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Column: We need to talk about 'The 12 Pubs'

The ‘12 pubs of Christmas’ silly season has effectively turned the whole Christmas season into one giant stag party, writes Mick McCarthy.

Mick McCarthy

WE’RE NOW WELL into the ‘12 Pubs of Christmas’ silly season and it seems people are finally starting to get vocal about their feelings towards it – which is no surprise. What once started out as a fairly harmless and inconsequential tradition between some groups of friends has now become something much more mainstream and faddish. It has become so commercialised in recent years that now it’s seen as ‘the norm’, much like dressing up at Halloween.

In the last few years it’s been massively fuelled by the emergence of pop-up shops peddling those ridiculous Christmas jumpers with flashing lights, bells and the like. Larger retailers have subsequently got in on the act seeing the juicy profits that can be made. We are at saturation point. This can’t go on.

It was quite funny – at first

Years ago when some ‘pioneers’ (used in the loose sense of the word) started wearing these quirky jumpers I have to admit that I found them quite funny – and it was, for a while. It was something new with a high novelty factor, but now it’s been so beaten to death it’s starting to make me feel nauseous. What this fad has effectively done is to turn the whole Christmas season into one giant stag party. They mill around the city centre totally pissed, leery, barking rules and generally just annoying everyone else who isn’t on their wavelength.

It’s almost impossible to have a quiet pint now over the Christmas period without groups of boisterous and inebriated lads and girls coming in and taking the place over, knocking into everyone, spilling their drinks, shouting at each other and exiting promptly only to be replacing by another even larger and more annoying group doing exactly the same.

I feel a growing sense of resentment and distaste towards it from a public who are getting fed up with the whole thing. I also saw some publicans are threatening to ban it from their premises. I hope more follow suit. Or better still have pubs that promote it and welcome it so the rest of us know to steer clear. A simple sign in the window ’12 pubs friendly’ would go a long way to clearing things up; they have their fun, the rest are left in peace.

It’s just downright annoying

Yes, Christmas is about meeting up with friends, having a few drinks, having good banter and maybe even getting drunk – but do we really need it to become this commercialised, clichéd, yobbish type event which is just downright annoying for all those not involved? It starts earlier and earlier every year. We have to endure almost four weekends of it now in the run up to Christmas. It’s tiring. It’s also dangerous given the amount of pint glasses that end up in the street and the amount of extra people it adds to already jam-packed pubs.

I’m not a very prudish person despite what I say but I really feel this ‘12 Pubs of Christmas’ lark has gone too far. It’s cheapened the whole Christmas atmosphere that the rest of us hold dear and look forward to every year. It’s really lowest common denominator kinda stuff – there, I said it. What do you think?

We’re interested in your ideas and opinions – do you have a story you would like to see featured in Opinion & Insight? Email opinions@thejournal.ie

Read: 12 pubs of Christmas feeds into Ireland’s problem with alcohol, says charity

Read: 12 people who were defeated by the 12 pubs of Christmas

About the author:

Mick McCarthy

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