This year, we are encouraging shoppers to support local businesses when searching for the perfect Christmas present.

As well as shopping for Irish products in Irish retailers, be sure to think outside the box and support some of your local vendors and venues - especially those who may not be able to open just yet.

You could support your favourite restaurants and salons by buying vouchers, book a stay at an Irish hotel for the summer of 2021, adopt an animal from Dublin Zoo in your little one's name, or plan ahead with some experiential gifts.

NB: It's important to keep in mind that all businesses will be subject to government guidelines, and some of these experiences may have to adapt and change in various ways.

1. The gift of a giggle
Give the gift of laughter this Christmas by organising a night of side-spitting fun for you and your friends, family, or co-workers. Simply pick a time that suits, get the drinks and snacks in, and get ready for a night of Covid-compliant Irish comedy.

Your night of stand-up can be customised to you and your team, with up to 12 comics on offer and a show that can adapt to audiences of all sizes. For more info, e-mail holly@laughterlounge.com.

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2. A virtual trip to Augusta
Do you have a golf-lover in your life? Why not give them the gift of indoor golfing this winter? K Golf World is a suite of state of the art golf simulators located at The K Club, Co. Kildare.

Available to up to four players at a time, each simulator will allow players to experience some of the best courses in the world and improve their game in the process - all while staying warm and dry.

Available from €40 to €75 per hour per day, bookings will be subject to availability.

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3. An introduction to art 
With a mission to care for, interpret, develop and showcase art, the National Gallery of Ireland is an exciting way to introduce your loved ones to a world of art, culture and heritage.

By purchasing a 'Membership of the Friends' voucher, you will be contributing towards future acquisitions and exhibitions of the Dublin gallery as well as giving your giftee endless days of entertainment and education.

Gift memberships can be bought online via e-mail and range from €35 - €850. 

4. A night at the movies
If you're shopping for a cinephile this Christmas, bestow them the gift of buttery popcorn and a night of escapism.

Whether you choose to go all out on a luxurious night at the Stella, book into a Christmas movie marathon at the Lighthouse, or simply invest in a membership card for your local cinema or the Irish Film Institute, this is a gift worth giving.

Not only will you have a date night to look forward to, but this purchase will support the cinemas we so badly want to remain open in 2021 and beyond. 

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5. A cooking demo
If you know someone who could do with updating their list of go-to recipes, this may be a fun (if not subtle) gift to get them on their way.

Demonstrating up to eight dishes over a two and a half hour period, Ciara's interactive cooking workshops are set up in her home of Delgany, Co. Wicklow. Slots are priced at €50 per person with a variety of delicious themes but private groups can also be catered for. 

Additionally, Ciara has been hosting a series of online cooking demos and gift vouchers are available at €20 for one class or €50 for three.

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6. A trip into darkness 
The Starlight/Moonlight trips run by Atlantic Sea Kayaking could be the ultimate group adventure or a romantic activity for two, depending on who you're shopping for this Christmas.

Run in two different locations in West Cork - Reen Pier and Lough Hyne - this magical trip provides a unique experience of being on the water from dusk into darkness. 

The trip costs €65 per person using double kayaks, and all necessary equipment is provided.

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7. Foraging on the Wild Atlantic Way 
This year, many of us have taken the time to appreciate nature by going for daily walks in our local parks and throwing ourselves into the Irish sea for a morning dip.

At Atlantic Irish Seaweed, your giftee will be offered the chance to go a step further by foraging for seaweed on the coastline of the Wild Atlantic Way.

Founded by husband and wife team, John and Kerryann Fitzgerald, in Derrynane on the Ring of Kerry, the seaweed discovery courses and workshops have been running since 2009.

A €60 voucher will cover one of the three hour workshops on offer.

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8. A back stage pass to Croke Park
Croke Park has been at the heart of Irish sporting life for over 100 years, and we know that many a fan are missing the grounds of this historic venue.  

If you know someone who is a regular at Hill 16, why not pick them up a voucher for a back stage pass?  Visitors will be brought on an inspiring journey around our national stadium, learning quirky insights and historial facts before taking a seat in the VIP area, and sneaking a peek inside the dressing rooms.

Voucher prices range from €32 to €8 depending on the type of pass you require.

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9. Soak in seaweed
After a stressful year, we could all probably do with a relaxing and restorative soak. Luckily, the team at Wild Atlantic Seaweed Baths are providing just that with six Irish whiskey barrels filled to the brim with sustainably hand harvested seaweed.

Established during the summer of 2018, the company provide one of the only fully mobile seaweed bath outfits in Ireland, and they regularly set up at various locations on the Wild Atlantic Way.

Gift Vouchers are available from €40 – €60, and it should be noted that children under the age of 16 years old are free with a parent or guardian using the baths but must be supervised at all times.

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