Stay out of the visitors press & leave behind the Bounties: Irish family Christmas traditions

Sneaking sweets out of the visitor’s press

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Your poor mother has been stockpiling for weeks. Never mind Covid panic-buying – the stocking up of the Christmas visitor’s press is the real cause of nation-wide shortages on Celebrations, Quality Streets and Selections boxes in every SuperValu, Centra and Tesco across the land.

And with all that chocolate, who’ll really notice if you nab one or two sweeties…or a box, if you’re feeling brave!

Watching 'Love Actually' way too early

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We hold off as long as we can every year, but we just can’t wait to see Hugh Grant dance his way down the staircase to the Pointer’s Sisters’ ‘Jump (For My Love)’ and Kiera Knightley’s weird feathered wedding dress!

We break out this one halfway through November, and even though it’s a while until the tree goes up, we know it’s really Christmas when you hear Bill Nighy trying to squeeze ‘Christmas’ into ‘Love is All Around’.

Peeling the sprouts and then taking full credit for the entire dinner

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‘SLAVING away, so I was,’ you proudly tell the fam as your mother glares from the head of the table.

To be fair the absolute SMELL of sprouts, even before they’re cooked, you really do deserve a medal of some sort. But be sure to remind everyone every five minutes throughout the meal that you and your sprouts are the backbone of this household and the founder of the feast.

Pretend you aren’t still dying from your night out on the 23rd/24th

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Look, it has to be done. You come home for Christmas and it’s simply mandatory to hit up the local pub and catch up with your mates and end up stuck in a corner with someone you haven’t spoken to since secondary school (for a reason) getting your ear rotted off.

Throw in the ‘welcome home’ shots and the ‘why not, it’s Christmas’ extra rounds and you’re bound to be hanging by the 24th, making the dreaded sprouts stink all the worse. Covering up the hangover is an art form and one that must be practised, so as not to tip off the fam that one more off-tune carol is going to send your hangover headache over the edge.

Leaving the Bounties and Milky Ways until last in the Celebration box

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We’re all guilty of it. Maltesers are like gold dust in Celebration boxes and are snatched up within the first few minutes, always followed by the Galaxies, both plain and caramel. The second tier sweeties are t the Mars, the Snickers and the Twixs.

And lastly, left to languish at the bottom of the tin, the forlorn looking Bounties and Milky Ways beg to be chosen. You look at them with mild disgust, but you’re so stuffed full of chocolate it doesn’t particularly matter what type you consume at that point of the choc-athon.

Hiding in the kitchen from visiting family and neighbours

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‘Yes, I know I’ve gotten so grown up, no I don’t have a boyfriend, no Santa didn’t bring me one. Thanks for reminding me Auntie Sarah.’

It’s an ordeal every year. For the most part, we love meeting up with family and friends again – we just hate the dreaded questions – what are you doing with your life? Are you in a relationship? How did that degree work out? Sometimes it’s just easier to escape to the kitchen to ‘check on the dinner’ (read: scoff down some more Celebrations)

Fiona Murphy is a freelance writer, specialising in book-related content, fiction and poetry. She can be found drinking tea, craving tapas or attempting to finish her never-ending-novel.

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