Preparing for Christmas 2020

It’s fantastic to see the shops, cafes and restaurant reopening and restrictions easing but if facing the inevitable long queues and huge crowds don’t seem appealing then fret not,  we have put together your online shopping guide.  If the pandemic has had one positive effect, it’s that it’s taught us how easy it is to source all we need from the comfort of our homes.  So perhaps this Christmas, if you haven’t already embraced online shopping, you might give it a go. That said, not all of us are accustomed to online ordering, so fear not – here, we share our simple it is to find all you need this Christmas with just a click or a tap…

The Right Tree

If you haven’t tried it before, this may finally be the year you order your real tree online to be delivered to your door, saving you the trek to the local garden centre and the hassle of Hoovering out your car. Kelleher’s Christmas Tree Farm in Kildare delivers on weekdays only to Kildare, South Dublin and West Wicklow and you can even organise for them to collect and recycle your tree in early January (again, saving you the Hoovering). Rathwood delivers their renowned freshly cut Wicklow Mountain firs nationwide within two to three days of ordering. The soft, non-shed nature of their trees’ needles mean less mess, a fuller tree for longer, and improved safety for small children and pets. Meanwhile, Fir not only delivers real trees to Dublin addresses, but they’ll bring a few trees based on your size preference for you to select from and will attach your stand and erect your tree wherever you want it in your home. And for an additional fee, they’ll come back and remove and recycle your old tree. If you’re looking to invest in an artificial tree this year (FYI, fake trees are not necessarily more eco-friendly; yes, they’re reusable year on year, but as the materials they’re made from never biodegrade, they actually increase your carbon footprint, so it is important to weight up the pros and cons of having an artificial tree – for some, especially those living on their own, it is the easier option when it comes to putting up and taking down the tree each year), Rathwood, Arnotts, The Orchard, MCD’s, Christmasland.ie, and IrishChristmasTrees.com all offer a great selection and deliver nationwide.

All you need for your Christmas Feast

It may feel slightly odd ordering your Christmas turkey and ham online, but in reality, with proper planning, it’s no different than popping into your local butcher (all that said, if you have a good relationship with your local butcher, we suggest first and foremost contacting them by phone, email or online to place your usual order – they’ll need your support now more than ever!), but if you normally pick up your meat in the supermarket, we suggest you scope out the offerings from these handy suppliers, who are all offering special Christmas meat packages (delivery options vary, but many deliver to Dublin and Leinster and some deliver nationwide on certain days ahead of Christmas; our advice is to check each and plan well ahead, getting your order in nice and early to beat the rush): Dublin Meat Co, Hogans Farm, Elmgrove Farm, Kerrigans, and Garrett’s.

Need to stock up on milk and cheese? You can adjust your usual order with MyMilkMan.ie to include everyone’s favourite festive dairy products, plus other necessities like eggs. For healthy and delicious sides pre-portioned and delivered, ready for you to cook to your liking with the help of their recipe cards, DropChef is another handy supplier, with organic winter veg and potatoes, Brussels sprouts, stuffing, gravy and organic Irish smoked salmon all on the menu. When it comes to smoked salmon, you cannot go wrong with the Burren Smokehouse – all their products are superb and this year they’ve collaborated with other Burren Food Trail members in response to the adverse effect on product sales and food tourism in the region as a result of the pandemic to create a range of Burren Baskets, which feature cheeses, chutneys and other delicacies. Check out the full range at burrensmokehouse.com. Meanwhile, The Scullery has a fantastic range that includes cranberry sauce, chutneys, relishes, a ham glaze, brandy butter and a handmade Christmas pudding. For all your cheeseboard needs, try Sheridans Cheesemongers, Cashel Blue, Corleggy Cheeses, Hannah’s Kitchen, and The Real Olive Co. And don’t forget the coffee – you’ll need that on Christmas morning if you’ve little ones in the house excited to see what Santa left them: try ethical brand Moyee Coffee and The Old Barracks.

