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Posts Tagged ‘ presents ’

What Does Christmas Mean To You?

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George Reed (45) West Bromwich, England

It’s a time to celebrate the life of Jesus and everything he gave for us to be able to live the way we do today. Although in the past two decades the religious elements seem to have been forgotten.

Mary McEntee (36) Loughrea, Galway

Christmas for me is all about the children and making sure they have a good time, and a Christmas to remember. Christmas is a huge celebration for us and we enjoy large family gatherings, with our relatives coming from all over the country. The expression on the kid’s faces is enough to get us from one Christmas to the next.

Lucy Parker (54) Delaware, USA

Christmas is everything really. Spending valuable time with family, lengthy shopping excursions, many days out and lots of enjoyable food and drink. Never ending Christmas parties, a bit of snow, presents (good and bad) and no work. Think that’s everything covered! Oh no wait, can’t forget going Christmas carolling, it’s just so unique and good natured. Love it all.

Frank Carrick (21) Boyle, Roscommon

Christmas is Christmas, it’s the time of year we all need. A time to relax, cherish what we have, have a laugh and exchange gifts.. Do I wish it could be Christmas everyday? Hell yeah I do.

Dylan Keogh (18) Templeogue, Dublin

Presents, presents and more presents. Normally consisting of at least two selection boxes, two sets and some clothes. The bad ones always stand out.

Rory McNamara (27) Blessington, Wicklow

Driiiiiiink, sorry showing my Irishness there. Christmas is all about catching up with people you wish you could spend more time with. And of course it’s the one dinner you wait a while year for, does be worthwhile in the end although the bulging belly will say otherwise.

Andreij Stoparov (32) Riga, Latvia

I think Christmas is a time for getting together with your friends and family and remembering why we celebrate December the 25th. I do like to enjoy opening presents and having a delicious meal, but some people forget what the meaning of Christmas is.

Live Johansson (26) Malmo, Sweden

Christmas means holidays, a time for an extended break from work and to take to the outdoors and enjoy the snow. We have ski parties, if you would call them that, it’s just a time for celebrating Swedish heritage and lifestyle. We hit the slopes with our nearest and dearest and just party. It’s nice to be around family and friends and to see everyone is having a good time. We love listening to Christmas FM!

Nuala Nì Cathasaigh (31) Carrick On Shannon, Leitrim

I think Xmas is as much about giving as it is getting. I also think it’s a time for the whole family to get together and enjoy being with each other. I think that not only is Christmas about being with family but it is a time for giving and not only to your family and friends but to the less fortunate people in third world countries. Christmas is also about realising when Jesus was born and that he died for us.

Peter Carroll (42) Newry, Down

It meant a lot to me when I was a child. I couldn´t wait to get presents, learn and sing Christmas songs and have delicious food.

The meaning has changed a lot. I go to church and try to think of people who are not as lucky as I am. I don´t get many presents and I become more thankful for what I have got. So, I try to think of people living on the streets. I think this year I will help to deliver food to a soup kitchen for the homeless to make them happy and feel loved for at least one day of the year because they deserve it more than many others. I want to give them a warm smile and show that we are all equal no matter what our circumstances may be.

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They Gave You What? Best & Worst Christmas Presents Revealed

Christmas PresentsBest presents

Andrew Hayden (37) Thomastown, Kilkenny

A three week holiday to the Caribbean courtesy of my loving wife who really put me to shame that year!

Heidi Andreasen (24) Stavanger,Norway

An inter-railing ticket, last thing I expected. We got to go to so many countries it was great.

Laura McDonnell (19) Fermoy, Cork

My first ever car which came all wrapped up.

Rebecca O’Donovan (21) Athlone, Westmeath

My boyfriend brought me to Paris for our first Christmas that was extra special and really unexpected.

Conor O’Shaughnessy (29) Athy, Kildare

When I was younger I got flying lessons which I enjoyed so much I went on to forge a career as a pilot. I’m very greatful to my parents for introducing me to the world of aviation.

