Christmas - a few tips for the festive season
Christmas BBQ? Not for me
It’s going to be a bit of a different Christmas time for me this year. It’s the first one since 1998 that I won’t be seeing my son, Finn. He’s going to be working approximately 10,000 miles away, in Melbourne, Australia. It feels weird but I am actually still getting him some gifts for a stocking and will save them until he gets back – soppy sod that I am.
We always had a big family Christmas up north and I only ever spent one Christmas day away from my parents until I was in my early 50’s! That was 2001 when we’d gone over to New Zealand for a few weeks to visit my ex’s brother and sister-in-law. I found it very weird having a barbecue for Christmas dinner and it being the middle of summer there.
Christmas can be stressful
I’ve been thinking back to when my son was young. It was always such a stressful, busy time of year for me. His dad worked for a parcel company and December was the busiest time of year, so he was absent for over 12 hours a day in the run up. Finn’s birthday is 10th December, so he never knew what he wanted for Christmas until after his birthday. I’d be cramming all my shopping for his Santa gifts into a fortnight.
I’d have to sort the dog into kennels, buy, wrap, and hide all the presents, pack and load the car and essentially be a single, working parent trying to create Christmas magic. On Christmas Eve, Finn and I would be waiting for his dad to get home before the 100-mile drive to my family and then Christmas could officially start. I would be pent up ball of stress by the time I got there, completely ready to flop but would have all the family dynamics to navigate whilst having traditions and fun to partake in.
This all came to a holt when my mum passed away and our family home was sold back in 2017. When my dad had passed away in 2015, we still did all the traditional things without him there which was strange. There was a big gap at the table that year. It’s taken a lot of adjusting and getting used to but compared to how it used to be I’ve been a lot less stressed than I used to be these past few years. Don’t get me wrong we used to always have lots of laughs, and I have some very fond memories, but it's never really like the adverts, is it? It's not all smiles in matching pyjamas in front of log fires.
Tips for taking the stress out of getting dressed at Christmas
There can be so much stress and pressure around Christmas, especially if you're the one who has to make it all happen. So this week I have dug a few tips out from the archives for you that might help you take away some of the stress in the wardrobe department.
I have got a very busy week this week and the various social events are starting with a vengeance. I’m pleased to feel organised with my outfits as I’ve got a few new things with sparkles that I’m excited about wearing but I know what it’s like id you’re stressing about getting dressed.
As far as I'm concerned you need to be comfortable and confident in your clothes every day of the year, but even more so during the festive season when you are out and about socialising.
Dial up your style for Christmas
Understanding your Style Personality is key to learning how to dress without stress. I have a quiz that I do with all my clients to assess what their primary style personality is and that is our starting point for any work. It’s one of the 4 steps in my Project FAB! framework – can read more about that in my book or in thisbloghere.
As an example, if you are invited round to friends for drinks over Christmas and usually always dress in a casual way in jeans and a t shirt you are not going to feel totally comfortable giving yourself a makeover by donning a body con dress and teetering around like a new-born calf in sparkly party heels. It would totally spoil your enjoyment as you worry about falling off your stiletto skyscrapers or your dress showing that you’ve eaten one too many mince pies.
You might, however, want to look a bit more glammed up than usual. This is where dialling up and partifying your usual style comes in, so you look more glam than usual but are still dressing as YOU and feel comfortable and confident. Remember – comfydence is always the number one aim. You’re still dressing like yourself and expressing who you are but in a way that is right for different situations or environments. I’ve talked about this a before in this blog.
A few tweaks are all it takes. Easy wins for dialling up a notch are swapping out basic fabrics for more sumptuous ones such as silk, satin, lace, velvet, brocade and devoré or changing your shoes so they have a shiny element such as patent leather, satin or embroidery or another embellishment. It can be as simple as swapping your faded denim jeans for a darker blue or different colour so that you look more dressed up.
If you’re hosting/cooking Christmas dinner, choose short or 3/4 length sleeves and a top that isn't made out of very drapey or floaty fabric, you don't want to be dangling your sleeves in the gravy. It's the same with jewellery - you don't want anything that could get caught up as you are serving your guests.
Natural fabrics are obviously going to be the best solution for keeping you cool as you are hosting and to stop you overheating in the kitchen. You might want to consider layers too so that you can peel one off - you don't want to be looking hot in the wrong way!
Patterned or dark fabrics are less likely to show any spills if you do have any accidents as you are keeping everyone’s drinks topped up or as you are basting the roasties. An apron is practical but not always the most stylish solution - unless of course you find one that coordinates with your outfit. (I have a special Santa apron and chef’s hat that has come out these past few years.)
I’ve always put on my Sunday best on Christmas day (a long-standing tradition) but I’m usually back in my pj’s by 7pm at the latest these days 😊. A couple of years ago I’ ordered us all matching t shirts with reindeers on to have a family photo in for a bit of fun – they were a good idea.
Christmas photo memories
Speaking of photos please don’t avoid being in them. I’m so happy that my mum always took loads of photos as they hold fond memories of our family Christmases with my parents and grandparents. Now they are no longer with us these photos are very special reminders of forgotten times.
If you’re not sure how to stand and feel uncomfortable posing for photos remember a ‘flat arm is a fat arm’! Pose for pics with your arm slightly away from your body or hand on your hip...this will create a more interesting shape. You might not necessarily want to go all ‘Instaglam’ posy but putting one foot slightly in front of the other too as it stops you from having the awkward ‘walking doll’ or Lego character stance. Also, pushing your chin slightly forward and down will prevent double chins appearing that aren’t usually there.
If you get a bit red in the face after a couple of celebratory glasses of prosecco my tip for making sure you don't look like you’ve got Santa cheeks is to have some face powder or blotting papers to hand so you can powder your nose. You can also use a green based concealer before foundation to cancel out any redness. Think about having a lippy handy for touch ups or use one of those 24hr long lasting ones so you look glam on the festive photos and don’t want them to be deleted as soon as you see them.
I hope you’re more chilled than I used to be in December. This time in a fortnight it will all be over, and we’ll be in the weird twixtmas zone…now, who’s for a Baileys?
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