Christmas Traditions Part One

Is Christmas still in rude health in our changing world? Very definitely, if the way that our eight Look Fabulous Forever Ambassadors are planning to spend their holiday season. 

 

This week and next they and I will share our Christmas plans whilst showing you two of the style choices we have each made for the festivities.

Helen Evans: Noise, Chaos and More Prosecco!

"As a family we all embrace Christmas and love to gather together. With seven adults and five little boys my home becomes a noisy, chaotic place with every bed and sofa bed brought into use, and shoes, boots, bags and coats piled up in the hallway. 

When the children wake on Christmas morning they come downstairs to see what Father Christmas has left in their stockings and check that the reindeer have eaten their carrots and Father Christmas has downed his port. For breakfast, it’s always scrambled eggs on toast with smoked salmon. 

After everyone has washed and dressed, it’s time to crack open the champagne and truffles as we gather around the tree. We always have a real tree and it’s decorated with a collection of ornaments that span the generations: the oldest belonged to my grandparents and new ones are added each year. When my daughters were little, they had to curtsy to their Daddy as he gave them their first present. This tradition still continues in his memory with the grandsons giving a bow!

Christmas dinner is the traditional turkey and after the morning’s champagne, it’s always debatable what time it might appear on the table! Afterwards, the men and children usually slump in front of a film whilst the women build the various Lego sets or other toys that need assembling, and then some hardy individuals will take the children down to the park to have a runaround. 

The way to a relaxed Christmas in our house is always, more Prosecco! Yes, the house is a tip, the fridge is a Tetris masterpiece and every available work surface in the kitchen is covered in plates of leftovers. There are endless queues for the bathroom, no more room in any of the waste bins, not to mention the many, now opened, presents strewn around, and there’ll be tears before bedtime, but what does it matter? Time together as a family is precious and soon enough they will be on their way home.

Christmas is a happy celebration in our family but there will also be moments when my daughters and I will shed a tear and wish my darling husband could be with us. He absolutely loved a family Christmas, and maintaining our traditions helps us find joy, although his habit of waking us up early on Christmas morning by striding around the house beating a saucepan with a wooden spoon whilst calling out, ‘Father Christmas has been’, will not be missed!"

Casual outfit - Top: Sainsbury’s Tu, Trousers: M&S, Earrings: M&S, Shoes: Amazon

Dressy outfit - Top: pre-loved M&S, Skirt: M&Co, Necklace & matching earrings: Debenhams, Shoes: Amazon

Sandra Thompson: A Christmas Eve Party Tradition

"This Christmas I will be at home as usual. In fact I have never actually been away at Christmas.  I used to always host Christmas Day but since being widowed, I am lucky to be able to spend it with my son and his family. He has 6 children so it can be quite hectic!

Christmas always starts for me on Christmas Eve at my cousin's house.  They always host a dinner party for about 10. I contribute to the desserts and try to make something special every year.  When our children were young,  they had their own party in a different room and we used to end the evening by singing carols by the Christmas tree.  It makes me realise how the years have gone by as we are all in our 70s now, but it's always an enjoyable evening.  

On Boxing Day it will be my turn when the rest of my family will come to me. 

This year will be my first Christmas in my new apartment. When I think back to the Christmasses gone by,  it makes me think how things change.  I used to work full-time until Christmas Eve and have all my family on Christmas Day. I wonder now how I did it! 

Times change. The children grow up and have their own families and now it's their turn."

Casual outfit - Christmas jumper: Roman,  Pleather skinny pants: M&S. Boots: Pavers

Party outfit - Teal velvet trousers suit and shoes: M&S, Sequin top: Next, Statement earrings: local boutique. 

Margaret Louyot-Smith: Christmas With A French Flavour

"I currently live in Portugal however, before we moved six and a half years ago, our home was in France.

Every Christmas, we make the 1,500 km journey by car to be with our daughters, their partners and our two grandchildren.

Our daughters take it in turns to host Christmas every year and this year it's our eldest daughter's turn. Her partner's parents and two sons will also be there over the two days and my youngest daughter and her family will be with us on Christmas Eve. There is no Boxing Day in France unfortunately, not even a bank holiday.

The food will be traditional French, although I will be providing mince pies and a Christmas pudding, both homemade.We never have turkey at Christmas as no one really likes it. This year, we've decided on sea bass as a main course. Starters will include foie gras, smoked salmon, oysters and scallops etc. I've also offered to make a Praliné and Hazelnut Yule Log for dessert based on a recipe by French chef Christophe Michelak, as an alternative to Christmas Pudding for my daughters who don't like dried fruit.

Our grandchildren are aged two and four so Christmas Eve lunch will be the main Christmas meal this year so that the little ones will be able to go to bed at the usual time.

We all hope that everything will run smoothly with zero stress. My advice is to plan ahead,  lower expectations, share the shopping, cooking and clearing up.

I'm also looking forward to babysitting. I'll be spending a week near Tours with my grandson and a week near Orléans with my granddaughter while their parents are at work. I can't wait!

Wishing every one of you (especially Tricia and her wonderful team) a Merry Christmas, un Joyeux Noël and um Feliz Natal. xx"

Casual outfit - Jumper: Mango, Trousers: Bonobo (French brand), Necklace: local boutique when I lived in France, Earrings: a present from my daughter who lives in France

Evening outfit - Kookaï (bought many years ago from a Kookaï outlet, Jacket: local shop in Caldas da Rainha, Portugal, Jewellery: from a wonderful holiday in Rajasthan, India, Sandals: Tapadas, Portuguese brand

Marion Rapson: Anticipating A New Addition to the Family

"Our Christmas will be rather quiet this year and on Christmas Day it will just be the two of us. We’ll have a leisurely lunch and watch Christmas films. If the weather is fine we may go for a gentle stroll. My husband is due to have a hip replacement in February so he can’t walk too far due to the pain. 

Our three grown up children will be spending Christmas Day with their partner’s families. It does mean that we will be celebrating Christmas, including at least one traditional Christmas dinner, and exchanging gifts with them all at different times over the Christmas period. 

Our youngest daughter is expecting a baby in early January so in addition to the Christmas celebrations we’ll be on Baby Alert in case he decides to come early. 

My top tips for having a relaxed, happy and enjoyable Christmas time are firstly to prepare as much as possible beforehand, then to wear something that makes you feel fabulous and finally to enlist the help of family members with preparing, serving and clearing away the Christmas dinner - it’s your Christmas too so don’t spend all day tied to the kitchen!"

Casual outfit - Charcoal faux wrap top: Kettlewell Colours, Pink lace cami: Kettlewell Colours, Trousers (unseen): Per Una, Necklace: gift from a friend about 10 years ago 

Dressy outfit - Navy sparkly top: Monsoon about 8 years ago, Black trousers: Zara, bought on Vinted, Necklace: Vinted

Amen to that Marion and thanks to all four of our LFF Ambassadors for sharing your plans with us.  And don’t you all look festively fabulous?

 

Tricia x

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Upcoming Events:

Friday 22nd December

Film Club: Past Lives

Available on Amazon Prime

Watch the film beforehand and join us for a group discussion!

Day: Friday 22nd December 2023

Time: 4 pm

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