Winter break in Northern Ireland vs. Poland | Comparing Christmas, New Year's Day, Three Kings Day & more!! - BIG COLLAB with @martix_blog !!

Hiii!! Welcome back to my blog! Today's blogpost is a collab with my best friend Martyna, Marti for short!

This is one of the longest blogposts on my blog!! We both dedicated a lot of our time to write this blogpost, and we hope you love reading it! (:

Marti is a relatively new instablogger ( @martix_blog) who blogs about creativity, her hobbies, her art work, and everything that interests her. We both have a best friend's account, with Kasia and Marta too (@fotosynteziki)!


We decided to do a fun and interesting collab on the differences and similarities of winter break in Poland and in Northern Ireland!! 


In today's blogpost, me and Martyna will be sharing about how Christmas, New Year's Eve/Day, Kings Day and the Winter Holidays look like in Poland, and I will also be discussing how all those days were/still are celebrated back when I lived in Northern Ireland!


To say briefly, - Marti wrote about Poland, and I wrote about Northern Ireland! (:

Collab, teen blogger, teenage blog



Santa's Day

Note about it from Martyna

In Poland, Santa Claus Day is celebrated on December 6. Children write a letter to Santa Claus at least a week earlier. When the 6th of December comes, kids open their presents as soon as they wake up.

 To know more about Santa's Day, go check out my blogpost about Santa's Day in Poland!

A fragment from the blogpost:

We all know how on Christmas Day everyone gets presents, we sing carols, spend time with family and more, so we don't give kids all the attention. Whereas in Poland, it's different, Polish kids get their own day to receive presents, but here's the thing - on the 25th we get presents too! 😎

Yes, we get DOUBLE presents! Amazing, right? What's cool is the fact that we have our own Christmas Day, just for kids, and I love this day! I mean, every Polish kid loves it!


Countdown to Christmas

Northern Ireland

Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year (totally didn't use song reference here). In Northern Ireland, you immediately know it's the Christmas Season.  As soon as Halloween ends, the shops already start putting our Christmas decorations for sale. The time leading to Christmas starts in pretty early November, I'd say! 

Advent calendars in Northern Ireland are a MUST buy in the Christmas season! Whether they are chocolate ones, jewellery ones or even cheese ones! 

On every lamp post on the street we can see Christmas decor and Christmas lights which really give every person driving by the festive vibes!

In the classrooms at school, a lot of the classes had their own chocolate advent calendar, and every student had a chance to take one chocolate once. Each day, a pupil was chosen to take a chocolate from the advent calendar, and everyone got a chance to take one!


The shops are also putting us into the Christmas mood by putting on vintage Christmas songs and also, some modern Christmas music too!


Poland

While waiting for December 24, we open the Advent calendar every day, when we drive the car, Christmas songs are played, decorations are hung in shopping malls, most of their phones change the wallpaper to Christmas, you can see Christmas lamps on the street lamps or hanging between buildings.

In my school we also celebrate holidays, it looks like a few days before the holiday break begins, we do Secret Santa where we give each other gifts, but a few days earlier we draw the name and surname of the person to whom we will give the gift anonymously, then we sit in the group and say what we would like to get but we still do not know who drew us. 

During Christmas Eve we eat gingerbread, oranges, and we share the wafer and make wishes. At the end, we give each other gifts and find out who drew us. Sometimes some people who can play musical instruments play carols and the rest of the class sing along to them.

We always hang Christmas decorations in our class for Christmas. Usually, our teacher selects a few people at the beginning of the school year who will take care of the classroom decorations.

 And as soon as Christmas comes, these people create or buy ornaments and bring them to school and decorate the classroom with them, usually a small Christmas tree, window stickers, lights on the walls and a small chain hung on the cupboards. Sometimes, on the Christmas Eve we write greetings on the board for the teacher and sign them with the whole class.


Every year, the kindergarten usually organises performances during which children play a scene from the shed where Jesus was born. There are always decorations on the stage, i.e. Christmas trees, lights, a background on which there is a house in the forest with falling snow (I know that it does not match the scene from the nativity scene, but it is better such a background than nothing). Children always say their lines and sometimes dance later, and finally give their parents, grandparents or carers a gift made by them earlier in class.

