Christmas in Ireland: Christmas Preparations
Women bake the Christmas cake as early as October or November. This rich caramel cake, studded with dried fruits and nuts and fortified with brandy, mellows and improves as it ages. Most people living in Ireland are Roman Catholics, and many observe special devotions during Advent, a four-week period of spiritual preparation before Christmas. In addition, many people give their homes a thorough cleaning and write their Christmas cards in the weeks before Christmas. As Christmas Day draws near, people begin shopping for food and gifts. Nowadays this may include buying a Christmas tree, an imported Christmas custom which became popular in recent years. The Irish also preserve the more traditional Nativity scene. Many families set up their Nativity scene a few days before Christmas.