It's the most wonderful time of the year - but what makes Christmas so magic? In the lead up to December 25th, we asked twelve notable Irish people their twelve who, what, and whys. Next up, stylist and co-founder of GAFF Interiors, Jo Linehan.

1. The earliest Christmas memory

The first proper memory of Christmas was when I was about five years old. We had a big Christmas concert in school and I remember being in my absolute element on that stage. Blasting out carols... tinsel on my head. Happiest when!

2. The most memorable Christmas gift

When I was really small, Santa brought me a mermaid doll whose tail changed colour in the bath. It was my absolute favourite thing - I treasured it. I’m not afraid to say I’ve googled it in adulthood to see if they still exist!

3. The long-running Christmas tradition

My mam, dad, sister, and I always have a day together in Cork City right before Christmas. This year it’ll be Christmas Eve. It’s fab; we have lunch and loads of coffees and wander around soaking up the atmosphere. All the shopping is done at that stage, so we just enjoy the mood.

4. The best Christmas song

It’s got to be Paul McCartney’s Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time. However, I must say my business partner Caroline (of GAFF Interiors) and I deemed Sia’s Santa’s Coming to Town our official anthem this year. It’s fab.

5. The uplifting Christmas movie

I have a real Sound of Music obsession - so much so that I have a tattoo dedicated to it! (I’m a nerd, I know.) I love everything about it: the music, the scenery, the love story ... I’ll well up just thinking about it.

6. The best part of Christmas dinner

The meat! I was a vegetarian for more than a decade, so when I finally returned to being a carnivore, I really relished the joy of the turkey and ham. My family is still vegetarian and vegan, but they always make sure I get my meat fix.

7. The Christmas Eve routine

We’ll be in the city this year, then we’ll come home and exchange presents with each other that night. We always do this on Christmas Eve instead of Christmas Day and I love it.

8. The Christmas drink of choice

Can I say coffee?! I’m not a massive drinker, but if there’s a bottle of bubbles, I’m in.

9. The Christmas gift I’m buying myself

I got my driving license this year - you have no idea how much of a massive deal this is for me. I failed twice and was losing hope! So, I’m on the hunt to find myself my first car. No luck yet, but I think Santa is on the case.

10. The Christmas Day game/activity that never disappoints

I do love a big walk Christmas night (post dinner, pre-dinner round two) through the town when everything is quiet and all the lights are on.

11. The best way to give back

There are so many easy ways to give back, whether it’s by raising some funds for a local charity (GAFF Just raised €3,000 for Peter McVerry Trust with our pop-up shop, with the help of DFS and Tesco) or just calling into a neighbour who might be alone this festive season. I’ve made a decision with some friends to make a small donation instead of swapping gifts. Even the smallest thing can change someone’s Christmas, so keep your eyes peeled for someone in need and you’ll find the right way to help.

12. The real magic of Christmas is…

Having proper time off. It’s nice to know the world is having a rest, and you can rest too before it all kicks off in January again.

For more about Jo's work, see her website here.

Read More: 12 Days of Christmas With ... Louise Cooney