Decorating

Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland does NOT go by the rule "less is more" - they decorate their house with all the Christmas decorations they can find, and they love decorating! Some people think they go too overboard with their Christmas decorations, but I personally think that you can never have too much for Christmas decor! 

They love Christmas lighted (is that even a word?!) decorations!! When you drive by, you can see plenty of light decorations in their gardens, like reindeer lights, lights on their trees, and even Christmas lights projectors! 

The shopping centres are filled with Christmas decor which I absolutely love!! It always gave me Christmas vibes when I was shopping for xmas presents!!


When it comes to decorating my school back in Northern Ireland, we students barely decorated our classes/schools, the school assistants did and the staff did. I felt like compared to Poland, it would be fun to have the kids join in on the Christmas decorating, like here in Poland! 

We had a school Christmas tree which was standing in the hallway at the entrance to my school, but it was never the students who were decorating it. I think it would be a lot better if we (the students) could also decorate it, as a whole team. It is a petty thing I am talking about, but it does matter to me, as decorating the Christmas tree in Poland is a lot more than just decorating...

 It's not just about the Christmas tree looking pretty, it's about the joy of decorating it and spending time with others whilst doing so. In Poland, the whole class decorates the classroom and the tree. It's a way the class spends their time together to get everyone into the Christmas spirit!


Poland

Around December 18-24 in Poland, home decorating and Christmas tree decorations begin. When we decorate the house, it is most often in (or on) it: lamps on the edges, roof, lamps on trees or bushes, a decoration on the front door, we hang decorations on windows in a Christmas theme. Sometimes we bake gingerbread cookies and then decorate them with icing and sprinkle with sprinkles. When we decorate the Christmas tree🌲 we decorate it with lights, baubles, gingerbreads, candy canes🍭 or candies🍬.





Christmas music

Northern Ireland 

The top 10 songs played during Christmas in Northern Ireland in my opinion are:


1. We wish you a merry Christmas

2. Wham - Last Christmas

3. Frank Sinatra - Jingle Bells

4. All I want for Christmas Is You - Mariah Carey

5. Rockin' around the Christmas tree

6. The Twelve Days of Christmas

7. Deck the Halls

8. Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer - Johnny Marks

9. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

10. Jingle Bell Rock

I love all of these Christmas songs! They are the perfect reminder of what an amazing time Christmas season is!!

Poland:

In Poland during Christmas, we sing Christmas carols, or songs about shepherds, kings who came to Jesus when he was born, about the birth of Jesus, Mary and her husband Józef. Here are the most popular Christmas carols:

-God is born

- Teeny Jesus

-Silent night

-When a pretty miss

- Sleep Jesus

-Today in Bethlehem

Apart from our religious songs we also like to listen and sing to popular Christmas modern songs.

December ~ January weather

Northern Ireland

The weather in Northern Ireland is various, but it's usually cold, with sometimes mild snow. When I lived there, I remember there were only about 3/4 years when it really snowed that year. 

Overall the weather there didn't make me feel like it's Christmas...

No wonder the song "let it snow" is so popular in N.I!!

I'm happy that in Poland it usually does snow when it's December/January! It is way more Xmas-y!!!

I think that snowy weather is a big part of the Christmas season, and without that, it's not that Christmassy, you know?!

Poland

In winter in Poland, the temperature in the daytime is quite low, usually from -10/10 degrees Celsius and at night, it drops to -10/5 degrees Celsius. It is usually frosty, for every Christmas there was snow in Poland. In addition to the snow, there is frost that covers the plants.




Christmas movies

Northern Ireland

I think we can all agree that the most popular Christmas movie ever made is Home Alone!! The same in N.I too!!

In Poland, it's also the case, Home Alone is a super popular movie during the Christmas season!! Random  fact no one asked for: in Poland, Home Alone is called "Kevin Home alone".

Poland

-Kevin home alone

-grincz

- a Christmas Eve story

-letters to M

- Polar Express

-Mikołaj and company

-Kevin alone in New York



Christmas Eve

Northern Ireland

Each year, I spent Christmas with my parents! Some years, my grandparents would fly to Northern Ireland from Poland, and we'd all spend Christmas together!

