A BOUNCE back from two years of Covid restrictions has provided local businesses with their busiest Christmas in years.
This time 12 months ago the advice from the government was that any planned gatherings should be kept to a maximum of three other households – four in total.
People were also wearing masks and being encouraged to observe social distancing.
With no such limits in place this year Christmas parties and all-out family get-togethers returned with a bang.
That spelt great news for the shops as people scrambled to buy something to wear or to gift.
Mark McCloskey is proprietor of Evolve Menswear in Letterkenny.
He said it was a very busy December despite predictions that it could be subdued by the rising cost of necessities such as fuel and electricity.
“In all the years we have been here it was probably our busiest December ever,” said the businessman.
“I think the difference this year was that the bars were all open again and Christmas parties were back on. People wanted to get out and get into the shops, they wanted to meet people where this last couple of years there were restrictions in place.
“We closed on St Stephen’s Day to give the staff a day off and we reopened on Tuesday. It was a bit of a slow start and we thought it was going to be a quiet one but it got going and ended up being a busy one too,” Mr McCloskey added.
Magee’s Pharmacy enjoyed a similarly hectic December.
A staff member there told the Donegal News yesterday that it had been an “excellent” Christmas.
“It was busier than last year. We didn’t really know how it would go but it was better than expected with a big demand for perfumes and aftershaves.
“You just don’t know how these things are going to go but it was good both in-store and online where our sales were up too.”
David Faughnan runs Universal Books on Church Lane, selling a huge selection of books, vinyl and other items not usually seen on the high street.
He said it had been a strong December with records and Irish language books in particular demand.
“We sold a lot of Donegal books, Irish books and children’s books. As well as that we had a bucket load of vinyl go out the door.
“What you tend to find is that when it comes to records, parents buy from us with a confidence. They will see a Rolling Stones album or a Beatles album and say ‘I loved it and if it was good enough for me, it will be good for them’. They will find something and go ‘This is brilliant, I loved this when I was growing up’.”
This year Universal Books ventured online, selling items via eBay and other sites.
Among the most unlikely requests during a busy festive period was for Irish language literature to be shipped to Puerto Rico.
“We are a luxury in that we aren’t food, we aren’t home heating oil. So it needs to be a strong December and I’m over the moon with how strong it actually was,” the store owner added.