To the rescue
LAST-MINUTE CHRISTMAS:Meet the people who believe in the spirit of Christmas and would go to the ends of the Earth - well, probably Ireland - to make Christmas happen for you, writes ALANNA GALLAGHER
The Christmas countdown is in full swing and if you still have everything to do then relax, exhale and read on. Don’t fret if your house is filthy with cobwebs that would make Miss Havisham blush. Help is at hand. If there isn’t a carrot stick in the fridge, let alone a turkey, and all the trimmings and the booze cupboard is doing Old Mother Hubbard impressions, breathe easy, it is all going to be okay. Meet the people who believe in the spirit of Christmas and will go to the ends of Ireland, to make Christmas happen.
Last-minute shoppers take heart. Gifts Direct has instant vouchers that you can access even on Christmas morning if you get that sinking feeling that you’ve forgotten a someone or find yourself landed with extra guests you hadn’t planned for present-wise. Choose from 100 types of experiences including flying lessons, surfing sessions in Bundoran and spa vouchers. “We will email you the voucher, explains Lulu O’Sullivan, chief executive of Gifts Direct. “All you have to do is print it off and put it in an envelope.”
Most of the other gifts have to be ordered by December 22nd to make delivery on Christmas Eve. The company does a strong line in tastes of home hampers that families send to loved ones who have emigrated and who won’t be back for Christmas. Six packs of Tayto crisps, Barry’s tea and Cadbury chocolate are some of the most popular items. Hampers must be ordered by December 22nd. Giftsdirect.com. Tel: 01-8611 580
Once a year
Christmas wouldn’t be complete without a festive fire and a clean sweep for Santa to make his grand entrance.
“Santa’s going to get extremely dirty this year,” laments Patrick Cowan, president of the Chimney Sweeps Association of Ireland (CSAI), “because people are putting off cleaning the chimney”.
This thinking is skewed, he says. “People are long-fingering cleaning their chimney in favour of spending the money on decorations and other more visible outlays. Your chimney should be cleaned once a year, he counsels.
“A standard-sized chimney costs €60 from a certified member of the CSAI. Patrick and his team will be working up until 6pm on Christmas Eve and can service chimneys from Wicklow town to Dublin city centre using rotating brushes to help give a more thorough clean. This festive season some of his most critical inspectors will be his two grandchildren, Hayden (5) and Emily (3), who insist that Santa’s present portal is pristine. Tel 087-2574267 Chimneysolutions.ie.
Need a Christmas tree nifty? Brian McDermott and Dan O’Connor of Trees on Wheels will come to your (Dublin) house with a selection of trees to choose from up until the end of day on December 22nd.
Prices start at €60 and include delivery, collection and a donation of €5 from each purchase to the Lara Lynn Foundation. If you’re still treeless on the 23rd you can go to their depot on the canal, opposite the Barge Pub, and pick one up.
For those without trees on the 24th they recommend Ritchie O’Connell, who operates out of the front of the Rathfarnham Shopping Centre (in front of Tesco). He will deliver to anywhere on Dublin’s southside up to six o’clock on Christmas Eve and will also consider journeying to the northside. “It may not be specifically what you want,” Ritchie says, “but we won’t see people stuck.” Trees On Wheels will also collect your tree from you, whether or not you ordered it from them. This service costs €10 and is available from December 26th onwards. treesonwheels.ietel: 01-497 9337