extending a token of appreciation on Mother’s Day ensures our Mamas that we know how lucky we are to have them."

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Wedding etiquette can be tricky business – how much should you spend on a gift? Is it rude to leave before 11pm? Can I tweet this photo of the bride?

Most people will have their own individual answers to these questions, but with so many differing opinions out there, it is easy for lines to become blurred.

In an effort to shed light on the general consensus of Irish wedding do's and don'ts, gift card company, One4All, surveyed 599 adults, and the result were very interesting indeed.

Destination weddings have increased in popularity over the past few years, and with that, many wedding guests are asked to travel abroad for their loved one's special day.

While this can often be a costly affair, 37 per cent of those polled said they would travel anywhere to watch their nearest and dearest tie the knot.

A further 61 per cent said they would travel outside Ireland, while 59 per cent agreed a wedding abroad would be an enjoyable experience.

When it came to gifts, research showed that Irish wedding attendees spend an average of €186 on bridal presents.

Add that to the cost of a new outfit, drinks at the reception and overnight accommodation and guests are looking at spending €643 on average per wedding – ouch!

But hey, you'll almost certainly get a fancy sit down meal – or at least 88 per cent of us think we should. Another 57 per cent believe a second helping of food should be provided later in the evening.

Interestingly, just 3 per cent of Irish adults believe a free bar should be provided at a wedding reception.

Opinions on social media differ from couple to couple, but with one in 10 people in Ireland revealing they have attended a wedding with its very own hashtag, it looks like technology is starting to play a bigger part in our nuptials.

That being said, the traditional approach also proved popular with 16 per cent saying they would consider a social media ban on their wedding day.

Commenting on the survey findings, group marketing manager for One4all Ireland, Aoife Davey, said:

“The research shows that the majority of people in Ireland are willing to go above and beyond for the wedding celebrations of loved ones whether that means travelling abroad or splashing out on a generous gift, and wedding guests prefer personal weddings now more than ever.”

We're a very generous bunch all together.

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It's official! 97 per cent of Irish adults agree that laughter is the best form of medicine.

To mark the start of One4all's Shop4Crumlin week in aid of the CMRF Giggle Fund, the gift card company conducted a piece of research that reveals the importance of laughter when it comes to our health and wellbeing. 

One4all asked 532 Irish adults all about what makes them happy and the results are enough to put a smile on anyone's face. 

When asked about the most important things in life, 37 per cent of Irish adults believe your health is your wealth, while love (26 per cent) and laughter (19 per cent) are the other key ingredients for a fulfilling and happy life. 

Just under one third of those surveyed also said that children were undoubtedly the greatest source of laughter on a daily basis. 

100 per cent of respondents agreed that laughing makes them feel good while a massive 98 per cent believe it can relieve stress. 

However, it's not all about our own giggles as 95 per cent said they take great joy from making others laugh and with 2 in 3 Irish adult admitting that they think they're funny, there's a lot of joy up for grabs. 

Rachel Kenna, Director of Nursing at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin, explains how important bringing laughter and fun into the lives of little patients can be: “More than 130,000 children a year, from every county in Ireland, attend Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin."

"The Giggle Fund aims to give children the extra surprise during their stay in hospital through the supply of birthday parties, Christmas parties, pizza nights, movie nights, toys and more and we are extremely grateful to One4all and CMRF Crumlin for their ongoing support.”

What's more, the survey revealed that 83 per cent of Irish adults think they are big kids at heart with 86 per cent admitting that children's TV shows still make them laugh. 

Witty (34%), sarcastic (23%) and playful (22%) are the ways in which Irish adults would best describe their own sense of humour, with surprisingly only 5% admitting to being self-deprecating (something us Irish are supposedly famous for).

Dara O’Briain was voted Ireland’s funniest comedian with 21% of the vote, followed by Brendan O’Carroll (18%) and Tommy Tiernan (17%). Of Ireland’s funniest influencers, Baz Ashmawy topped the poll (29%), followed by Doireann Garrihy (16%) and Holly Carpenter (11%).

