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Irish Christmas Decoration Traditions

Although the festive madness now seems to start well in advance of December, a traditional Irish Christmas usually begins mid-December, and only officially on Christmas Eve before finishing on January 6th with the “Little Christmas”.

During that time many Irish houses, like those in the USA, UK and elsewhere, are festooned with traditional Irish Christmas decorations that have become favourites over decades.

We picked out a few classics that are known and loved. 

Nativity Scene

Almost every house, up and down the Emerald Isle, will feature a nativity scene of some sort.

The scene of the nativity, or the birth of Jesus Christ, will generally feature Mary and Joseph, the Baby, the Three Wise Men, the animals of the stables, and more depending on the scene.

How this scene is presented, in terms of size and style, is generally down to the household, but it serves as a constant reminder of the true meaning of Christmas in Ireland. 

Burning Candle

The burning of a candle, in the front window of the house, on Christmas Eve is said to represent the opening of the home for the arrival of Mary and Joseph.

However, in more modern times it has served as a reminder of all the Irish emigrants living around the world, away from their families during this special time. 

Holly Wreath

A holly wreath, usually hung on the front door of the house, became a traditional Irish Christmas decoration primarily because holly is a plant that flourishes in Ireland during the winter months.

Historically this allowed Irish of all classes to decorate their homes for the celebration. Other items used include pine cones and ivy. 

Christmas Trees

The Christmas Tree is a classic festive sight throughout much of the world and equally so here in Ireland.

From late November/early December trees are sold up and down the country from farms, car parks, shops, and any other available space!

The trees are usually Noble Fir and once brought home are decorated in lights, baubles, ornaments and a star or fairy at the top, generally used to represent the star of Bethlehem. 

Christmas Ornaments

Aside from everything else mentioned, you’ll usually find Irish homes littered with Christmas decorations and ornaments during the month of December.

These can range from stars and holly, to child-focused decorations like Santa and his elves.

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What do you use to decorate during the Christmas period? Let us know! 

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