The Irish love to celebrate all things, and you can incorporate that Irish spirit into your Christmas celebration and decorating designs. You don't have to be of Irish heritage to love the Emerald Isle. Welcome the best of Irish traditions into your own Christmas designs for a Christmas display straight from Ireland.
Irish Christmas Tree Decorations
Use an Irish-inspired Christmas tree, artificial or real, as a centerpiece. The overall tree should be green with accents of white and orange; decorate the tree with shamrocks, green ornaments, fairy ornaments or specialty Irish ornaments, such as snowmen with shamrocks, or Santa Claus in a kilt. Don’t forget tinsel, an integral part of Irish tree decorating. Use a floral Christmas tree skirt, or a skirt made from the colors of the Irish flag: orange, green and white. For a whimsical look, hang fairy Christmas tree ornaments from the ceiling with nylon string. Attach Christmas ornaments to the fairies' hands so they look as if they are decorating the Christmas tree. Don’t use standard Christmas lights; instead, select small bulb fairy lights with white or colored bulbs.
Wren Boy Procession Tradition
Many years ago, the Irish celebrated the Wren Boy procession as part of the St. Stephen’s Day celebration. According to an article by Michael Green entitled, "Irish Christmas Traditions," the St. Stephen's Day celebration became part of Irish Christmas customs. Young people would go from house to house carrying a pole adorned with a holly bush and a dead wren. You can incorporate a slightly less gruesome tribute to this tradition by situating planters filled with holly bushes and fake wrens perched in their branches around your house.
Irish Room Decorations
Holly wreaths and Nativity scenes are common elements in Irish Christmas celebrations. Decorate indoors and out with holly wreaths and swags, and incorporate a Nativity scene, or "Christmas crib" as the Irish call it, into your display. Set the Nativity scene near your Christmas tree. Express your desire to welcome weary travelers as part of your celebration by placing a single candle on the ledge of your window as a symbol of welcome. Set a table with loaves of caraway bread with raisins and a pitcher of milk by the door for weary travelers.
“The Dead” and Ugly Christmas Sweaters
Create a reading area in your house near the Christmas tree. Make plans to read James Joyce’s short story “The Dead,” from the book “The Dubliners.” According to Irish Central.com, “The Dead” is a traditional Christmas story in Ireland. Another Irish tradition is the wearing of ugly Christmas sweaters, a tradition that you can keep alive with decorations. Make ugly sweater Christmas pillows for your sitting area, or slide the sweaters over the back of dining chairs to create slipcovers. Tuck the sleeves inside the sweaters.
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