Its Christmas time and Christmas really brings out the best in the Irish people, there is an added twinkle in everyone’s eye due to the Christmas decorations on every corner.
When you work abroad, especially around holidays - You will quickly be reminded that you are not a local. Why you may ask? Well I am a German Speakers and with living & working in Ireland the past few months I have faced some funny Irish Christmas traditions, which were totally new to me and worth a write and most definitely a read.
But first, how about a taste of the German Christmas?
In Germany you can imagine the cities are crowded like hell, the people are merry with mulled wine and rolling down the street because of the very real possibility of overindulging in spekulatius cookies and German speakers are not too fond of kitschige (Cheesy) decorations. Of course, Christmas in Germany is lovely and tranquil as well, but the Irish traditions are tough to beat. Here we go!
‘Have you got your Christmas decorations up yet?’
The perfect answer: ‘’Of course, my tree is up and everything’’
Say this answer as enthusiastically as possible. As turning the Christmas lights on is the kick-start into the Christmas season (Not such a big deal in Germany). In Ireland the streets are crowded, there are bands playing and celebrities turning the city lights on. This actually reminded me of New Year’s Eve. The day the lights had been turned on, there is only one topic in the city! And I have to admit, the lights are worth all the chatter: It’s no secret anymore, Christmas is here!
‘Don’t forget, tomorrow is Christmas jumper day at work.’
The perfect answer: ‘'Great, I will choose one of my jumpers out of my collection in my wardrobe’'
This unfortunately has not made its way to Germany (yet) but in Ireland you just need to go to Primark/ Penny’s and you know what I am talking about. Christmas jumpers as far as you can see!
The tradition of wearing Christmas jumpers with reindeers, snowmen or Christmas trees on it (with lights you can actually turn on) seemed to become huge the last few years in Ireland. The result is most of the companies have a Christmas jumper day, where everyone is wearing their own individual Christmas jumper. Our dorky grandmothers hand knit jumpers are suddenly in– Ireland has jumped straight into this Jumper tradition so much that they now have speciality Christmas Jumper shops.
‘Have you dreamed of being at the late late toy show as a child as well?’
The perfect answer: '‘I have not only dreamed of it, I have been there!’'
In Ireland, Christmas is the time when children (big and small) will be sitting in front of the TV watching the late late toy show, wishing they could hear the magic words ‘’There’s one for everyone in the audience’’ Being there does indeed sound attractive. Being the most watched television program in Ireland and the longest running chat show, this is a part of the Irish Christmas you should not miss. Totally new to me I suddenly saw myself sitting in front of the television watching Ryan Tubridy in this Christmas jumper and wishing I was in the audience like my fellow Irish Friends.
‘Have you seen the Coca Cola Ad yet?’
The perfect answer: “What a question, of course I have!”
Everyone does know it: The big Coca Cola ad with the traditional red truck! The Irish start to wait for it around October. The first glimpse of the famous truck unofficially opens the Christmas season in Ireland. This seems to be the best marketing strategy ever used! You have not seen the truck yet? Don’t worry, there is actually an official Coca Cola truck tour around Ireland with 16 destinations! Not to be missed! In Germany we have this ad too and we like it, it just isn’t as big as it is in Ireland.
‘Let’s go jump into the sea on Christmas morning’
The perfect answer: ‘'I have a wetsuit!’'
Jumping into the freezing cold sea is part of the Irish Christmas tradition and takes place all over Ireland for the people living on the coast. On Christmas morning hundreds of people can be seen jumping into the freezing cold sea (and they seriously seem to be enjoying it). To be mentioned, they are not wearing a wetsuit! This is just confirming my impression that Irish people have a biased understanding of summer! In Germany jumping into the sea is not that common … the Germans prefer to take it easy!
The Irish are a crazy folk, I knew this before, but these small traditions make Ireland an even lovelier place to work and live! I learned one lesson: Christmas is always craic, no matter where you are abroad!
Here at Careertrotter we would like to wish you and yours this holiday season a Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year where ever it is you are today.
What have been your experiences of celebrating Christmas abroad? We are curious, let us know!