9 weird and wonderful Irish Christmas traditions we absolutely love 2 years ago

9 weird and wonderful Irish Christmas traditions we absolutely love

Brought to you by McDonnells Curry Sauce 

It's the most... wonderful time... of the year!


One of the nicest things about Irish culture is the way all small talk is elevated with genuine excitement in November and December.

It's never a half hearted, "any plans for the weekend" type of thing. No. It's warm. It's interested. It's just downright merry when a collection of people come together and ask, "what Christmas traditions do you have?"

If ever there was a year to embrace the festivities, it's 2020 because by God we deserve a good Christmas. And because it’s been such a tough year for everyone, the good people at McDonnells Curry Sauce want to brighten up this Christmas by offering you the chance to win €500 and some McDonnells Christmas goodies to go along with those traditions. Head over to their Facebook page to be in with a chance of winning.

So we started thinking, what are the weirdest and most wonderful Irish Christmas traditions that we all love?


The Late Late Toy Show

Look, it's great and no-one is telling us any differently. There will simply be no dislodgement of The Late Late Toy Show from the Irish Christmas calendar in our lifetimes.

It quite simply marks the start of the season and, within its own national production, it evokes the magic and individual tradition all over the country. Children allowed to stay up past midnight. Snacks all night. Christmas pyjamas. And just a night of pure wonder and magic.

But if you ever tried to explain the Late Late Toy Show to anyone not from Ireland, you'll appreciate the madness of it in reality.


Nothing is as Irish as the Toy Show.

Midnight mass

Except midnight mass. Nothing is as Irish as this.


Because... who wants to be going to mass on Christmas morning? But who really feels like it's right to not go to mass on Christmas?

Somehow, there is a big cohort who might not darken the door of a church for a full year and don't feel comfortable skipping out on Jesus' birthday. Thankfully the greatest loophole of all was invented with midnight mass.

Get it over with. Get on with it.

The fact that midnight mass is usually at 8pm or 9pm and nobody questions it? It's just about as casual as any Irish tradition could be. 'Ah, it's at midnight, give or take a few hours.'

Watching the Father Ted Christmas special


Wait, were we saying nothing was as Irish as...

Like the toy show, try telling your foreign friends and family about this. It's a group of priests on an island... ah, it's just hilarious.

Inevitably, the TV schedule lets you down so you go back to the one thing on this world that will never fail you. You go through the lingerie section, the Golden Cleric award ceremony and you come back out the other side feeling better about everything.

Putting the wrappers back in the tin

Just stop it. Please.

Using the tin lid as a sled

Hopefully you only do this when there's actual ice on the roads.

Christmas Day swim

Not exclusive to Ireland but always a little madder when you're jumping into the water off the shores of this island on December 25th.

A magnificently communal experience though and good lord does it make the tea taste even better.

Selection box for breakfast

Speaking of making the tea even better.

Turkey curry

I don't know who thought of this years ago but they deserve a medal.

All Stephen's Day requires to cap off Christmas is another bit of turkey, sure, but a little bit different. Turkey with some curry.

Since the 1980s, McDonnells Curry Sauce has been a go-to for Irish families at Christmas to transform the leftover turkey into a taste explosion. Just like Father Ted and the toy show, McDonnells Curry Sauce is as Irish as the best of them and it holds a special place in our hearts, on the 26th in particular.

Complaining about the queues on Stephen's night

Fun's over. Standing in the cold. Annoyed at the crowd as if you're not part of the problem but you're not saving your only night out of the year for this date like 3 million other people seem to do.

At least you won't have to worry about it in 2020! Just go home for the rest of the turkey curry.

Head over to our Facebook page for a chance to WIN a €500 voucher and some McDonnells Christmas goodies!