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. First up, model-slash-influencer Louise Cooney.

1. The earliest Christmas memory
Waking up at home with all my family waiting on the landing to go downstairs to check if Santa came. My dad had his video recorder in his hand, like he always does (even to this day). I still remember that nervous/excited/scared feeling of going downstairs in case Santa was still there and I still remember the delight when I saw he had eaten the cookies and drank the beer we had left out for him - no milk for santa in our house!

2. The most memorable Christmas gift
A basketball hoop when I was 10 or 11. I spent the whole of Christmas day outside with my dad setting it up and I have never been so excited by a present - it was probably my most used present ever too, we used to have the whole neighbourhood around playing basketball.

3. The long-running Christmas tradition
We have quite a few - but we do play board games every Christmas day. There's six in my family, so as you can imagine it gets a little competitive. There is a hilarious home video of me crying over a game of snakes and ladders when I'm about four-years-old. I'm not quite as competitive anymore though, I swear!

4. The best Christmas song
I personally love the Michael Bublé Christmas album. Cold December Night and Holly Jolly Christmas are two of my faves, but there are just so many good ones. Fairytale of New York just never, ever gets old.

5. The uplifting Christmas movie
Elf! It cracks me up every time!

6.The best part of Christmas dinner
I'm torn between the crispy roast potatoes and the terrible jokes that come out of the crackers. 


7. The Christmas Eve routine
I usually go to mass on Christmas Eve with my family and afterwards we open some of the presents we've gotten for each other.
8. The Christmas drink of choice
Mulled wine, of course!
9. The Christmas gift I’m buying myself
A trip to LA in January: the best way to beat the January blues. I'd rather buy myself an experience than a material item any day!
10. The Christmas game/activity that never disappoints
Monopoly, I love it. I literally play for hours every Christmas, with anyone I can rope in to play it with me.
11. The best way to give back at Christmas
Any way you can. Donating money, giving old clothes or things you don't use to charity, giving your time and empathy to those who need it; there are so many ways you can give back. This year I organised a festive fundraising fashion show for the Irish Cancer Society and we raised over €10,000 which was amazing. Christmas is a great time for lots of people, but you have to think of those who are struggling and try and do your bit to help in some way.
12. The real magic of Christmas is…
For me, it's the quality time I get at home with my family and friends.

Read Louise's blog here.