Mladen Borovitch (33) Wroclaw, Poland

I got a lovely engraved watch from my wife a few years back, I wasn’t a fan of watches before but this was really special.

Julie Arronisimo (22) Detroit, USA

An engagement ring, made last Christmas extra special.

Liam McGonigle (22) Fermanagh

A season ticket for Celtic.

Aisling Curtis (36) Stradbally, Laois

When we were younger my mother and father bought me and my sister a horse each and riding lessons. We had endless hours of fun. We could never have expected the horses as we weren’t exactly animal lovers but it’s amazing how things change.

Worst presents

Eleanor Murphy (23) Ballincollig, Cork

A pet dog, I hate dogs. I tried to come to terms with having it around but it wasn’t happening. Made a great present for my niece’s birthday though.

Maarten De Vrij (19) Charleroi, Belgium

Tickets to a Justin Bieber concert. Sold them instantly.

Barry Brennan (26) Navan, Meath

The endless aftershave sets become a bit boring after the first ten years.

Paul Comerford (19) Killybegs, Donegal

Socks, socks, bloody socks. Granny never fails!

Lisa Lawless (22) Adare,Limerick

Tickets to go and  see Jedward. Boyfriends, who would have them!

Billy Muirhouse (59) Edinburgh, Scotland

I really wanted a guitar one Christmas and instead of a guitar I received some sort of mini second hand banjo, safe to say I was the laughing stock of guitar tuition class.

Klaus Vermeier (27) Hannover, Germany

A season ticket for a football team I absolutely despise!

Annalise McGrory (32) Melbourne, Australia

Anything that’s predictable like DVDs, clothes and useless stuff that people know you have no use for but still buy it anyway.

Neil Nolan (24) Drogheda, Louth

Clothes. I just don’t see clothes as a Christmas present and I’m fed up with getting socks, slippers and dressing gowns.

Rachel Wyse (27) Tullow, Carlow

I really really wanted a car to get me around but sadly my boyfriend got sold a clapped out banger that lasted about a month before we encountered huge problems. Won’t let him buy me a car ever again.

The Best Of The Best And A Christmas To Forget

Christmas Cackers

Over the past few weeks we have been gathering a number of festive related opinions. Here, Irish News Review reveals some memorable Christmas moments and some nightmares worth forgetting in our bumper guide to festive memories. How many can you relate to?!

 

 

Best Memories

Carl O’Malley (24), Clondalkin, Dublin

Last Christmas was my first as a father and it was by far the best Christmas ever. There comes an age between your teen years and your parenting years that Christmas loses something. The birth of our daughter Ava made it all special once again. I can’t wait for this year.

Leo Svambaras (27) Vilnius, Lithuania

I just love every Christmas. It’s the one time of year when everyone is together and happy, it’s a special time which doesn’t compare to anything else. We forget about everything that happened, put all quarrels aside and look forward to a prosperous new year.

Jennifer Maguire (20) Clonmel, Tipperary

My favourite Christmas memory would be 2010. I had only just passed my driving test that November and I awoke on Christmas morning to discover a shiny new Volkswagen Polo in my garden. I couldn’t believe it was for me. I doubt that Christmas can be topped.

David Hayes (36) Sligo

Seeing the Kids faces on Christmas is one of the most joyous experiences one can have. We have a very quiet Christmas with just five of us being at home but I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world. Myself and my wife spent a lot of time experiencing Christmas in different countries before we settled down to have kids but nothing can truly beat Christmas at home.

Aaron Burke (32) Douglas, Cork

It would have to be 2006 when I got engaged to my wife Ciara. She would kill me if I said anything else!

Lisa Perry (32) Toronto, Canada

My best Christmas memory was the final Christmas I had with my parents. It was a great time and amazing to have everyone together for the holidays. It doesn’t feel the same without them but welcoming our children into our lives is starting to rekindle the Christmas magic.

