The final, pre-Christmas build up is now upon us and we're reaching peak excitement levels! As part of our collaboration with the lovely folk at Arnotts, where you can shop for every single loved one under one roof, over the next 12 days we'll be catching up with some of Ireland's most familiar names, finding out what Christmas means for them and what they'll be wishing for. First up, the ever-inspiring Sinead Burke (who was also featured among the 40 under 40 Irish women in IMAGE's December issue) talks us through her most beloved time of year.
What is your earliest memory of Christmas?
I remember being about six years of age and creating a plan with my younger sister Natasha that we would stay up all night to catch a glimpse of Santa. We tried our best to keep each other awake by telling jokes, stories and shaking the other person if they started to yawn. We eventually fell asleep and woke up to muddy footprints trudging through the house. We just missed him.
Describe your perfect Christmas?
My perfect Christmas is being surrounded by family, decadent food, a litany of cheesy films, several board games and multi-coloured paper hats. It's about spending time with the ones you love most and being in the moment.
What do you like most about Christmas - the build up or the week itself?
I put a huge amount of thought into the gifts that I purchase. I love plotting how to spend my money, regardless of how small my budget is, and finding ways to treat the people who mean most to me. As much as I love the weeks before Christmas for those shopping excursions, nothing beats seeing smiles grip the faces of your family and friends when you've given them a gift that means something to them.
What are the essentials in the Burke household when it come to Christmas day dinner?
Turkey and ham are the core elements of the dinner plate, enveloped in buttery mash, crispy roast potatoes, fluffy stuffing, mouth-watering cabbage, crisp carrots, cauliflower cheese, florets of broccoli and a pile of green beans - all swimming in an ocean of rich gravy.
What does Christmas mean for you?
Christmas is a time when you can reflect on the moments that mattered most for you during the year. It provides an opportunity for you to recharge your batteries while surrounded by those who have your best interests at heart. It allows you to see your friends who have immigrated to distant shores and permits you to be yourself - in your cosiest and most ridiculous onesie.
What presents are you hoping to buy this year for your nearest and dearest this Christmas?
Without ruining any surprises, I'll be investing in some delicate jewellery for my sisters - perhaps even from an Irish designer, a scarf for my brother, some fragrance for my parents. I've ruined all of the surprises?
What's on your own wishlist, assuming you've been a very good girl??
I would love some beautiful stationery - a new diary for the year or a notebook to fill with to-do lists, goals and ambitions.
Browse the gallery above for Sinead's curated gift guide. For more shopping inspiration, head in-store or visit arnotts.ie online.