4,119 miles. That’s the distance between Ireland and the US. But it can seem even further in the run-up to Christmas, especially if you’re missing family and friends from Ireland.
However, making your Christmas feel more Irish is much easier than you think – and it doesn’t have to involve splurging on plane tickets! Read on for our list of seven ways to have an Irish Christmas in the US.
1. Embrace all the trimmings
When you think of Irish food, it’s the classics: beef stew, bacon and black pudding breakfasts, corned beef, and shepherd’s pie.
You’ll find plenty of all of the above in the lead-in to Christmas, but the most popular Irish Christmas dishes are traditional: golden turkey, sage and onion stuffing, crispy goose-fat roasties, and a rich Christmas pudding drizzled in custard – the Irish kind and not the sort that’s more akin to ice cream!
We’re drooling just thinking about it.
2. Splurge on December the 8th
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the big shopping days in the US but December the 8th is a traditional shopping day in Ireland.
Black Friday has, in recent years, put a dent in the relevance of December the 8th, but why not tap into your Irish side and do some shopping?
3. Go for an arctic swim
Long into their history, the Irish have been mariners with a unique relationship with the sea. The first Irishmen arrived by sea and explored outwards for trade.
It’s a relationship that’s lived into the present time and even lends itself to one of Ireland’s more interesting Christmas traditions.
Every Christmas Day, thousands of Irish people jump into the sea – generally for charity. The plunge is often freezing but exhilarating as the blood pumps back around the body.
4. Blare the Fairytale of New York
While Coca Cola’s Christmas ad has become the harbinger of Christmas around the world, nothing says Irish Christmas quite like the Pogue’s anthem – especially if it’s blared in a pub after a trad session.
Voted ‘the best Christmas song of all time’, the Fairytale of New York starts playing in Ireland from mid-November. It’s an anthem that’s come to have a particular place in the heart of the Irish. Combine it with a warm pub, friends, and a creamy pint and you’ve got the perfect Christmas night out.
For non-drinkers who’d prefer a night in, you can substitute whiskey for an Irish coffee instead. Just as tasty!
5. Share your Irish favorites with friends and family
Music. Art. Language. Jewelry. The Irish have so many traditions and symbols like the Claddagh, Trinity Knot, and Tree of Life.
If you’re missing Ireland or want to embrace Irish roots, why not share some of your favorite Irish-inspired things? Maybe it’s music from Enya or the Chieftains or a great Irish film like Once or Sing Street.
6. Deck the halls
Nothing says ‘Christmas’ for a generation of Irish kids quite like dressing up in dish cloths, dressing gowns, and angel costumes to take to the stage for the annual nativity play.
Second only to the nativity play was the joy of setting up the crib every year with the figurines. For a truly Irish Christmas, check out this stunning Belleek Nativity Set from the iconic Irish pottery makers.
7. Cozy up with an Aran sweater
Sweaters are definitely our favorite part of winter weather. 100% Merino wool, donning an Aran sweater is like wearing a piece of Ireland. It’s also stylish, soft, and abundantly comfortable so it’s the perfect match for the grand Irish tradition of Christmas sweaters.
As they say in Ireland: Nollaig Shona Duit!
Looking to bring a piece of Ireland to the US?
Check out our full range of Irish gifts on The Irish Store.