Here are my six top tips for getting through the Christmas period without feeling too stressed, broke or fat, and looking pretty damn good all the while. Enjoy!
1. Start early
Seeing Christmas decorations and hearing the hideous jangly music in shops since August is undoubtedly torturous BUT if you buy/ make your gifts, cards, decorations and non-perishable food and drink items at a leisurely pace, whenever you happen to be in the mood with an hour to spare, well in advance, picking up bargains when you spot them instead of thinking "no point buying it yet", your manic Christmas Eve shopping will be reduced to simply buying the fruit and veg from whatever store's nearest. For extra stress-saving, you could even have them delivered (see point 2!).
2. Do it online
You can probably order absolutely everything you need for Christmas online: groceries, gifts, tree and any train or coach tickets you might need for visiting friends and family. Many of these items are cheaper when booked well in advance (see point 1). I have even designed my own couture Christmas cards with a glamorous Winter Wonderland theme that you can order online. Doing it online saves time, petrol money, the environment (if you drive) and elbowing your way past hoardes of panicked shoppers, and it doesn't mean you have to buy everything from faceless homogenised online shops either. Try Bare Skin Beauty for organic toiletries for ladies and gents, Anathema Designs for designer upcycled jewellery, Lady Allura for quirky latex accessories and Fabulously Fetish for bespoke shoes to carry you through parties :)
Anathema Designs ethically sourced feather and chainmail jewellery photographed by Ian Cashman.
3. Don't go mental
I'm sure one of the greatest sources of stress at this time of year is the post-Christmas weight gain. Not only does gaining 10 lb make you look and feel bloated, but as you probably didn't gain it through overeating satsumas, it will most likely be accompanied by acne, wrinkles, blotchy skin, constipation, greasy hair, lethargy etc. Joy! Add all that to the cold and dark in January and it's no wonder everyone feels depressed!
I'm not saying you shouldn't enjoy Christmas treats, but try to engage a little damage control. You probably don't need three servings of mashed potato- two would be just as good :) You probably don't need Christmas cake and pudding and mince pies and a tin of Roses- just pick your favourite.
You could tweak Christmas dinner in almost undetectable ways to make it healthier and easier to digest, so you don't feel so wiped afterwards. Try roasting in coconut oil (it doesn't make things taste like coconut, but it's a "good fat" even at high temperatures!), leaving the skins on your vegetables, picking gluten-free options, having a salad of Christmas fruits for breakfast (satsumas, apples, pears, red grapes and oranges are all traditional!), making your hot chocolate with almond milk instead of dairy and sprinkling cinnamon on everything.
Juliette Scarfe at Bare Skin Beauty is my personal nutritionist, who I recommend to all my friends. If seeing her in person for nutritional advice on looking your best isn't convenient, you can book an online consultation at a reduced rate of £149 and get a bespoke set of toiletries custom made for your skin included. That'll be nice for relaxing with when this is all over.
4. Don't go mental with your spending, either
Check your balance, see how much money you have coming in over December and January, subtract whatever you know you'll need for bills, and then work out a sensible budget for buying gifts- it's a more relaxed approach than wasting Christmas and January worrying about credit card bills, that's for sure! Thoughtful gifts are remembered better than expensive ones, anyway! Bare Skin Beauty will handmake a customised gift set of organic toiletries to suit the person you have in mind, and your budget- just give them a number. I'm having them make a special set for my grandmother this year that incorporates her vegetarianism, blood pressure and love of lavendar, for 25 quid. Money well spent :) Anathema Designs, Fabulously Fetish and Lady Allura's Latex can all make bespoke treasures to suit your loved ones, so just ask, and they'll take care of it.
5. Now is not the time to buy new dresses
I can't believe I just said that.
But seriously, as per point 3, you will probably not be as big for the rest of the year as you are on New Year's Eve, so why pay out for a dress you can't wear again until this time next year? Find something that's beautiful and has a little give- fabrics like jersey stretch, or go for something with lacing or a belt that you can adjust, or an Empire waist that can accommodate a belly of any size. You'll be at your NYE party until at least midnight so it's important to be comfortable as well as elegant!
Picking shoes is also crucial- if your budget won't stretch to good shoes and a good bag, go with the shoes. They will be supporting your whole body weight and posture for hours. Cheap shoes are so torturous, I'm surprised they haven't started forcing terror suspects to don a pair of wobbly ankle-benders and totter around a cocktail party in increasingly sweaty panty hose for six hours without being allowed to stop smiling. Yet some us do it to ourselves!
The best route is to have a pair of heels custom made to fit your unique measurements by experts- if you don't already have a great pair of black patent court shoes, now is the time to get them, as there simply isn't a situation in which they don't look glamorous- you can wear them from office to party to bedroom without breaking a sweat. I had mine made by Fabulously Fetish and would definitely recommend them as London's leading high heel experts.
Get the shoes sorted before buying a dress! Fabulously Fetish "Bettie" heels shot by Callan Tham
6. Focus on the good stuff
Being so busy, I find getting ready for Christmas tricky sometimes, especially with often being all over the world shooting until almost Christmas Eve most years. I guess most people are at least in their home country during the run-up to Christmas, but that doesn't necessarily make things much easier if you work long hours and have little time to prepare in a fun, relaxed sort of a way.
Simplify your plans, and if you can't do that, delegate. So often, it seems like the responsibility for organising Christmas falls to the women, but remember that the purpose of getting together with friends and family is to catch up, relax and enjoy their company. This is more important than making sure that the table napkins match the tree decorations or that lunch is served precisely on time :)
We rarely have the opportunity to spend a whole day or several days back-to-back with the people we spend Christmas with, so even if they drive you crazy, try to remember why you wanted to be with them in the first place, and make time to re-connect.
With much love,