December has to be the best month of the year; it is magical, frantic, hypnotic, chaotic, full of late nights, pyjama days and lots of chocolate. Some of you will have started your Christmas shopping in September and then there are the rest of us, who will only shop when the streets are jam-packed and there is Christmas music playing everywhere. Whichever category you fall into, the joy of looking for presents for loved ones is the same. No matter what your budget is, there are wonderful presents waiting in the shops, just for you. I have been with my husband for so many years now that a lot of the presents are a bit of a blur so about eight years ago – a year after our presents to each other cost a ridiculous amount of money – we decided to do a €10 gift for each other. Oh my God, the pressure was on and to this day, I still remember what he gave me because it is one of my most treasured and most used possessions. Having mentally kicked myself so many times for not taking the opportunity when I lived in New York, to go and hear Louise L Hay speak, Gordon gave me her book – ‘You Can Heal Your Life’. It has a section in it that covers minor to major illnesses and how to deal with or recover from them, warts and all! It is my Gospel, some of my friends even ring up and ask me to check up things for them. I gave him a big bell that says ‘Ring for a Hug’. Am not sure if I blew him away with that but we had a good laugh about it!
Some of us stay at home for the holidays and some of us have to travel to other places to hook up with loved ones and packing for this particular season can be a bit of a head wreck unless you plan it properly. A few days away or even a week means that you have to cover all eventualities and three or four surprises thrown in on top. Are you going to stay in or go out on Christmas Eve?…Do you need comfy clothes or do you need to ‘dress to impress’? Will you help with the Christmas dinner preparations or will you be sipping a glass of bubbly in another room, mingling with the crowd? No matter what, always throw in a black and a blue pair of skinny jeans, they are top of the ‘Few Days Away’ list and can be worn as a casual look or soften a very dressed up look. That Little Black Dress is next, whether it is a sparkly one or a figure-hugging plain black dress, it won’t take up a lot of space in your bag and will allow you to be prepared for a real Style Night if needs be. Killer heels, or your version of them, for added glamour are next on the list. If you are anything like me, then you will take a second bag that contains only footwear, shoes, boots, fluffy slippers and ‘walk off the dinner’ runners. So, always pack a pair of runners, leggings and a chunky jumper, hat and warm coat so no matter what the weather, you can escape and give your hosts a little break from you too! A few dressy tops or blouses that work with your jeans will keep you looking a lovely smart casual during the day and into the evening. A well tailored jacket, sparkly top, jeans or skinny cigarette-style trousers will make sure that you look amazing effortlessly. A comfy figure-hugging wrap around dress is also a great addition to your holiday packing; you can wear it anytime and to anything. Make sure that you bring along a few pairs of tights, always more than you need. Great underwear is always a good ‘pick-me-up’ so invest in some lovely bits before the holidays! A glam fake fur coat adds in a sprinkle of fun and makes a pair of jeans and plain top look very ‘chic’.
While many of us prefer to use a large everyday bag, it is always handy to have a clutch bag inside. I have found this little tip invaluable and of course, black is always a winner! When it comes to jewellery, a statement bracelet and neckpiece is the way to go, wear only one at a time for added WOW factor. A cute well fitting pyjamas is an absolute must, I’m not saying that you are going to swan around someone else’s house in your pj’s all day but you just never know. If you have a cute jumpsuit, roll it up and pack it in. Jumpsuits are so easy to wear and you are minus the fuss of having to match a top and bottom, they are every bit as good as an LBD, especially if it has a plunging neckline….all you need to add is one accessory and heels and a glass of bubbly! A wool wrap coat really is a winner; they work just as well with jeans as they do over a glam look. Choose a neutral tone that will work with everything and will make sure that you are warm and stylish when you venture outside. Emerald green is such a ‘big colour’ this year so be sure to pick up a little something in that shade and throw that in your bag too. I was lucky enough to find a pair of loose black trousers with a big stiff band waist that you can tie in a bow. They scream ‘party’ elegance and any top tucked in works a treat with them, hair slicked back and a pair of ‘not –too-big’ hoop earrings – a gorgeous look for any Christmas night!
THERE YOU GO, I’ve packed your bag for you…I’m exhausted! If you have a hectic schedule over the festive season, you can take a lot of pressure off by planning in advance. Even if you are not travelling away anywhere, staying at home can be even more hectic. Any evening that you have an hour, plan your wardrobe for any events or parties that you have coming up, it really helps and saves hours of ‘trying on and taking off’ clothes. Put whatever you choose to wear for Christmas Eve, Christmas day and so on to one side of your wardrobe and pull out all of the accessories. It frees you up then and allows you to concentrate on all the FUN STUFF. Have THE most wonderful holiday season, be kind, be thoughtful and say YES to every invitation that you get…