Louise McFadden (26) Firhouse, Dublin

My Best Christmas memory would be our visit to Lapland when I was about nine or so. It was just magical, a different world almost. We got to ride reindeers around, visit Santa’s workshop and more. Myself and my brother were living in a fairytale. We went to Lapland the week before Christmas and got delayed coming back, not that we were complaining. We arrived home on Christmas eve and had a great few days afterwards. We’re lucky the house was decorated before we left!

Brendan Walsh (48), Waterford

Every Christmas is special once family are here. Many of our relatives live abroad and it’s great that they can all come home at a time that matters.

Lloyd Francomb (33) Oxford, England

A few years ago myself and my wife went to Germany to visit the Christmas markets in Cologne and Frankfurt, it was really special. The atmosphere was second to none, everybody was really happy and although we didn’t have kids at the time we felt like kids ourselves. There were endless activities to do from ice skating to craft workshops or even just shopping. If anyone ever feels like they have lost the magic of Christmas I would highly suggest they visit one of the German markets. We plan to go back next year now that we have children.

Ellie O’Bryan (18) Greystones, Wicklow

I have so many favourite Christmas memories it’s very hard to pick just one. I suppose celebrating Christmas in America and meeting Justin Timberlake at dinner stands out. That was just incredible, of all the people you expect to meet you could never have imagined that happening.

Worst memories

Jenny Hayes (28) Bristol, England

My best ever present was a dog I got for Christmas when I was a kid. My worst memory was losing him on Christmas Eve ten years later.

Alison Canning (21) Connemara, Galway

Breaking my leg while messing around with my cousins in the snow. Wasn’t nice to be laid up but everyone made me feel extra special. Thankfully I didn’t spend Christmas day in the hospital.

Gordon O’Reilly (37) Newbridge, Kildare

Telling the wife I would be more than capable of making Christmas dinner and making an unforgiveable mess. I always thought this stuff just happened in films but sadly I was wrong.

David La Vivicreciano (25) Naples, Italy

I was in Indonesia for Christmas 2004 with family when the tsunami struck. It was a nightmare, the destruction was unbelievable. As a 17 year old I was terrified, we didn’t know if we would survive but thankfully we all made it home safe. We were incredibly lucky and thank god for sparing us to this day. We always remember those who weren’t so fortunate at Christmas.

Mark McNulty (19) Castleknock, Dublin

Mine was when I was around six and I was running down the steps and I fell cause there isn’t a railing. I fell right on my face and I went to the hospital where I was told my nose was broken. I spent that Christmas in hospital.

Lee Masterson (23) Granard, Longford

Any retail workers will tell you Christmas sucks when you have to work on Christmas Eve and St Stephen’s Day. The hangovers don’t be much fun when your surrounded by all the bargain hunters.

Petra Vilanova (33) Split, Croatia

Being stranded in the snow and missing Christmas with loved ones.

Linda McNaughton (32) Gorey, Wexford

My family used to have a tradition of having Christmas dinner at a local hotel, I hated the idea because for me Christmas is a time to have dinner at home. Thankfully things have changed now I have my own home.

Tracy McGarrell (46) Coolock, Dublin

Finding the kids Christmas presents were stolen when our house was broken into. Luckily we had some time to buy a few other presents but all the main bits were gone. We couldn’t believe how anyone could be so desperate. The kids never found out what happened until later years but whoever says getting your shopping over and one with early is best was lying!

Jerry O’Connell (38) Mallow, Cork

I got a car one Christmas and wrote it off the following Christmas Eve. Luckily I escaped unhurt.

Tis The Season To…

Christmas, it comes earlier and earlier every year. This I know for a fact, you see I work in retail which means that I’ve been singing along to classics such as Baby It’s Cold Outside for weeks now. Hell our “Christmas Shop” has been open since September 1st and no your eyes are not deceiving you, September 1st folks!

