Do you know what I love most about Christmas? The fact that I am now SANTA!! I used to look forward to the festivities; planning my outfits for countless Christmas party nights, carefully selecting and wrapping presents for family and friends and spoiling myself with a little gift from me to me. But fast forward 7 years and family is the reason for the season in our house at Christmas.
Since we bought our first home together back in 2007, Paul and I have always made a tradition of decorating the house together whilst listening to cheesy Christmas tunes. And as the children have come along, one by one, they too have enjoyed joining in. In fact, since he was a little boy, Jude who is the eldest of our four little ones, has assumed responsibility for the careful placement of the stars on the top of our trees.
Like almost every other household at Christmas, we have a very mischievous Elf on the Shelf called Sparkle. He is Santa’s eyes and ears on the lead up to Christmas. We have so much fun planning his antics, in fact my very immature husband (meant in the most endearing way of course) loves nothing more than thinking of innovative ways for the elf to be naughty. And the excitement every morning on the children’s faces is priceless.
We always visit Santa early on in December and we love to make it a family day out – everyone has a Christmas jumper, even me! The magic of being a child and the privilege of being a parent is all the more precious at this time of year. Paul and I both come from very close knit families who observed similar traditions and I think it’s good to remind the children that Christmas isn’t about presents, it’s about being present. Christmas also reminds me of just how fortunate we are. We have so many commitments all year round that we like to press the pause button a little in December and spend valuable time with our extended families as well.
Our celebrations kick off on Christmas Eve with a festive brunch with my in laws. We have been meeting on Christmas Eve in the same place for the last 17 years. That evening the children are each ‘left’ Christmas Eve boxes from Sparkle with festive pyjamas, a Christmas book, hot chocolate and reindeer food. It is amazing the excitement these little boxes create every year. Once the children are in bed, Paul and I build and lay out the children’s gifts before opening our presents to each other.
Paul and I come from small families and we are blessed to still have one grandparent with us, affectionately known to my children as ‘wee nan’. We take it in turns to spend Christmas Day with each set of parents and our siblings but both families come together on Christmas night. We love that our parents are good friends and it also means that the children can spend Christmas with their cousins too. Boxing Day is also family focused and our parents take turns to host each other. The rest of the holidays is fairly low key, we mostly spend time catching up with friends. Paul and I celebrate our wedding anniversary on New Year’s Eve and this year, to celebrate 10 years of marriage, we are off on a surprise trip (I planned the surprise but I’m staying tight lipped until we get to the airport!).
Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without some festive styling. I am frivolous when it comes to shopping. I really do ‘practice what I preach’, even with the children. Paul calls me ‘Gok Mom’ and it seems that Jude, our eldest, has quite an eye for fashion, even at the tender age of 6.
I am a fan of Timberland for the children. It is a little more costly than other high street brands but the quality and the fact I can hand it down to the younger children, justifies the price for me. I usually avail of the Black Friday Offers in Ciani Designer Childrenwear in Moira. I also love Ralph Lauren but again I only buy this brand when I take my clients on the biannual Evolve by Samara Destination Shopping and Styling trips to Kildare village. And my go to for on trend footwear for the boys is Cordners Shoe Shop in Portadown who currently have a cracking selection of Hi Tops in a range of styles and colours.
On the high street, I love Monsoon for knitwear, House of Fraser for coats, Next for denim and chinos and Joules for shirts and polos. And this year, after being the very proud owner of 4 little guys, I have a little lady to shop for – my first little niece, Penelope who will be just 9 weeks at Christmas. Bring on the pink!
When selecting my own outfits for the festive season I am always thinking of how each garment will be incorporated into my every day wardrobe. My go to piece for Christmas Day is usually a dress with tights and shoe boots. A great tip for elongating the leg when wearing a dress is to wear tonal hosiery with the same colour of shoes or boots.
Boxing Day will likely to be coated trousers with a cashmere sweater. Coated trousers are a great way to create an edgy look but with optimal comfort. Remember however that shiny fabrics reflect the light and can add volume to the leg. Clients have been asking me a lot lately about knitwear and my top piece of advice is to choose a neckline that flatters your body shape and also watch out for textures. As a professional personal stylist I am creating balance in the body so for example if your volume was on your hips we would be using an appropriate texture, that is also aligned with your lifestyle, to balance out the shoulders and show off waistline definition.
When making your festive fashion purchases, for both yourself and your children do keep in mind that the pieces should be functional for the rest of the Autumn/Winter season and should always be aligned with your lifestyle and within your budget. I work on the wardrobe pyramid principle when placing your budget.
Watch out for my ‘New Year, New You’ series coming in January with Mums NI and do consider treating yourself to a professional colour and body shape analysis session in 2019. Yes there is an initial outlay but you will save yourself so much time and money when you learn what really flatters you!
Wishing all of the Mums NI readers a very Happy Christmas and a peaceful 2019. Thank you to all of you lovely ladies for all of your support and encouragement this year.Tagged with: being santa, christmas 2018, christmas outfits, christmas styling, christmas traditions, Evolve by Samara, family time at christmas, personal styling for Christmas, samara prentice, what christmas means to me
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