OPINION: 20 Christmas traditions we love, hate, love to hate... and everything in between!

By Katy Thornton

December 23, 2021 at 4:01pm


It's officially in; our hot takes on Christmas traditions, what can stay, and what we wish went years ago...

This is but the opinions of one 26 year old girl, so in advance, I apologise if I rip into one of your fave traditions, or endorse something you hate. We can all like what we like, and dislike what we dislike. With that disclaimer out of the way, now let's get into it.

1. Board Games

Dust off that box of 30 Seconds, or Cranium (if you're old school) (and the play dough hasn't dried up) and play some old fashioned board games. It's a Christmas tradition, it gets you off your phone, and it can stay!

2. Watching the Late Late Toy Show

Would you believe this was the first year I ever watched the Late Late Toy Show from start to finish and I can finally see why people love it so much. At the ripe age of 26, I can see the joy it brings, and think it's definitely a tradition that deserves to stick around.

3. Opening one present on Christmas Eve

This one I'm going to have to pass on. While I understand why parents let their kids do this - the excitement of Christmas day can be too much for the little ones -  I should know seeing as I still never sleep a wink on Christmas Eve - it is better to just wait for Christmas Day.

4. Watching Harry Potter

Big yes. While they are not strictly Christmas movies, they might as well be. Although a tradition that got binned a few years ago was them airing on RTÉ - and it's one we need back. Not everyone has Sky Cinema.


5. Christmas Crackers

I'm just putting it out there, I'm a big fan! A word of advice though... don't be spending loads of money on the fancy Christmas crackers. There really is very little difference in the bits you get inside, no matter whether you buy the €12 box, or the €20 box. Plus, part of the fun is trying to remember the punchline to the joke you've been reading out every year since 2014.

6. Christmas Cake

No, no, no. No thank you. Respectfully, this is a tradition that needs to die. I have never met a person who actually enjoys the taste of Christmas cake. If you have, I'd be wary of them. And if you say you do, who are you lying to protect? That it looks like it's going to be delicious only makes it worse when it's not. It's a no from me. (Chocolate biscuit Christmas cakes on the other hand can stay).

7. Brussel Sprouts

Anyone who doesn't like Brussel sprouts just hasn't experienced them in all their glory. While I agree a plain boiled Brussel sprout is a bit bleak (and has the potential to be terribly soggy), when they're done right, they're lowkey one of the best parts of Christmas dinner. Try making them in cream, bacon, and bread crumbs (divine) or the same way you'd make cauliflower cheese, but with Brussel sprouts.

8. Elf on the Shelf

Let me just say I'm glad these pointy fellas weren't around when I was a kid. I can see their purpose, certainly, but I'm glad I was not plagued by their existence.

9. Christmas Eve Pub


While this is something many will miss out on this year, we look forward to Christmas 2022 and keep everything crossed that Christmas pub can happen in all its glory then.

10. Watching the Father Ted Christmas Special

Honestly if you don't crease up after seeing Mrs. Doyle fall out of that window, or Dougal giving "mass" then you're not entirely human. This can and will stay forevermore.

11. Christmas Sambo

Making that stunning Christmas sambo, with all the turkey and brie and cranberry, is simply essential. I don't care how many helpings of Christmas dinner you had. You need to find room for that over stuffed sambo too!

12. Leaving the wrappers in the chocolate tins

This one needs to go, but as someone who is definitely guilty of it, I can say it's much harder to resist doing this than one might think.

13. Going to the Races on Stephen's Day/Going to the sales

Maybe this is just a sign that I'm getting older. But I can think of nothing more miserable than leaving the house on Stephen's Day. Stephen's Day is a second Christmas in my eyes; there are tons of movies still left to watch, leftovers galore, and no pressure to look in any way presentable. I possibly do recommend doing some online shopping from the comfort of the couch... but that's about it.


14. Leaving out food for Santa

I mean, who am I to say this isn't a tradition that deserves to live on? Santa, and his reindeer for that matter, deserve a treat more than any of us lazy sacks in our beds, so I definitely endorse leaving him a mince pie or two.

15. Posting what you got for Christmas on social media

I have definitely been guilty of doing this, so there's no judgement coming from me. But maybe you don't need to show what your S'O got you in great detail, or the mountain of gifts Santy gave you. The odd gift, if it's particularly cool, quirky, or thoughtful, I'll allow. Otherwise keep it to close friends, or yourself.

16. Posting your Christmas dinner on social media

This needs to go too. I'm sure your dinner tastes great, but you cannot honestly tell me that a Christmas dinner is aesthetically pleasing. By all means, enjoy it, take a picture for yourself and the mems. But Instagram doesn't need to see it.

17. Matching PJs

If this was a tradition I could get my family into, I would. For those of you who do it, I'm very jealous, and keep it up.

18. Trying on everything you got for Chrimbo


We love to see it. You wear that scarf, and new dress, and slippers, and gorge new belt altogether. Who's going to tell you that you can't? Not me anyway.

19. The "Christmas Outfit"

For years, I heard my friends discuss their Christmas outfit while I sat there, comprehending logically what they meant, but also having never experienced it myself. The fight to dress up or dress down for Christmas is personal preference, and I opt for a happy medium generally.

20. Tiny cereals

Are tiny cereals a vibe? Yes they are. Do you need to use like three of them to make up a normal bowl of cereal so it would make more sense to use a normal sized cereal box? Also yes. But we still love them, and they can stay.

What are your favourite Christmas traditions? But more importantly, what are your least favourite??

Header image via Shutterstock

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