Christmas Day in Ireland is December 25.
Here the Christmas celebrations last from Christmas Eve to the feast of the Epiphany on January 6, which is referred to as "Little Christmas". Christmas in Ireland is a religious as well as a festive occassion. Northern Ireland is a part of the United Kingdom and hence, Christmas traditions here echo those of the western countries.
In preparation for Christmas, Irish families bake Christmas cakes, puddings and mince pies. Mantelpieces are decorated with flowers (such as holly) and ornaments. A popular tradition here, as in other western nations, is hanging the mistletoe in a doorway and to kiss under it. Before the holidays, families give gifts (usually money) to all those who provide service to them throughout the year, such as the plumber or the milkman. Homes are cleaned and often whitewashed, as a means of purification. Christmas trees are set up and decorated with tinsel, colourful lights and a star or an angel on top. Many kids recieve an Advent Calendar which have slots for each day in December, each of them containing a chocolate treat.
On Christmas Eve, all the extended members of Roman Catholic families in Ireland come together and attend the Midnight Mass. In windows of individual homes, lighted candles are placed to signify symbolic hospitality for Mary and Joseph. The candles are usually red in color, and decorated with sprigs of holly. Traditionally, Irish women bake a seed cake for each member of the house. They also prepare three puddings, one for each day of the Epiphany such as Christmas, New Year's Day and the Twelfth Night.
Christmas dinner in Ireland consists of almost the same foods as Thanksgiving with the main dishes being turkey, ham, cranberry sauce and the like. The more traditional Irish dishes include spiced beef (spiced over several days, cooked, and then pressed) to be served either hot or cold. Dessert is usually composed of mince pies, Christmas pudding, and brandy or rum sauce.
During Christmas, everyone in Ireland wishes another "Nollaig Shona Dhuit" meaning "Merry Christmas" in Irish-Gaelic language.