Commenting on the survey findings, group marketing manager for One4all Ireland Aoife Davey said:

"There’s not a person among us who doesn’t enjoy laughing and often we take for granted just how much it contributes to our overall wellbeing. At One4all, we are always committed to bringing joy and happiness into people’s lives and we are especially proud to continue our work with CMRF Crumlin and helping to bring smiles to the faces of their little patients."

Taking place from July 22nd – July 30th 2017, the campaign will raise money for The Giggle Fund – a fund dedicated to brightening the little lives of patients in the children’s hospital and bringing a smile to their faces.

One4all gift card holders simply need to spend their gift cards in any of One4all’s 8,000 retailers nationwide or online during Shop4Crumlin week and .50c will be donated to CMRF Crumlin and The Giggle Fund on every single transaction.

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When it comes to special sporting moments, Ireland has had quite a few in 2016.

However, according to research from One4all, the Ireland rugby team’s defeat of the almighty All Blacks for the first time in 111 years was the nation’s happiest sporting moment of the year – so say four out of ten people polled.

Meanwhile, the O’Donovan brothers revealing their ‘steak, spuds and pull like a dog’ strategy to RTÉ Sport was chosen as the second happiest sporting occasion of 2016 (13 percent). And the memorable moment Robbie Brady scored against Italy in Euros 2016 came a close third with 12 percent.

The survey, which was carried out among 1,352 adults in Ireland, furthermore revealled that the week-long Irish heatwave in July was the happiest non-sporting moment in Ireland this year (39 percent), followed by the 1916 centenary celebrations at the GPO – close-to a third of people felt that was the year's high point. 

It seems President Michael D has put a smile on quite a few people’s faces in 2016 with 14 percent of Irish adults saying the photo of him queueing to use an ATM was one of their happiest non-sporting moments of the year.

One4all also revealed that eight in ten adults say that they feel happier at Christmas time than any other time of the year – with Christmas Eve being more exciting for most than the big day itself. 

The brand said in response to the findings: “It’s great to know that for most people, 2016 has been a happy year. From special sporting moments and monumental events to spending time with your family and friends, it’s clear that happiness comes in all shapes and sizes.  “

“This Christmas you can make your gift personal by giving a One4all gift card and let your loved one choose something that will make them smile, bringing them some extra happiness to top off 2016!”

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It’s a scenario that most of us will be familiar with: we spot a must-have item, try it on, and fall desperately in love. The only problem? You’re weeks away from pay-day and the price-tag is less than obliging.

Still, there’s a tried-and-tested defence that we’ve probably all drawn on at some stage or another: “I’ll get loads of wear out of it.” In fact, the line is our number one excuse to justify shopping – according to research carried out by gift card company, One4all.

Incredibly, one in five shop for new clothes every single week, and close-to one in four shop monthly. A massive 78 percent of us treat ourselves to something new when we reach a milestone, and more than half use shopping as a pick-me-up when we’re feeling down.

And now there’s yet another excuse – namely the wholly commendable Shop4Crumlin campaign.

From May 9 to May 17 if you make a purchase using your One4all gift card in any of their 6,000 retail outlets nationwide or online, One4all will donate 50c to Our Lady’s Hospital Crumlin. Better still, if you shop in Brown Thomas, Marks & Spencer, Debenhams, Arnotts, or Life Style Sports, the retailers will match your donation with another 50c, bringing your total donation to €1.

“The money raised from this campaign will help fund new radiography equipment which will reduce the radiation dose to a child while also improving X-ray imagery,” Crumlin says, adding that some of the money will also go towards its Giggle Fund, which helps put a smile on the face of a sick child.

One4all is now telling people to dig out their gift cards – so if there’s an unused Christmas or birthday present knocking around still, then get spending guilt-free from May 9 – 17.

See one4all.ie and www.cmrf.org

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