My 12 loves of Christmas with M&S #ad
I have always been a big fan of Christmas; according to my Mother, I started counting down to Santa's arrival the week after I went back to school (Halloween was always a non-event). So when Marks & Spencer got in touch to suggest a Christmas collaboration, it was a no-brainer. I don't know where I got this serious grá for Christmas (my parents still, to this day, persist on getting the tree on Christmas Eve so it's not like we had a huge build-up in the house), but it's managed to hang on for dear life, despite the odds – and from December 1st I can feel the imminent arrival of Christmas like an oncoming storm of tinsel, baubles and wrapping paper.
How is it that I love Christmas so very much? Oh, let me count the ways...
Jacket, €54, M&S Collection (sold out on .ie site; similar here); Jeans, €47.50, Limited Edition; Leather bag, €110, Autograph; Monogram cushions (on bed), €20 each; Bedcovers, from €67; Glitter wreath (on wall), €35; Leather boots, €120, Autograph; Copper cushion, €27, all at Marks & Spencer
Photographs: Ailbhe O'Donnell
Shopping guilt is non-existent
Any other time of year, trotting into town at a moment's notice and coming home, laden down with bags could be frowned upon. But at Christmas time, it's all fair game. Plus, these are presents! They're not for me, I swear – and no, you can't look in the bags. Ahem.
...Not to mention, Christmas sales shopping
When my sister lived in Ireland, we used to go into Dublin city every Christmas Eve to get an early start on the Christmas sales. We'd start off with a festive drink in the Merrion Hotel, and continue the tradition with a little trot around the shops – to be home by 3pm and ready for Santa. Now that my sister's away, we confer with one another about some online sales purchases, and toast each other's absence with a home-made Irish coffee.
Knit polo neck, €54, Autograph; Monogram glass, €11; cushions, bedcovers and leather bag (just seen), as before, all at Marks & Spencer
Daytime drinking is totally de rigueur
Up until recently, I didn't drink at all – but since our holiday to Cuba, I've been indulging in the odd drink or two (rock 'n' roll, I know), just in time for the festive season. I love the fact that Christmas is a time to meet friends for afternoon tipples, sip Prosecco with breakfast and always have a pot of mulled wine on the hob.
Presents, presents, presents!
I mean, obviously this should be at number one, but I have to maintain some semblance of class, right? Both the giving and receiving of presents at Christmas makes me so incredibly happy, and honestly? I probably prefer to give than to receive (that might have something to do with how I'm a brat who buys all the things she wants...), and genuinely really enjoy wrapping gifts. I usually try to do something a little different; one year, I wrapped all my pressies in newspaper, with brightly coloured ribbons – another year, I put everyone's gifts in enormous boxes so they freaked out and thought I'd bought them tellies. Ah, the LOLs.
(Almost) everyone's in good form
I can't be the only one who's noticed this – even the grumpiest uncle will suddenly become the host with the most once those fairy lights are lit. Maybe it's the daytime drinking, the Christmas music or those feel-good films, but it's best not to question it too much – just enjoy, and maybe take this opportunity to ask for that favour...
Cami, €40, Autograph; Earrings, €20, Limited Edition; wreath, cushions and bedcovers, as before, all at Marks & Spencer
No one can give out to you for staying in bed until noon
I mean, I'm an adult, right? So you'd think I'm immune to the scoldings of parents or partners when it comes to lazy Sundays – but still, my mother will call me at 11.45am and express shock and disgust that I'm still in bed. Except, that is, at Christmas time, when staying in bed past noon is totally acceptable – expected, even.
The market stalls on Henry St
Sure, it can be hard to navigate at peak shopping times – and don't even attempt to make your way down there if you have a buggy – but there's something just so nostalgic about the musical chanting. "Wrapping paper, five for fifteeeeee!"
Glitter is no longer just for special occasions
I am a firm believer that glitter is acceptable all day and all year, but when it comes to home décor I am, sadly, shamed into some semblance of minimalism. Well, not so at Christmas, when "glitter-covered" is the adjective du jour. Glittery ornaments, glittery curtains, glittery earrings, glittery shoes... amirite?!
You have endless hours to read that book you've been ignoring
Or, if you're anything like me, those 30 books you've compiled over the year and haven't even opened. On my list this year: Anne Enright's The Green Road, Laura Bates' Girl Up! and Chris Kraus' I Love Dick (if only to scandalise my Mother).
...Or, watch back-to-back Christmas classics
While I'll watch a Halloween movie at any time of year, there is only one acceptable time to watch Christmas movies – so it's essential to cram them all into this six-week period. While I can take or leave Elf (I know, I know...) I would happily watch Santa Claus: The Movie every single day in December, and I'll also be forcing my nearest and dearest to sit through Love Actually, The Muppet Christmas Carol and Home Alone – at least twice.
There's no such thing as being "overdressed"
This is a rule I pretty much abide by all year 'round, but while I will occasionally put the sequins back in the wardrobe in July, chastened by the realisation that I'm just going for lunch with my Mum in the local pub, at Christmas time, all bets are off. We're talking heeled ankle boots to walk the dog, faux fur to go get the messages and sequins galore. It's the most wonderful time of the year, after all!
This post is in collaboration with Marks & Spencer and Shopping Links. I will always disclose if a post is sponsored or contains affiliate links; for more, check out my disclaimer.