So, just how have I managed to survive all these years in retail and the ever advancing onset of the festive season without morphing into the Holiday’s most notorious villain? It all comes down to one phrase, a phrase you might just recognize: “If you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em”

These days I take the time to organise a number of treats both big and small for myself and friends to enjoy together in the run up to Christmas. Often these “treats” are not even remotely related to the Holiday season which I have never been overly precious about but revolve around eating, drinking and laughing. Then again eating, drinking and laughing has always been the very definition of Christmas, at least for me. Point is, it doesn’t really matter what you do this Christmas as long as it makes both you and yours happy. Believe me it’s much easier to tolerate all that joy to the world and peace on earth malarky once you give yourself a reason to smile.

I’ve taken the liberty of compiling a list of traditional and not so traditional things for you and yours to do in the run up to Christmas. Here’s hoping this is enough to get all you Bitter Bettys out there in the Christmas spirit this year…

… Get Your Skates On;

Can you think of anything more festive than ice skating? Yes, it’s embarrassing, yes, you’re going to look like a severely impaired newborn foal out there and yes you will fall over but you know what? You’re going to laugh like never before and what in this world provides a better bonding experience than humiliation? That’s right, nothing! Besides is there anything cuter than slip sliding across the ice and being held up but that guy you’ve been swooning over for months? We all need a cliché or two in our lives!

Check out Dundrum On Ice

Opening Hours:  Monday – Friday; 3pm – 8pm.

Saturday – Sunday; 10.30 am – 9pm.

… Drink A Cocktail Or Three;

When it comes to Christmas I’m a woman divided one part of me fantasizes about cable knits, woolly socks and a boozy hot chocolate sipped by the fire whilst reading Pride and Prejudice while the other swoons over the glitz and glam of the party season. You know what I’m talking about folks, the sequin dresses, the strappy heels, and of course only the most potent of cocktails. Luckily I know how to satisfy both of my festive personalities. Leaning toward a night out? Then you’ve got to try Dublin’s own Vintage Cocktail Club which not only boasts an impressive array of cocktails – including Rested Manhattans, Mojitos, and Dark & Stormy’s to name but a few – but also delivers on its promise to show you a truly unique night on the town! For those of you in the mood for a cozy tipple beside the fire then check out this recipe featured on my blog Your Ethereal Feast which yields what might just be the best winter warmer ever!

Vintage Cocktail Club, 15 Crown Alley, Temple Bar, Dublin 2.

… Host Thanksgiving Dinner;

I’m very lucky because I’ve been seeing a rather lovely American boy for a number of years now which means that I get to celebrate Thanksgiving or what I like to call “stuff yourself stupid day.” American or not there’s no reason you can’t get involved too. Why not throw an impromptu dinner party for your friends? To make it really special and slightly more grown up (23 years of age and I’m still using the term “grown up”!) simply pay attention to detail when it comes to your table! It’s amazing just how big a difference the little things can make and it doesn’t have to cost a lot. Simply pick up some pretty napkins, light some candles and perhaps add some flowers. For winter I really like muted tones with metallic accents as they’re chic, sophisticated and unlikely to clash with anything in your apartment! If the mere idea of throwing a dinner party is something you feel overwhelmed by simply get your friends involved and ask each person to bring just one thing they feel confident making and if most of it does end up coming straight out of a microwavable container who the hell cares? It’s your party and you can fake it if you wanna! Oh and while you’re at it why not pull a Christmas cracker or two? Just because the pilgrims didn’t have them doesn’t mean we shouldn’t!

For super chic kitchen and tableware check out Avoca which has locations across Ireland and on Suffolk Street in the heart of the city.

… Dress Like The Last Member Of Wham;

Who can forget George Michael in the now infamous video for Last Christmas? For years we ridiculed the man for wearing that sweater but it’s time to come clean, he had it right all along. There really is nothing better than a motif sweater this festive season guys. Why not head to my own personal high street hero, Topshop, where you can choose between this, this and this. I think you’ll agree that all three are absolute gems and will have you channeling your inner George in no time!