The Finishing Touches

Need to refresh your festive decorations? Craft Shapes Ireland has a range of lovely and personalised Christmas treats, including stockings, baubles and wreaths. Another great spot for personalised ornaments and decorations is The Ornament Shop. For lovely general hanging decorations, wreaths, garlands, lights and tree toppers, try The Orchard, while Kilkenny has a beautiful range of ornaments. And don’t forget the crackers for the table – try Dunnes Stores and Arnotts for a wide range, or better yet, opt for more eco-friendly reusable or plastic-free ones – try online sustainable retailers Reuzi and Jiminy, who both also sell sustainable wrapping paper, cards and other festive treats.

 

The perfect gift for everyone on your list

The key this year is local. If you can, buy your Christmas gifts from local suppliers this year. Ireland is a treasure trove of amazing products, whether it’s clothing, homeware, art, toys, stationery… whatever it is you’re after, really. And if the person you’re shopping for is in desperate need of a night out or short break away, or even just a small treat, a voucher to their favourite restaurant, café, hotel, guest house, spa, hairdressers, beauty or nail salon might be just the ticket, and would go a long way towards supporting Irish businesses that were hit especially hard this year by the lockdown. Ireland’s Blue Book is a great place to start if you’re not exactly sure where they’d like to go, while The Westbury in Dublin is a lovely option, as it can go towards a stay, meal, drinks or afternoon tea (and vouchers purchased before the end of November receive a 10% discount).

The list of Irish brands and creative businesses you can choose from is too long to cover adequately here, but here are just a few key suppliers we think you’ll find something pretty special from: One Time Before allows you to create a personalised storybook for your child, incorporating your own childhood stories to help them understand what life was like when you were little – a sure keepsake they’ll treasure forever that will bring you endless nights of bonding in the nearer future. Stable of Ireland creates beautiful cashmere and wool scarves for both men and women, plus accessories and stunning throws and blankets – a wonderful place to start for everyone on your list. Scout is another one-stop-shop for beautiful woollen and cashmere scarves and accessories, plus a gorgeous range of natural soaps, shampoos, candles and other self-care essentials that will feel like a real treat to the recipient; and their kids’ range of jumpers, scarves and hats are unbelievably adorable. We know little ones will have sent their well-thought-out lists to Santa, so it’s likely you’ll be ordering from Smyths and the like, but if you’re looking for something different, check out Jiminy for eco-friendly toys, and Lucy & Me for gorgeous playroom furniture and wooden dollhouses.

For beauty, check out Irish brands Skingredients by The Skin Nerd, Voya, Nunaïa, Modern Botany, The Burren Perfumery, The Handmade Soap Company, and Pestle & Mortar. For lovely items for the home with that personal touch, check out Jam Art Prints, Slated, Arran Street East, Article, Designist, Kilkenny, and Irish Design Shop. Ireland is home to a lot of great candlemakers, so if you’re looking to give the gift of home fragrance, there’s no reason to opt for the global brands; try Brooke & Shoals, Max Benjamin, FieldDay, Cloon Keen, and new natural, sustainable brand Put Your Feet Up, which was established in the midst of the pandemic. And don’t forget the books – avoid the likes of Amazon and support local bookshops (many in your own area will do click and collect or online orders and post out your items for delivery; they’re also wonderful sources of intel as to the best books for the person you’re shopping for… bookshop owners actually read and can offer you an informed recommendation!). Here are just a few we’d recommend, but again, check your neighbourhood: Dubray Books offers a free gift consultation service to help you shop for someone special; call 01 211 7090 (9am-6pm daily), email consult@dubraybooks.ie or schedule an appointment online at dubraybooks.ie/dubray-gift-consultant. And these independent bookshops are well regarded for their knowledge and personal, attentive service: The Gutter Bookshop in Dublin City and Dalkey, Kennys in Galway, and Scéil Eile Books in Ennis, Co Clare.

 

From all of us at Unislim, have a safe and happy Christmas.

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