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Joy to the world... as Christmas arrives by stealth in August

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Sisters Laura (8) and Rachel (5) Scott, from Leopardstown, at the BT Christmas Market Photo: Steve Humphreys

Sisters Laura (8) and Rachel (5) Scott, from Leopardstown, at the BT Christmas Market Photo: Steve Humphreys

Sisters Laura (8) and Rachel (5) Scott, from Leopardstown, at the BT Christmas Market Photo: Steve Humphreys

"C is for the candy trimmed around the Christmas tree, H is for the happiness with all the family, R is for the reindeer prancing by the window pane..."

If you've just been lured in by the lyrics of the Christmas Alphabet, exciting news.

The Christmas market at Brown Thomas has been unveiled for the guilty pleasure of yuletide fanatics. And there are just 125 'sleeps' till Christmas.

For everyone else, relax - you have at least three months before you really need to vex yourself about it.

Nevertheless, nutcrackers, frosted acorns, tinkling snowglobes are just some of the Christmassy items jostling for attention on the shelves of BTs in Dublin, Cork and Limerick.

Brown Thomas managing director Stephen Sealey claimed that "plenty of shoppers" were keen to get organised early.

In fact, even as they began to set up at the store in Dublin's Grafton Street last week, one eager customer crossed the barrier in the hope of nabbing a giant wooden nutcracker decoration before the 'rush'.

One of the first customers yesterday was Margaret Mulrooney from Dublin - she was ostensibly in to buy a wedding present for her niece. However, having bought a ballerina decoration as a keepsake for her first granddaughter last year, she could not resist picking up a co-ordinating little drummer boy for her brand new grandson.

"I'll buy them something every year," she said.

It's a family tradition that she began for her son Ian many years ago and one she intends to continue for the next generation, she explained.

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Brown Thomas seasonal homeware buyer Edel Woods revealed that she starts planning 12 months ahead, buying items at German markets and in the US.

She has identified this year's themes as Ice Palace (with whites, silvers and items inspired by nature); Venetian Winter (with ox-blood red and gold tones); I Love Candy (with playful gingerbread characters) and Santa's Journey, a nostalgic collection.

Yes, some people can get rather irritated by the early arrival of Christmas, she admitted.

Generally, though, it puts people in a good mood, she said, adding: "We try to create a real experience."

Noelia Cano, originally from Madrid and her daughters, Paula (13) and Saoirse (11) were also amongst the early birds, picking up an iceskater ornament and a little glass mouse on a Christmas wreath.

"We come here early every year - you can't get such nice ones later on," said Noelia.


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