It might a tad early to put up the Christmas tree or otherwise start decking your hall with boughs of holly, but it is definitely not too early to start planning how you’d like your home to look for the festive season. Maybe you are pondering what Irish gifts to give to celebrate your heritage, but at this most traditional time, your decorations can also reflect your love of Ireland.
Homes in Ireland look a little different than American homes over the holidays. The basics are similar – Christmas trees, lights, nativity set and the like. But there are some differences in the details of the decorations for the season. Why not see if you find some inspiration to do something different this year?
American homes are likely to have strings of colorful lights around the outside of windows or the outline of the house, whereas in Ireland the lights are more likely to be inside the windows. Having a lit candle in the window is an old Irish Christmas tradition to signal welcome to both friends and those passing by. It says there is a welcome here, unlike what Mary and Joseph found in Bethlehem. Other lights are mostly in the shape of Christmas figures, mostly Santa Claus, although icicle lights are also popular. Signs pleading ‘Santy please stop here’ are another hallmark of an Irish Christmas.
Irish Christmas trees don’t look all that different from American ones, although American ones are a bit more likely to be real trees. On both sides of the Atlantic, ornaments for the Christmas tree are a great way to honor your heritage – and they also make wonderful, meaningful Irish gifts for Christmas.
While Americans seem to prefer to make their big Christmas decorating statement outside the house in lights, in Ireland you are more likely to find the lavish decorations inside. Christmas decorations are not confined to the tree and the mantle here. Many Irish homes celebrate the holiday with decorations throughout the house. Christmas table clothes, door mats, draught excluders and even bedding can all be found at shops in every Irish town.
In Ireland, Christmas decorating does not stop with the house. Few cars in Ireland sport bumper stickers, but as we draw closer to the big day, more and more cars can be seen with tiny Christmas trees on the dashboard, reindeer antlers and more. And the very terrible Christmas jumper is a hilarious tradition that grows stronger every year – tacky holiday sweaters featuring gaudy reindeer, Christmas puddings and of course Santa Claus himself are now very popular Irish gifts for Christmas.
Whatever your own style, if you are considering adding some Christmas ornaments to celebrate your Irish heritage, this is the time to find them so you can enjoy them as soon as you get your tree up. You can find everything from exquisite Belleek ornaments to Celtic cross Advent candle holders to put some extra green in your Christmas.