All around the world families will be coming together this Christmas to exchange gifts, eat well and spend some quality time together.
Christmas traditions vary from country to country, so we thought we would ask our Facebook followers what they thought made an Irish Christmas.
Thanks to everyone that posted their thoughts. Your answers showed that everyone has their own ideas and memories of celebrating an Irish Christmas.
Some of the answers were funny, others thoughtful…and some poignant, like the one from Katie Sinnott. With a reference to the way the recession has forced many young Irish people to seek work across the world she said: “You know it’s an Irish Christmas when you start talking to your kids on Skype because they’re in America or Australia or Canada and can’t get home.”
The importance of being close to family and friends was a recurring theme. Karen Jane Roy said that you are having an Irish Christmas “when who you share it with is more important than the gifts exchanged. And a good time is had by all”.
With a nod to hard working mothers, Liam Kelly said: “You know it’s an Irish Christmas when you can see your mammy bursting with happiness because she’s got her family round her and she won’t stop looking after everyone even though she’s exhausted with all the cooking and catering.”
Saoirse Collins said: “When daddy forgets he can’t hit the high notes in Danny Boy but starts singing it anyway.”
Dermot Bailey: “Racing round the shops to get the latest present your child must have and feeling a terrible parent because every other parent has been able to get one for their child.”
Francis Cullen said: “Realising you didn’t get any batteries for that ridiculously expensive must have present.”
Katherine Dolan: “Getting that old Christmas tree out and then feeling sad because it’s the one your daughter used to help you decorate but now she’s all grown up and living away.”
Moira McCarthy said: “That horrible sinking feeling when someone gives you an unexpected present and you haven’t got one to give them.”
Deirdre Smith: “When you start hoarding spare presents so you have something to give to people who give you a present unexpectedly.”
Colleen Kaneen added: “When you hand out Christmas cake and a wee glass of sherry to your friends and neighbours when they stop by.”
Maggie Sinnot says: “Mulled wine with friends – now that’s when Christmas starts with me!”
Tina Burns posted: “When you are buzzed up laughing and dancing with your favourite people.”
One of the most warming scenes of an Irish Christmas was recognised by Jean MacCoy in her post. She said: “When Gran falls asleep in the comfy chair after dinner; still wearing her Christmas Cracker crown.”
Another element of an Irish Christmas that many of you picked up on, was the unpredictable outcome of the Christmas dinner. Danny Hood said that Christmas is Irish when “you have corn beef, cabbage and red potatoes”.
Tara Weightman joked: “When your turkey comes out raw and your puddings are all burnt!! Lol xx”
One person that painted a lovely picture of a happy family Christmas was Marie Neligan-Shaw, who said: “When you can smell the turkey in the oven and listen to everyone retelling stories of past Christmases and everyone is home, safe and happy and you whisper a prayer of thanks to the one who started it all. That’s an Irish Christmas.”
The other main theme that featured in many of your posts was of course enjoying a few drinks. Bob Green said you are having an Irish Christmas when “you’re too drunk to know you are having an Irish Christmas”.
Christopher Grosholz posted: “When everyone gets me a bottle of good Irish Whiskey, which happens to be the same gift I got everyone as well!”
Adam Brayton added his meaning of an Irish Christmas: “When you understand your drunk uncle! For the first time all year!”
Did you know?People researching their Irish ancestry have received a welcome boost today as the Catholic parish registers are now available online. The registers are considered the single most important resource for researching Irish ancestry. Find out more.
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What about this…‘The Irish Robin Hood’ - Redmond O’Hanlon is a legendary figure in Ireland. His ancestors had been a powerful family up until the 17th century, when their land was taken during the Catholic uprising and the Cromwellian invasion. So he became a highwayman. Find out more.