Your guide to surviving the 12 Pubs of Christmas

Here's how to survive - and enjoy - the festivities this December.

Your guide to surviving the 12 Pubs of Christmas


It’s that time of year again. The evenings have closed in, the decorations are going up and far-flung friends and family are about to make their annual migration back to the homeland.

Up and down the country, plans are being made for Christmas parties, work drinks, reunions with old friends on Christmas Eve, shindigs with former schoolmates and any other excuse to hunker down in your favourite pub and wait out the holiday season.


One of our newer festive traditions is the infamous 12 Pubs of Christmas, having exploded in popularity in the last few years.

For better or worse - it seems to be here to stay so here’s our definitive guide to surviving (and enjoying) the 12 Pubs this December.

Choose your route - and the rules - wisely

You might have a traditional route and your group knows it down pat, If not make sure everyone knows the general route in advance, everything is in reasonable walking distance.

You want to keep in mind which bars fill up later on in the evening and which has the strictest bouncers.

Obviously, have someone in charge of the whole trainwreck, guiding it from place to place.

Agree the rules beforehand and don’t make them too ambitious or rigid. And Christmas jumpers are always a good idea even though you're going to be roasting.


Have a nice big dinner beforehand. Grab a pack of bacon fries along the way. Stop for a dirty kebab.


And pray you don't see it again later on the way back up.

Choose your beverage carefully

Price, volume, alcohol content - these are all things to consider. Some groups have pints-only rules. These people should be ignored.

Stick to what you know you suits you. If red wine makes you sleepy avoid it, if pints make you full, go for something else.

And if people give you grief, ignore them. Haters gonna hate.

Sweet, sweet water

It’s boring, it’s predictable but do try to sneak a pint of water every now and again. Your body will thank you for it.


Keep track of who you’re with

Don’t let your very drunk friends wander off by themselves. You don’t want to be their minder for their night but if it comes to it, send them home in a taxi rather than leave them be a liability to themselves and everyone else.

And don't lose yourself, either.

Don’t be a dick.

Such a simple idea which many have yet to grasp. It's easy to lose the run of yourself in all the excitement but that’s no excuse to be inconsiderate.

Be nice to your long-suffering barmen, don't all pay in card - or if you do, do it ONCE and get cash.


Be mindful of where you’re leaving your bodily fluids - that means no pissing in the middle of the street or puking in the chipper.

And go easy on the old peer pressure - let’s not shame people if they take a break after three bottle of beers. It’s a marathon, folks, not a puke-filled sprint of bad decision-making.

And do take every opportunity to tell your friends that you really love them, no, seriously, I really love you guys. I do, I really do. GROUP HUG.

Keep half an eye on your spending.

Nothing compounds the pain of a hangover like an empty wallet - and bank account. Try and avoid rounds, for the love of god. And don’t suddenly decide you want that whiskey from the top shelf.

Prepare your house for the inevitable hangover

You know it’s coming so just embrace it. Fill the house with your hangover food of choice - preferably low maintenance. Put water, painkillers and maybe a Lucozade by the bed.

Make sure you have Netflix ready to go with comforting movies - ideally Christmas-related.

If you can find someone to give you a hug, hold on tight.


Don’t answer the phone to parents, you won’t be able to hide the pain in your voice. Do answer the phone to your fellow survivors of the night before so you can rehash - and remember - all the gas craic you had the night before and wallow in the pain together.

WARNING: This can backfire if they remind you of your antics at 1.30 am that your brain had kindly decided to forget.

Stay safe out there, kids!

For more info, visit

More in this section


Join us for our International Women’s Day virtual lunchtime celebration on Monday, March 8 from 1pm

Home Delivery


Have the Irish Examiner delivered to your door. No delivery charge. Just pay the cover price.