Aleksandra Lepowska, an Erasmus student at the University of Limerick, shares her ideas for a special Christmas present to take home to your friends and family from Ireland!
Hello Guys! It’s again that time of the year! Even though my mom always told me not to listen to Christmas songs until it’s actually Christmas, there’s nobody to stop me here in Ireland! It is also time to slowly think about packing and bringing back some gifts for the special ones. I know that is pretty hard, but this year it is even more challenging. How do I find something for someone so 1) it matches with their personality and 2) it has has an Irish touch? Here are some of my ideas to help you out!
Unfortunately, I didn’t have the time to take a picture for every idea. That’s the reason why some pictures have an asterisk below, those aren’t mine!
1. Wooden Hearts
I noticed these the first week I arrived. They’re little wooden hearts and you can personalise them by carving something on them — a name, a year of maybe an abbreviation for Ireland, because only 5 letters fit on them. To me these are Christmas tree decorations, but I suppose you can hang them somewhere in the kitchen as well. & Personal gifts are the best!
You can find these at a small stand, which is always on the left side if you enter the Milk Market from side of the Cornmarket Row. The merchant also sells other wooden things, like birdhouses, and Celtic ceramics. Unfortunately, I don’t find Celtic things very elegant. But I must admit, they are VERY IRISH!
2. Nell’s Wool Products
Ireland is known for sheep and more specifically for their wool. My brain always splits into two: this is pretty, but what’s the story behind it? I’ve always kind of thought about animal rights, but I’ve never talked about it to others. It’s until I met my lovely flatmate, who is an animal-rights activist, made me believe that it’s not a useless thing to stand up for those small, but powerful creatures.
It’s hard to find out what the sheep went through before creating this “Oh! So cosy”-sweater. However, like we usually come to the conclusion with my friend: it’s not necessarily a bad thing to wear wool, but why are humans so cruel!
At the Milk Market, there is a lady called Nelli, who has her own sheep, she shears them with love, makes her own wool, and knits little accessories and home decorations.
She is very friendly, so I’d say, contribute to a good cause!
3. Celtic Candles
Some people enjoy candles at home. Or if you have no clue what to give to someone, a Celtic candle can solve the problem. You can find them at the Yankee Candle Shop at the Crescent Shopping Mall, but I suppose you can find them anywhere else too.
I think it’s strange to buy a calendar as a gift, but you can buy some Christmas gifts for yourself too, right? There is one shop with only calendars, there is nothing else! It’s in William street. I find it quite fascinating, but to be honest I bought mine at a book shop at the Crescent shopping mall. It is a combination of a calendar and something for every day. Yoga pose of the day. Sudoku for the day. Or the one I chose — Life’s Little Instructions. Sometimes they make you think, other times they make you smirk and that’s what it’s about. Let’s keep calendars as carefree as possible.
5. Funny socks
Another gift which is easy to find and goes with any funky soul are funny socks. You can buy them for your dad, grandpa, uncle or any cute toddler in the family. Why am I excluding women? Haha, my bad. I like funny socks too, but seeing fancy men with funny socks makes me believe that we all need fun on a daily basis.
The most Irish ones are the ones with clovers, but Christmas socks or odd socks might make people happy too. A great choice of Irish socks can be found at the gift shop at King John’s Castle.
For English we all had to give a presentation and one group decided to talk about the importance of bees. For that reason, my lecturer promoted her friends’ honey. Yes, some people honestly enjoy receiving honey. Apparently Beeactive is on the pricey side, but it is worth it! Local, healthy and a natural sweetener.
7. Hook & Ladder
You can always buy something pretty useless, but still pretty. Like kitchen decorations, or a notebook. Hook & Ladder does not only offer delicious breakfast, all the decorations at the restaurant can be bought. Including the chairs, haha! No, don’t buy a chair as a Christmas present, but who buys chairs at a restaurant? Anyway. The decorations have a soul and they will make a home look cosier.
8. Irish Pebble Art
This is one of my favourites, but as we still have a limited amount of suitcases, we shouldn’t get too excited about Christmas presents. However, I like the idea of this gift a lot! It is a painting let’s say, but made out of pebbles. It’s simple, but with a personal quote on the bottom it is a nice thing to give or receive in my opinion. It costs around 40 euros, but if you really like the idea, I think it’s worth it. Besides, you buy it in a frame, so it’s ready to offer.
9. Claddagh Ring
Normally you receive one of these from your grandma or mum, but as we Erasmus students are not Irish, I think it’s okay to give one of these to a friend. “With these hands I give you my heart and I crown it with my love.” Isn’t that a beautiful quote?
There is also a whole story behind how you should wear a Claddagh Ring.
And if you really really don’t know what to give somebody for Christmas…
10. Christmas Card
To make it even more special, you can put a hand-picked Irish clover on the inside.
Happy Christmas shopping!
Enjoy these last weeks in Limerick & have a lovely Christmas back home!