Christmas Eve was (and still is!) more special to me and my family than Christmas Day. As it's a Polish tradition, we'd open presents on Christmas Eve, and then the next day we'd gather together to spend time with each other chatting and eating leftovers from Christmas Eve!

Christmas Eve's supper is a rewarding meal after all the hard work from preparing and cleaning for Christmas. Christmas Day is when everyone would relax, talk and enjoy the day by watching movies (not necessarily Christmas ones sometimes!), listening to songs and just spending time together. 

In Northern Ireland, it's the opposite, they all open their presents on the 25th, not on the 24th. Christmas Day is much more special to them than Christmas Eve. They look forward to opening all their presents the next day, so many of the kids try to stay up at night in hope that they see "Santa" delivering the presents. I love that idea, because it's more believable! 😂

I think that Northern Ireland cared a lot about the presents, sometimes even forgetting what Christmas actually is about. Christmas is more than just presents!! 

Poland

When it is December 24 in Poland, it is the day of Christmas Eve, it is the most awaited day by everyone because it is the most festive and happy day of the year. Around 5 p.m. we sit down at the table and start eating, the table has borscht with dumplings with mushrooms and cabbage, carp, pea soup, fish soup, dumplings with cabbage and mushrooms, dried compote and challah with honey. After dinner, we gather under the Christmas tree and open the gifts. Usually, after opening the presents, we still sit with the whole family and talk or watch a movie. Then, on December 25.26, the family is usually invited to a joint lunch or coffee and cake.


Christmas Day in 2020

My (Pati's) Christmas

As I live in Poland now, I can't compare Northern Ireland's Christmas this year to Poland's ones, Marti's one, so me and Marti described both of our Christmas Days last month!


My Christmas Day was a pyjama day for me and my parents! We spent them 'alone', because of COVID-19, but not really because we called/texted many of our friends and family! During Christmas Eve, we visited my grandparents, my auntie & uncle and my cousins, but we stood a long distance apart! 


Christmas 2020 wasn't different to me in no way at all, because in Northern Ireland, we often spent our Christmas just us the three! (:


Marti's Christmas

My holidays passed quite calmly. I spent Christmas in the immediate circle of my family, I spent Christmas Eve with my parents and sister, and on Christmas we invited my grandmother, aunt, uncle and my little cousin. Preparations for Christmas were completely different, let me start with shopping: there were only Christmas items everywhere, but it was hard to find anything anyway, me and my mother in this Christmas grocery shopping focused only on gingerbread, ingredients for dough and ingredients for Christmas Eve. When it comes to shopping for clothes, we didn't buy anything, I'm surprised myself.

And we also spent New Year's Eve in the closest circle, because only with my cousin, my husband and my aunt, but in my opinion, the New Year's Eve was almost the same, maybe only that there were fewer people and empty roads, and for real when we were going to my cousin, maybe we only passed seven cars I am a bit disappointed with the annual winter break because we can't go anywhere!


Fireworks on New Year's

Northern Ireland + Poland (my comparison)


This year on New Year's Day, a lot of our neighbours launched fireworks from their backyards! It was such a colourful fireworks display, and it was filled with many different kinds of fireworks. In Belfast, my neighbours launched fireworks sometimes too,  but not as many as here in Poland.  

In Belfast, there was a time when people got frustrated because Belfast was the only capital city in the UK with no official fireworks on New Year's Day!! In fact, people got so annoyed at this, they even started to create and sign many petitions to change that!

 




One of them was called "Belfast has lost its spark, with the only city with no fireworks!". Many articles written about this, too! 




The Belfast Telegraph stated that 

"A petition has been created calling on Belfast City Council to bring back a New Year's fireworks display next year. Millions of revellers welcomed in the New Year with a bang in cities around the world last night, but in Belfast the celebrations were sedate. "

Since I haven't lived in Northern Ireland for 3 years now, I'm not sure whether they changed that or not! I think they did, because they couldn't put up with people complaining about that!


