Do you want to start celebrating Christmas like the Irish? Have you ever heard of an Irish Christmas cupboard and wondered what it is? An Irish Christmas cupboard, or ‘stór’ in Gaelic, is one of the most beautiful traditions of Ireland. According to folklorists and historians, this festive tradition can be traced back centuries when families would prepare their homes for the holiday season long before the holidays even started.
The Irish Christmas cupboard was usually in the kitchen or another part of the house where all the goodies and treats would be stored for the Christmas celebration. The cupboard could include Christmas cake, plum pudding, nuts, dried fruit, and many chocolate goodies. It is also a cupboard that would be well stocked with drinks for the Christmas celebration. The Irish Christmas cupboard was usually off-limits for everyone, especially the children.
Table of Contents
- The Irish Christmas Cupboard Explained
- Reasons For The Christmas Cupboard
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Related Questions
The Irish Christmas Cupboard Explained
The Irish Christmas Cupboard would usually be in the kitchen or any part of the house. The cupboard would get stocked up with all kinds of goodies, especially food and other items, during the months leading up to the Christmas celebration.
It was a place that was off-limits to the children. Goodies would be kept away from the children so they could enjoy the Christmas festivities. Many times the children and others would try to sneak their way into the Christmas cupboard to find a Christmas treat before Christmas began.
The Irish Christmas Cupboard was also in Britain and other places to describe a cupboard set aside just for Christmas and Christmas treats. Often this cupboard is called the ”Christmas Cupboard.” It is uncommon for people worldwide to have a place where they can store and keep things for Christmas.
Today, many families will have hiding places to put their Christmas gifts. Sometimes they will buy these gifts ahead of time as they find them on sale or for a good deal; other times, they will place the gifts in the cupboard or in another location to hide them from the children and others.
Other families may have a Christmas Cupboard for storing drinks for the Christmas celebration. All types of wine and alcohol will be purchased and stored ahead of time.
Reasons For The Christmas Cupboard
That could be many reasons why someone will have a Christmas cupboard. But traditional in a place like Ireland, low-income and even mid-income families would have started to make their Christmas preparations ahead of time.
The families would start collecting food items they could easily store to help them defray the costs of Christmas while still having all the special Christmas goodies for the holiday season.
They would store ingredients for the Christmas cake and plum pudding, such as dried raisins, sultanas, currants, nuts, mixed fruit peels, cherries, and nuts. This would allow them to purchase these items over time and keep them in a cupboard, so they have them ready to use for the Christmas holiday.
It also helped the families ensure they had these ingredients to make their special Christmas and other cakes when needed. And, of course, the Christma cupboard would also be filled with other goodies such as chocolate, nuts, and dried fruit. You may even find some unique Christmas cheeses in the cupboard.
Also, you will find in the kitchen cupboard some alcoholic drinks that will be ready to be served for the Christmas celebration. Along with this will be some of the traditional Christmas cake and Plum Pudding.
The Christmas Cake – Made Well In Advance And Placed In The Cupboard
The Christmas cake is an example that would be made well in advance and then placed in the Christmas cupboard to mature.
The Christmas cake is usually baked 2 or 3 months ahead of time, so that cake has plenty of time to mature. The Christmas cake is wrapped and placed in the cupboard as it needs proper time to mature. Today it is recommended that you only leave the cake outside the fridge for a month so it will not go bad.
The Christmas cake requires that you do not allow it to sit until Christmas, but the cake needs some tender loving care as you need to drizzle some cherry, rum, or brandy onto it every two weeks or at regular intervals.
Plum Pudding – A Christmas Treat Put In Christmas Cupboard
The English Plum Pudding is also something called Christmas Pudding, Christmas Desert, or as in the song, the ”We Wish You A Merry Christmas” Figgy Pudding.
The Plum Pudding is also a traditional Christmas dessert that would have been made ahead of time, placed in a cupboard, or stored until Christmas. The traditional Plum pudding is made six weeks before Christmas.
Some people even make the Plum puddings months or a year in advance; how long you make it depends on if you like your pudding to be well-aged.
Like the Christmas cake, the Christmas Plum pudding is also drizzled with alcohol the weeks or months before Christmas. When it is time for the pudding to be served for the Christmas meal, the plum pudding is doused with brandy and set alight right before serving.
The Christmas cake, the plum pudding, and all the other goodies would require some place to store them for the Christmas celebration. That is why there is the Irish Christmas cupboard or just a Christmas cupboard; it was a place to store things for the Christmas celebration.
At A Bus On A Dusty Road, we talk about travel, life, and ex-pat living. We are all about “Living Life As A Global Citizen.” We explore social, cultural, and economic issues and travel.
We would love to have you be part of our community. Sign up for our newsletter to keep up-to-date by clicking here. If you have any questions, you can contact me, Anita, by clicking here.
Listen to our Podcast called Dusty Roads. You can find it on all major podcast platforms. Try out listening to one of our podcasts by clicking here.
Subscribe to our A Bus On A Dusty Road YouTube Channel with great videos and information by clicking here.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Christmas cupboard?
A Christmas cupboard is a pantry or cupboard that is stocked with food and treats for the Christmas season
What is the tradition of the Christmas cupboard?
The tradition of the Christmas cupboard is believed to have originated in Ireland and involves stocking up on food and treats in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
What kinds of food and treats are typically found in a Christmas cupboard?
A Christmas cupboard might contain items such as mince pies, Christmas puddings, fruitcake, chocolates, and other holiday treats.
Is the Christmas cupboard tradition still popular in Ireland today
Yes, the Christmas cupboard tradition is still popular in Ireland today, with many families continuing to stock up on food and treats in preparation for Christmas
Is there any specific way to organize a Christmas cupboard in Ireland?
There is no specific way to organize a Christmas cupboard in Ireland, but it is common to keep the items stocked neatly and to add new items as they become available.
How does the Christmas cupboard tradition reflect Irish culture and traditions?
The Christmas cupboard tradition reflects the importance of hospitality and generosity in Irish culture, as well as the emphasis on family and community during the holiday season.
Are there any superstitions or beliefs associated with the Christmas cupboard in Ireland?
Some people in Ireland believe that the Christmas cupboard should be left unlocked on Christmas Eve to allow good luck to enter the home.
Lapland Or Sapmi – In Norway, Sweden, Finland, And Russia
The Sami are indigenous people who live in northern parts of Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia, known as Lapland or Sapmi. Most Sami people live in Norway and Sweden, some in Northern Finland, and a few in Russia.
To learn more, you can read our blog on Lapland Or Sapmi – In Norway, Sweden, Finland, And Russia by clicking here.
Loneliness, Old Age, And Sickness in the Villages of Vietnam
As we visited with these Vietnamese women, I began to realize that no matter how many times in my life I have felt loneliness, sickness, or even the creeping up of old age, I have never felt as lonely, sad, or alone as many of these women in that village felt. These women are truly alone, since like in many countries, Vietnam does not have a real safety net for older people.
By clicking here, you can discover Loneliness, Old Age, And Sickness in the Villages of Vietnam.
Norway, Denmark, And Sweden Celebrate Christmas On December 24th.
Norway, Denmark, and Sweden celebrate Christmas on December 24th because Christmas day was permanently reserved as a holy day. The Scandinavians also celebrate on the eve of a holy day and not on the holy day itself. Many Scandinavians would attend a church service mass on Christmas morning.
By clicking here, you can discover more by reading our blog Norway, Denmark, And Sweden Celebrate Christmas On December 24th.