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Laura LaRose
ask the elves

What's the favourite Christmas decoration in your house? 8 people around Ireland share theirs

Old or new? Handmade or shop-bought? We asked people to share their most loved decorations.

FROM HAND-ME-down treasures to home-made gems, every house has a much-loved decoration that it simply wouldn’t be Christmas without.

Every week in our Ask The Elves series, we’re putting different Yule-themed questions to people around Ireland. From debating the best Christmas flicks to finding out about the most successful Santa deliveries, we want to know the secrets behind the merriest day of the year.

This week we’re asking: What’s your favourite Christmas decoration?

From family heirlooms to new traditions, you had a lot to share.

Made by tiny hands: It’s just a little cardboard star, dipped in blue glitter, barely noticeable among some of the more conspicuous baubles on the Christmas tree. The star was brought home from crèche by my son James when he was little more than a toddler. It has hung on our tree every year since, a quiet reminder of how a child reintroduces the magic of Christmas into a home.

- Jonny McCambridge

The star made by Jonny McCambridge's son James Jonny McCambridge Jonny McCambridge

The old ones are the best: I can remember the red Santa boots hanging by our blazing fire throughout my childhood. They came with me when I got married and came out year after year in each new home. They’re made of hard plastic with white furry trim and have gotten very dishevelled over the years (being attacked by more than one puppy hasn’t helped!) but superglue has always saved the day. The years disappear into one once Santa’s boots are by the fire and it wouldn’t be Christmas without them.

- Joy McCann

Better than a manger: My favourite Christmas decoration is part of our Nativity scene. It’s a statue of a mother holding her baby. She’s the first decoration I put up and the last one I take down. The Christmas story, and the Christmas message really, starts and begins with her. A young girl who finds herself unexpectedly pregnant and who gives birth away from her women folk in a strange place after a long journey.

One reason I like it is because she’s like many people I support in pregnancy (I’m a doula) but the main reason I love this decoration is she is HOLDING her baby in her arms and looking at him. He’s not in a manger or anywhere else. I’m 100pc convinced Mary would have held her newborn son close to her, breastfed him and tucked him close to her and I’m sure the innkeeper’s wife would have brought her the Bethlehem version of tea and toast!

- Krysia Lynch

The ones that got away: Right up until I finished college, my parents kept the same old Christmas decorations they’d had since I was a child. Mismatched tinsel, decorations made out of marmalade lids at school, fancy gift tags and the lights with their mismatched and chipped plastic covers that last looked classy in 1986. It was all topped off with a blue and gold tinsel star that I’m sure didn’t even look classy in 1986. It adorned our trees from real ones in the 80s to the first fake one about 1990 and survived right up to 2005.

I’m not sure what happened to it when we finally bought new decorations, my mother probably snuck it into the bin without me realising. If I had it, I’d still be using it, I can’t hope to get anything half as tacky and well-loved today.

- Aisling Spain

From another time: I was in Yogyakarta in Indonesia during my backpacking years when I found a fabulous gift shop selling local Indonesian wares. To my delight, I found cloth fish decorations and could imagine them hanging on my Christmas tree someday when I had my own home (something that seemed a long way off back then).

The first time they hung from my own tree, alongside wooden decorations I’d inherited from my aunt, they brought back so many memories of that trip and a sense of pride at how I now had my own home and a jolly tree to hang them own. They are carefully wrapped and put away each year – along with wistful memories of my carefree youth!

- Lucy Tennant

Christmas in summer: I have a little angel that I bought in San Francisco in 1978. It was in the middle of summer but there was a Christmas shop – the first Christmas shop I’d ever been in – and I remember thinking it was amazing being able to buy Christmas decorations in July! That little tubby angel comes out every year and reminds me of that trip.

- Hilary Russell

Bought together: My favourite decoration to put on our tree each year is the first one I bought with my wife Arlene. It’s an old style glass decoration which we bought at the Rockefeller Center. It brings back so many good memories of a special trip away together.

- Steven Crawford

Victoria O'Hara's partner Graham with daughter Cassie, helping decorate her first Christmas tree

Old star, new memory: This year my favourite decoration is the silver star on our tree. I became a mummy for the first time this year – something I thought might never happen. It wasn’t an expensive star, but it’s given me a lasting memory of our first Christmas with our daughter Cassie. Watching her, helped by her daddy, put the star on the tree will be a memory I’ll never forget. 

- Victoria O’Hara

Want to win a festive food and wine hamper worth €100? Enter this week’s Aldi Christmas Magazine competition right here.

More: 9 people around Ireland share their favourite Christmas traditions>

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