The Big Culchie Day Out in the 'Big Shmoke' and nine other signs you know it's Christmas...
It's happening and there is no hiding place.
Christmas is just over three weeks away in case you've been asleep for the last few months. There is no denying it. Here is a list of things that will confirm to you that the Yuletide season is in full swing:
1. The Late, Late Toy Show was on.
1.4m people watched last Friday's episode and to many, it heralds the beginning of Christmas.
2. Santa is in every single shopping centre in the country.
He's mastered the art of multiplicity and is now residing in every shopping centre in the land. He's arrived by helicopter, train, the back of a van and sometimes on a sleigh pulled by dogs dressed as reindeer.
3. The Christmas jumper-wearing fraternity is multiplying.
In what has become a bit of a phenomenon over the past few years, the popularity of wearing Christmas jumpers shows no sign of abating. Some jumpers have flashing lights, others have bits of cotton wool attached to them, but all of them look hideous and you will notice that those 'zany' Christmas jumper-wearing people are starting to become more prominent with each passing hour.
It's like that scene from Hitchcock's 'The Birds' when every passing minute sees the birds gather in ever-increasing numbers in the children's playground. The ever growing numbers of Christmas jumpers is just as ominous.
4. The shops are packed.
The Christmas present-buying charge is in full flow and you will notice that the shops and shopping centres are becoming more wedged with each passing day. That look of demonic possession can be seen in many eyes as people navigate their way through the giant maze that is the hordes of Christmas shoppers.
5. Christmas FM is back on!
The one and only radio station dedicated to playing Christmas songs only is back on Irish airwaves. You just know that when you hear Bing Crosby's White Christmas blasting out of the car stereo, it'll be impossible to feel anything other than mushy and warm inside.
6. The Guinness Christmas ad was on
Another commercial staple of the Irish Christmas is the Guinness Christmas ad. You can have your John Lewis and your other schmalzy commercials, but to many, the first sighting of the Guinness Christmas ad truly means that Christmas is here.
7. The Culchie invasion of Dublin on December 8
Meaning absolutely no disrespect to our country brethren, you know it's Christmas when the annual pilgrimage to Dublin happens on this day for many people around the country. It's not as prevalent as it once was now that there are huge shopping centres all around the country, it's still a proud country tradition.
8. Shop floors become stock rooms
You know it's Christmas when your path to the checkout or the exit is blocked off by a giant wall of Quality Street tins. What was once a casual 10-step walk to the checkout area has now become a Takeshi Castle-styled mission of balance, stamina and incredible poise.
9. The RTE Guide goes all festive
The Christmas edition of the RTE Guide is always a sign that the big day is not too far away. It'll have someone like Daithi O'Shea dressed as an elf and Miriam O'Callaghan dressed as a fairy and will contain headlines such as 'Fair City's Christmas Shocker' and 'Marty Morrissey - an Irish Casanova'. Just let us know when the good films are on lads.
10. Websites start doing listicle articles
Every year, no matter what publication or website you're reading, inevitably, there will be a few of those end of year lists, truly uninspiring lists like '10 Things That make You Realise It's Christmas'.
Come on lads. A bit of originality would be nice.