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14th Dec 2012

Pubbing It, A Certain Sense of Style & Stuffing Our Faces: 10 Things That Make an Irish Christmas

When it comes to celebrating Christmas, no one does it better than the Irish. Here are som of our favourite typically Irish ways of getting our festive cheer on!

We don’t know about you, but we’re starting to feel seriously festive in the office. The halls have been decked, Kris Kindle names have been pulled and every so often, one member of the team starts humming Santa Claus is Coming to Town.

Now, we’ll admit that the one thing we’re looking forward to most this Christmas is celebrating the run-up to the big day in a typically Irish fashion.

Whether it’s bringing mistletoe into a nightclub in the hopes of getting the shift or drawing up an epic, epic battle plan for tackling the 12 pubs of Christmas, you have to admit there are a few traditions that are unique to our little country.

We thought we’d share some of our favourite ones with you to help you get into that Christmas mindset (if you’re not already in it, that is).


10. Lighting a candle in the window: It’s an Irish tradition to keep a candle lit in your window over Christmas so Mary and Joseph know that they’re always welcome in your home.

When we were younger we were absolutely killed lighting candles because we figured Santa would have a fair idea where to stop if there was a candle in every window (we really wanted that Baby Born, damnit!). Now the lights in the window offer a gentle runway of sorts to guide us to the right house after we’ve done the 12 pubs and are feeling a little, ahem, fragile.

9. Existing on a diet of Cadbury’s Roses: Over Christmas, Cadbury Roses make up an entirely new food group in and of themselves. We eat Roses before breakfast on Christmas day, we eat them as a little snack before Christmas dinner, we consume half a tin of them when watching a film in the afternoon and if we feel a bit peckish before bed, we rip into the red ones that no one really likes (just because they’re the only ones left).

8. Doing the 12 pubs of Christmas: In Ireland, doing the 12 pubs is serious business. Plans are drawn up, proper clothing is worn (“Yes, this ridiculous Christmas jumper will protect me against any spilled drinks!”) and an emergency procedure is put in place for when people start feeling a little bit sick after the ninth pub.  

7. Swinging by Midnight Mass directly after the 12 pubs: After an epic 12 pubs, it makes perfect sense to swing by the church and get a bit of the Midnight Mass (so your Mammy can’t give out to you for not making an appearance when you get home afterwards).

6. Having a fry up on Christmas morning even though you’ll be eating your dinner two hours later: In Irish households, a decent fry up on Christmas morning is pure tradition. It doesn’t matter that you’re going to be eating a massive Christmas dinner a few hours later. It’s tradition, so get it into ya!

We can’t say no to Christmas turkey, even if we’re full on roses and have just eaten a fry up… 

5. Wearing a Christmas jumper for three weeks straight: As soon as December 8th has come and gone, it is perfectly acceptable for you to wear a Christmas jumper at ALL times. Whether you’re in work, on a date or having the craic with the girls, chances are at least one of you will be sporting a jumper covered in reindeers and flashing lights.

4. Buying new ‘Christmas’ pyjamas: The more festive they are the better. These pyjamas will be worn solely over the Christmas period and yes, it is essential to buy a new, fleecy pair every single year. Why? Well it reminds you of being a kid and no matter how awful they look, adult onesies are really comfy. Like, really.

3. Having drinks with, like, everyone: Your postman – why not? Your long lost cousin – bust out an Irish whiskey. The random man who delivers your turkey – sure it’d be impolite not to!

2. Making loads of references to the Late Late Toy Show: Yes, even though it was on ages ago, it’s still perfectly acceptable to make references to the hilarious kids who appeared on it. Sadly, all talk of the toy show must stop on New Year’s Day. Otherwise you just start sounding like you’re a bit obsessed with Ryan Tubridy…

1. Watching The Muppets Christmas Carol: Yes, you’re in your late twenties but it doesn’t matter. It’s a classic Christmas film and it still manages to get you in a festive mood, even all these years later!