… Laugh Your Ass Off;

Aw yes, Christmas, that time of year has come again when comedians everywhere get set to release and tirelessly promote DVD’s of their latest and greatest performances! Sure, they’ve brought us lots of joy in the past but why not skip the DVD this year? After St Stephens day it usually sits there gathering dust anyways. Oh but don’t skip the inappropriate laughs, chuckles and cackles instead catch your favourite comedian live! This year I’m going to take in a little Michael McIntyre but if he’s not your kinda guy then why not head on over to Vicarstreet.ie where you can book a little quality time with comedians such as Neil Delamare and Tommy Tiernan?

Vicar Street is located on Dublin’s Thomas Street.

… Treat Yourself;

Ok ok, so Christmas is about giving but whoever said you couldn’t give to yourself? The best gift is the one (or should that be ones?) you give yourself. To ease your conscience, however, I’ve found some super stylish and super affordable pieces such as these three gorgeous party dresses (pictured here, here and here) from Warehouse all of which will undoubtedly carry you through the festive season and beyond. Better still if you pick up the December 2012 issue of MarieClaire you’ll receive a further 20% off all full priced items. You’d be losing money not to am I right? And hey if you’re feeling generous you can always pick up a little something for your mom, sister or best friend too!

… Bake Yourself Fat;

Face it, no one likes Christmas cake, it’s heavy, it’s outdated and we only ever started making it because we didn’t have anything better to work with. Aw but gone are those dark days of old. Today we have innumerable options when it comes to sweet treats that everyone will find palatable. Check out just a few of my most popular and perhaps more importantly tried and tested recipes here, here and here which are featured on my blog! If you find you’re still jonesing for something a little more festive then click here to explore what is perhaps my favourite foodie blog of all time and where you’ll find all sorts of festive goodies including gingerbread apple upside down cake and roasted chestnut cookies.

… Trim Your Tree;

I’ve had my own apartment a number of years now and year after year people seem surprised when I tell them that yes I am putting up a Christmas tree. I guess it is a lot of bother when you can take it all in without the hassle just by heading back to the parents place but for me Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without the frustration and eventually the relief that comes with putting the tree together and untangling those damn fairy lights. What really makes the process special, however, is the thought of breaking out those ornaments originally bought to mark a special time in my life. I have for example a bauble that represents the first year I moved in with my fiancé and another ornament given to me last Christmas by my future mother in law which is incredibly dear to me. I cannot wait to bust out these trinkets alongside my fiancé this Christmas so we can enjoy a little trip down memory lane together. Why not start your own collection or pick out a special ornament to give a loved one this year? Sentimental, soppy, sad, call it what you will but these are the things you’ll cherish for years to come.

I love these glass initial baubles €6 from Anthropologie!

Time For A Few More Fabulous Suggestions?

Why not have a T.V. marathon? Pick a day, any day, to just sit on your butt and watch the entire lastest season of your favourite show. Friends, Sex & The City, Top Chef America, Dexter, Breaking Bad whatever it may be. The only rule is this; no leaving the couch!

Compile a Christmas playlist! And no it doesn’t have to be full of the usuals such as Driving Home For Christmas just lots of upbeat songs that are going to get you in the mood to dance around your house a la Cameron Diaz in The Holiday.

Speaking of which, watch The Holiday, Love Actually or some other form of Christmas tripe! Snow infused visuals help!

Get crafty and by this I mean channel your inner artiste no matter what your ability. Make a sock puppet for your Dad, a necklace for your mom or a card for your friend. There’s something about doing it yourself that just makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside and from what I hear that’s how Christmas is supposed to make us feel.

I do believe that’s your 12 days of Christmas sorted! You can thank me later folks…!

By Kerrie Mitchell

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