Your Irish Christmas
Christmas is less than 10 days away, but there’s still time to add Irish cheer to your celebration. Here are four simple ways to make December 25th just a tad Irish.
Even with less than two weeks to go, you can still decorate your home with some of the most beloved Irish Christmas traditions. Fresh greenery and a tree are obvious choices. Don’t forget to add a few Irish ornaments to your mix. We like the idea of adding one per year to steadily grow your collection.
There’s another decoration you must wait until Christmas Eve to set up, the welcoming candle. This thick candle is to be placed in a windowsill and lit after sunset on Christmas Eve. It burns all night and is meant to serve as a guiding or welcoming light for Mary and Joseph.
While traditional Irish families may have a variety of desserts on Christmas, there’s one that stands out, a cake with caraway seed. This distinctively flavored dessert has found favor among both the Irish and British. It’s a perfect complement to coffee or a nightcap. Here’s a quick recipe to make your own.
Caraway Seed Cake
¾ cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
4 egg whites
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon caraway seed
Preheat oven to 300°. Using a mixer, cream butter and sugar. Add egg whites one at a time, gradually working into the mixture. In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients and gradually add to the wet mixture. Flour and grease a Bundt pan or 10-inch fluted pan and pour in the mixture. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
If you can only add one Irish carol to your playlist this December, make it “The Wexford Carol.” This song originated in the 1300s in County Wexford and is still a popular tune today. Other favorites include, “While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night,” and “Christmas in Killarney.”
Remember the reason for the season and spend some time reflecting on the birth of Jesus. You may do this by attending mass or a church service or picking up a book of daily advent readings. You may also find a connection to the season by spending time with loved ones or doing acts of kindness. Whatever you decide, slow down and enjoy the season.
My old grandmother used to say, “If you’re Irish, God bless you; if you’re not, God damn you!” As you’ve probably figured out, she was rather out spoken, but I say God bless her!
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