Forget posing in front of the tree in matching festive jumpers. This year, the must-have Instagram shot of the season is all about the Christmas Eve box. Brimming with festive delights for all the family to enjoy the night before Christmas, it’s a great way to get the whole family together and begin the festivities.
Pay a visit to Belfast’s many independent retailers and pick up some locally-produced treats for an authentic Christmas Eve experience. From indulgent treats on which to feast, to cosy homeware for snuggling up on the sofa with your favourite festive movie, Belfast has Christmas Eve all boxed up!
Nothing makes a Christmas Eve night in cosier than the flickering of a candle filling the room with the scent of Christmas. Put some spark into your night with Born & Bred’s Christmas at Home candle with scents of fir, red berries and cinnamon. If the kids are too excited to sleep, soothe them with Avoca’s Deep Sleep Heavenly Candle, enriched with pure essential oils of Lavender and Camomile.
Born & Bred, 60-62 Ann Street, Belfast BT1 4EG – wearebornandbred.com
Avoca, 41 Arthur Street, Belfast BT1 4GB – Avoca.com
Get the family together and wrap up warm with a cosy new blanket from one of Belfast’s best craft shops. The Wickerman stocks a wide range of beautiful Donegal Yarn blankets available in a host of vibrant colours, as well as 100% pure wool knitted blankets. Keep the tootsies warm too with their range of cosy socks – from Connemara stripes and heathers to luxurious pure wool country socks, you’ll be toasty warm.
The Wickerman, 18 High Street, Belfast BT1 2BD – thewickerman.co.uk
Sweet Treats for all the Family
Young and old have been visiting Belfast’s Old Time Favourites sweet shop on Winetavern Street for over 100 years to get their favourite quarter of sweets. Enjoy a trip down memory lane with your favourite sweets from yesteryear – from cola cubes to brandy balls, sherbet lemons and liquorice, ‘The Wee Sweet Shop’ has it all. Or why not enjoy its specially crafted Christmas sweet range? Nibble on a Christmas Treat Bag complete with fizzy drink and straw, bar of chocolate and 200g mix-up sweets, or if you’re feeling greedy, opt for the Christmas Mega American Candy Tub, brimming with a selection of sweets, chews, bars and chocolate from the USA. Available for online click-and-collect orders only via the website, this will make the perfect sweet addition to your Christmas Eve box!
Old Time Favourites, 23 Winetavern Street, Belfast BT1 1JQ – www.otfsweets.co.uk
Indulge Yourself at Co Couture
Christmas is a time for indulgence and only the finest chocolates will do. Take a trip down the steps of the quaintest chocolate shop in the city where luxurious chocolates are safely made in small batches using only the finest raw ingredients to ensure the ultimate taste sensation. Pick up one of the shop’s infamous Festive Hot Chocolates and, while you are there, and devour its decadent sweet-tasting cannoli (available in a range of flavours). Since it’s Christmas, why not pick up some Irish Whiskey Truffles, awarded 3 Gold stars in the Guild of Fine Food’s Great Taste Awards. A feast for all the senses, this will be a real showstopping addition to your box.
Co Couture, 7 Chichester Street, Belfast BT1 4JA – www.cocouture.co.uk
Cheesy Does It!
If you’re more of a savoury than sweet person then Mike’s Fancy Cheese has you covered. Choose from a huge selection of locally-produced cheeses or have Mike himself pick you out your own customised board. Don’t miss out on their famous Young Buck blue cheese – famed the world over for its raw milk ‘stilton style’ and aged for a minimum of 12 weeks. It’s perfect served with some of the store’s Quince Paste or Irish Black Butter.
Mike’s Fancy Cheese, 41 Little Donegall Street, Belfast BT1 2JD – www.mfcheese.com
Put on a Spread
If a cheeseboard isn’t enough to satisfy your cravings, then a trip to Sawers is an absolute must. One of Belfast’s oldest stores, Sawers is a treasure trove of culinary delights and, as the saying goes, if you can’t get it here, you can’t get it anywhere. Peruse the infamous deli counter, packed with the most decadent cuts of charcuterie and stock up on an endless amount of preserves, chutneys and jams. Add a touch of class to the occasion and pop in some caviar for an indulgent Christmas Eve feast.
Sawers, 5 College Street, Belfast BT1 1HF – www.sawersbelfast.com
Time to Sparkle
For a celebration that really sparkles, head to Direct Wine Shipments, Belfast’s oldest independent wine merchant dating back to 1954. The McAlinden family will happily put together a package suited to your tastes and pick out that special bottle to accompany Christmas Day dinner too. With bespoke festive packages available, including a ‘Sparkling Christmas Six’ set, Direct Wine Shipments will take your taste buds on a journey around the world from the comfort and safety of your own home – ‘tis the season to be jolly after all!
Direct Wine Shipments, 5-7 Corporation Square, Belfast BT1 3AJ – www.directwineshipments.com
For the Tea-totallers
If a hot beverage is your usual tipple, check out Born & Bred’s range of great mugs. Available in a range of styles, you’ll have the craic with all the local banter – “Awk hiya love”, “Alright big lad” and “A wee cuppa tea”, or pop along to Wrapped Up in CastleCourt Shopping Centre for a taste of their Belfast bone china mugs all made at their Townsend Street studio. Tantalise your taste buds with a range of flavours from Suki Tea, based in St George’s Market on weekends, or coffee afficionados can get their hit with the new Colombia Tangara beans, a blend of chocolate, dried cranberry and clementine, from Established Coffee.
Wrapped Up, CastleCourt Shopping Centre, Belfast BT1 1DJ – www.wehaveitwrappedup.com
Established Coffee, 54 Hill Street, Belfast BT1 2LB – established.coffee.
Don’t forget Rudolph!
No Christmas Eve box is complete without a treat for the big man himself and his famous sidekick, Rudolph. Pop into Jackson’s Greengrocers on Bridge Street for carrots for the reindeer and really impress Father Christmas with some indulgent donuts from Taboo or Oh! Donuts to keep his energy levels up!
Taboo Donuts, 64 Ann Street, Belfast BT1 4EH – taboodonuts.com
Oh! Donuts, 55 Upper Arthur Street, Belfast BT1 4HG – ohdonuts.co.uk
Getting here couldn’t be quicker, easier or more convenient…
Ditch the car at the many park-and-ride facilities on the city’s outskirts and enjoy the convenience of hopping on a Translink train or bus straight into town. But, don’t forget to wear a face covering at all times when using public transport. However you choose to travel, make it safe and stress-free and enjoy a day in Belfast.
Belfast is ready to safely welcome you back this festive season. When visiting the city, please ensure you practice social distancing and adhere to all signage and safety procedures. Remember to wear a face covering indoors and keep washing your hands. Christmas in Belfast is special, let’s enjoy it safely together.
For more information visit www.visitbelfast.com.