What is Christmas?
Christmas is the annual Christian holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, which explains the origin of the name of the holiday. Christmas is also widely celebrated by non-Christians worldwide. In Gaelic, Christmas is called 'Nollaig' and Santa Claus is known as 'San Nioclás' or 'Daidí na Nollag'.
When is Christmas?
Christmas Day is celebrated on 25 December in Ireland; this day is called Christmas Day. This is also the date of the winter solstice on the Roman calendar. Many Irish people celebrate the evening before Christmas as well, which is called Christmas Eve. The day after Christmas Day, 26 December, is called St Stephen's Day.
Christmas is celebrated in various ways around the world. Traditionally, people attend church services, midnight mass, and spend time with family and friends. Families in Ireland dine together on Christmas Day. A roast turkey is the most popular meal for an Irish Christmas dinner. Traditional Christmas food in Ireland used to include a round cake, one for each person in the house. These days it's more common to have one big Christmas cake covered with marzipan and decorated with icing.
Other traditions include putting up and decorating the Christmas tree, singing carols and listening to Christmas songs, and of course exchanging gifts. Santa Claus is one of the highlights of Christmas, especially for kids. Also known as Father Christmas, Santa Claus brings gifts on Christmas Eve. He piles all the gifts on his sleigh and rides across the evening sky with his reindeer to deliver presents. One Christmas gift-giving tradition that many adults take part in during Christmas is a Secret Santa gift exchange.
Secret Santa gift exchange
Exchanging gifts and having fun is what Secret Santa is all about! Secret Santa involves drawing names from a hat and secretly buying a gift for the person whose name you’ve drawn. A Secret Santa gift exchange is an excellent way to celebrate Christmas with friends, family or co-workers. You're guaranteed to have a great time filled with fun and laughter. Did you know that Secret Santa originates from early Christmas traditions? The original ‘Secret Santas’ were the gift-bearing helpers of St Nick.
Read more about the various ways of celebrating Secret Santa in this blog. For more Secret Santa inspiration and Secret Santa gift ideas be sure to check out these Secret Santa Ideas. You can even set up a Secret Santa gift exchange without email on the drawnames Secret Santa App.
Secret Santa rules
The first step in a Secret Santa gift exchange is to invite participants, and then draw names. You can draw names from a hat, but it's much easier and more convenient to draw names online. After the names have been drawn, it is time to buy each other gifts. On drawnames.ie each participant can create their own wish list. This makes it easy to buy a gift for your giftee. Finally, the last step is to get together and exchange the gifts.
Ready to invite your group for a Secret Santa gift exchange?
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The best Christmas gifts
Christmas isn't complete without giving and receiving Christmas gifts. Whether you are hosting a Secret Santa gift exchange, or looking for Christmas gift ideas, you can find the best Christmas gifts in our popular Gift Finder.