I have very fond childhood memories of Christmas morning. There was nothing better than waking up to presents, amazing food and extended family all together. Christmas in Ireland is like Thanksgiving in the United States. Everyone looks forward to it, and the food is what everyone looks forward to the most. When I moved to the the United States, I was worried Christmas wouldn't feel as magical as it does in Ireland. So I began to wonder exactly what it is that makes an Irish Christmas so special?

Like I said, compared to the US and other Western countries, Ireland's Christmas food isn't too different.  The dinner usually consists of ham, turkey, mashed potatoes, roasted potatoes, sausage stuffing, gravy and lots of vegetables. It sounds basic, but we have our own ways of preparing it all. Even more, the company's we use for some of our food changes the experience as well.

Another Christmas tradition that is loved by many is mince pies. They're  really sweet dried fruit pies infused with brandy that are terribly addicting (my granny and mum make the best ones). The best part about mince pies is that they are so easy to make. 

Once December roles around every child wants an advent calendar. Myself and many other Irish children always looked forward to opening the doors each day. Though to be completely honest I always ate my entire month of chocolate in one sitting.

One of my favorite Irish snacks that is always under the tree is Tayto Crisps, specifically cheese and onion. When I moved away from Ireland, this was one of the snacks I missed the most. I was lucky enough to be near an Irish store which my mum always took advantage of during the holiday season. (Major shoutout to our family back home who would send Irish snacks during Christmas time.)

Even though I don't live in Ireland anymore, I'm lucky I still get to experience Christmas through the Irish lens. When the Irish first started to immigrate over to the US, they didn't have local Irish stores that had their favorite sweets and groceries and they had to adapt to what they had. So, this holiday I'm going to remember that even when I'm homesick, I have to remember that I'm lucky to have so many ways to get my favorite Irish groceries in the US.

No matter how or if you celebrate, I wish a "Nollaig Shona Duit", which means "Merry Christmas" in the Irish language Gaeilge, to you all.