If you really want to escape the commercialism and the nonstop caroling that have taken over Christmas here, do we have a plan for you! Go to Ireland. Seriously, book a get-away-from-it-all trip there now. 

It’s the one country on earth where the traditions of the holiday season are still marked with a little solemnity, and unlike most places you won’t find hordes of laden shoppers elbowing you off the curb on every street. 

The Irish celebrate Christmas like no other nation on earth. For them Christmas is all about family, friends, old flames and new ones. Here the pace of life actually slows down a little for the holidays and local people take their time to catch up and celebrate together (their good humor at this time of year is infectious). 

It’s also the perfect place for you and your loved ones to take stock of the year that’s passing and welcome in the new decade to come. To help you out here’s a few in-the-know suggestions to make booking a holiday break there a snap. 

In 2006, the total amount spent in Ireland to celebrate Christmas was €16 billion, which averages at approximately €4,000 for every single person in the country. Three years later the country’s been hit by a recession that may dampen their spending but not the fun. Christmas is still an annual blowout where the Irish seem to spend all their money on fashion, food and fun. 

For a great stay start by booking your airline tickets as soon as possible to avail of the best prices. This time of year the planes to Dublin and Shannon are usually full of Irish emigrants returning for the holidays, so your visit to Ireland may actually start at Check-In.

For competitive fares to Ireland click here 

 The biggest decision you’ll have to make when visiting Ireland in winter is whether to stay at a hotel or a smaller guest lodge. Either choice offers its own rewards: five star Irish hotels will pamper you from arrival to departure, but the smaller country houses and lodges also have their distinct charms, with roaring fires, friendly staff and a truly authentic Irish experience on hand. 

For a list of affordable and appealing Irish hotels click here 

And for a list of fine country guesthouses click here 

Irish hospitality is legendary. If you stay for New Year’s Eve you will see that the whiskey flows all night and guests from all over the world are welcome to join the locals for a round of parties that will send off the old year and welcome in the new one buoyed by lots of liquid cheer. 

New Year's Eve (Oiche Chinn Bliana in Irish) is the last day of the year in Ireland. Irish people mark the occasion by cleaning their homes, stocking up on supplies and holding parties. In the cities it’s a night of revelry and you can expect the bars, clubs and restaurants to take bookings in advance or you’ll end up paying extra. 

If you want romance and luxury, some of the city’s hotels host black tie balls. The Gala ball held at Jury’s Hotel Ballsbridge is held annually in one of Dublin most affluent neighborhoods, only a couple minutes by taxi from Grafton Street. Call ahead to reserve your place and remember that guests are treated to a delicious five-course meal and entertained by live bands, a DJ and dancing until 2:30 am. 

For details click here 

For a more sedate New Year’s party get tickets to the New Year’s Eve Gala Concert at the National Concert Hall Ticket holders are entertained with music and champagne in the foyer, beginning at 8:15. At 9:45, the main event begins with a feast of classical favorites. At midnight, the whole audience sings along while the orchestra plays “Auld Lang Syne.” 

For more details click here