There were shoppers aplenty in a festive spirit at Brown Thomas on Thursday as the Grafton Street, Dublin store opened its Christmas Shop, a full 131 days from the big event.
Among them were Paddy and Monica Cullen from Dublin visit every year on opening day. "We're Christmas junkies!," Monica laughs.
Geraldine McQueen, visiting from Drogheda with her daughter and granddaughter adds, "We just love Christmas. We used to go to Harrods in London but this is just as good."
One shopper passing through the section was less impressed. “It’s awful. They’ve forgotten what Christmas is all about.”
The department store launched its Christmas collection in Dublin, Limerick and Cork, with shoppers filling their stockings from day one.
Rachel Morgans, the buying director at Brown Thomas, explains that the annual August opening caters for modern shoppers.
“It’s important to make our customers’ lives as easy as possible. It’s about giving them the opportunity to come in and take their time, and allowing tourists to bring something special back home.”
The selection is exhaustive, with traditional baubles and Christmas lights competing with glittering polar bears and unicorns for shoppers’ attention.
Ms Morgans’s inspiration stems from regular trips to New York, London and other Christmas displays across the globe. Her collection combines garish, classic items and more tasteful, metallic colour schemes.
“We like to be traditional – there are customers for that – but we’re always adding newness, inspired by fashion trends,” she explains.
Ms Morgans has also attempted to improve the sustainability of the Brown Thomas collection this year but she admits that work needs to be done.
“It’s hard to do Christmas without glitter – you want that sparkle! But our lights are LED based, we’re using more recycled plastics and wood is sourced sustainably.”
However, Ms Morgans, who is celebrating her first Christmas at Brown Thomas, was delighted with the result: “It’s putting me in the festive spirit. I think it looks fabulous.”
The Christmas shop will expand in the months ahead as Irish and international shoppers prepare for the festive season.