People weren't only thinking about themselves, they were thinking about tourists also! One person said on a petition, "This is the only country in the world which doesn't have fireworks in the capital or anywhere else... for tourists it's unbelievable and a lot of people who are coming to visit NI around this time it's a disappointing experience,".

I remember that during Halloween, there were firework displays, like in Newtownabbey in the V36 park. So Belfast didn't ban fireworks for environmental reasons...


New Year's Eve

Northern Ireland

In Poland, there is a myth that everything which happens on New Year's Eve, will happen all year round! It's an interesting myth, and in Northern Ireland, I never heard that a myth like that exists.  

On New Year's Eve, we'd do multiple things because of this myth so we can do them all year!! This year (2020/2021) I wrote and blogged a bit on New Year's Eve so I will be writing and blogging all year! I also called/texted some friends and family so I can spend time with them all year round! 


On New Year's Eve in Northern Ireland, me and my parents would usually spend it with ourselves and with my parents' friends, and I'd spend it with my friends. 

On that day we'd watch different New Year's musical concerts, shows and more on the Polish TV + Northern Irish TV too. In Poland the time is one hour later than in N.I, so when Poland had it's New Year's Day, we'd go and watch New Year's shows on the UK TV!


This New Year's Eve, I also watched firework displays in different countries on live streams on youtube, watched a movie with my parents and sent out New Year's wishes to the TV's number so it can be showed on TV!! In Polish TV, you can send wishes to your friends/family so it will be displayed at the top of the screen! It's so cool!!


Poland

On New Year's Eve in Poland, guests are invited, and we dance, listen to music, eat prepared salads or light snacks. and then at midnight we light fireworks or light sparklers and drink champagne.

In Poland, a concert is often organised on almost every TV channel. Usually it begins at around 7.00 pm to 2.00 am. Sometimes, but now less often, during the countdown to midnight at concerts, they played fireworks, but now they usually pour confetti so as not to scare the animals. But in front of houses or from balconies, people still shoot fireworks, but now fast because either because of animals or environmental reasons. 

New Year's Day


Northern Ireland

I usually spent this day back in N.I relaxing and eating pizza! But this year in Poland I spent it differently, I planned the year, set goals for the new year and made a vision board! I ate pizza and relaxed too hehe, but I did it in the late afternoon and not for the entire day! 


In N.I, I know that the Titanic Belfast museum is open during New Year's, and you can visit there hotel and celebrate New Year's there with music and luxury food! 


Apart from eating pizza and drinking coke, in Poland, a lot of kids drink piccolo on New Year's. It's a type of champagne but it's for kids - non alcoholic! The most popular kind of piccolo is the strawberry flavoured one, my personal fav!

At midnight in Poland, we light fireworks or light sparklers and drink champagne. It's just like Patrycja described above. :D


Three Kings Day

My (Pati's) explanation of three King's Day in Poland

This is a day that isn't celebrated in N.I at all! Most people probably don't even know a day like this exists haha!!

If you don't know, Kings Day (in Polish,"Trzech Króli,") is a holiday which is celebrated on the 6th of January each year. This day marks the end of the Christmas season, and honours Kaspar, Melchior and Balthazar, the three wise men. 

It's a day where we are off school! 

Winter Holiday's activities

Northern Ireland


Typical winter holiday's activities I did in N.I include:

  • meeting up with friends and family
  • calling long distance friends and family
  • winter shopping (especially after-winter sales!)
  • taking part in different events
  • visiting many places
& more!!

Poland

From January 4 to January 17 in Poland, we have the winter holidays, but it depends on what province you live in. Some kids have there winter holidays in as late as February!!


During the winter holidays, we usually:

  • go skiing, 
  • go ice skating with friends or family,
  • make snowmen/have snowball fights/play in the snow,
  • volunteer at different places,
  • spend time with our family & friends
  • bake,
  • learn/practice new hobbies,
  • & other activities


You've come to the end of the blogpost haha! I hope you all enjoyed reading this LOOONG post, me and Marti loved writing this!! 

Thank you to Marti for collaborating with me on this post! Make sure to check out her instagram page!

Marti's instagram blog - 
My instagram -
My podcast - 

Have a wonderful Winter holiday!! And, if your holiday has already come to an end, then have an amazing winter!! 





0 comments