Irish Christmas Traditions

There goes a saying that nobody celebrates Christmas like the Irish; and here at McCullar’s Irish Pub & Grill, we maintain the festive and colorful culture all year long with our freshly served beers, hearty selection of food, warm ambience, and of course, friendly service. Still, there is something different about celebrating Christmas Irish style. For starters, below are some of the well-kept traditions that make them unique.

  • Christmas Decorations – It is easy to spot a traditional Irish home in December because usually they are the first ones who would put the ornaments. From the first day of the Holy Advent, Irish families would decorate their homes with mostly evergreens, including wreaths, holly, ivy, and of course, a Christmas tree. It is said that the more berries on the plants, the luckier their new year will become.
  • Candle by the Window – On Christmas Eve, a member of the family — who is usually the youngest child, but sometimes the father or the eldest sibling — lights a big, thick candle symbolizing how every Irish home is welcoming Jesus, Mary, and Joseph on their search for shelter. There are variations of this tradition, i.e. three candles instead of one or the entire family singing in the background.
  • Christmas Dinner – After the traditional midnight mass, families will feast on the Christmas Eve dinner, a gastronomic tour of classic Irish staples, including salted fish, spiced beef, turkey (but earlier it was Christmas Goose), stuffed potatoes, brussel sprouts, and round cake or Christmas pudding for dessert. Later on adults would gather and welcome Christmas while drinking together.
  • Presents on Christmas Morning – Back in the days, kids on Christmas Eve had to sleep early; but most of the time they barely could because of excitement for all those presents under the tree. This may seem like a common American tradition nowadays, but before, it was sort of a contest for which child could sleep and wake up the earliest to receive Santa’s gifts.
  • Boxing Day – For the Irish, the holidays does not stop on December 25. The next day they celebrate St. Stephen’s Day or Boxing Day by commemorating the legend of how small birds called wren had helped save lives of soldiers after pecking the door to create noise. Now, there are “Wren Boys” parades and friends usually visit each other’s’ homes.

There are much more things to discover about the Irish Christmas traditions. Visit our blog again to learn more about their culture. You can also join in on the festivities by visiting us at McCullar’s Irish Pub & Grill in Arlington, TX.