Are you a host this year, or a guest? On Christmas Day, you’re either one or the other, and it inevitably affects what you do, how much time you have to prep (yourself, not the veg), and, of course, what you wear.
I’m not sure which role is easier when putting together an outfit. As the host, you usually have to prepare at least some of the meal, a major chore and disastrous for hair, make-up and anything that creases or shows stains easily. But then again, you are in your own home, with access to your wardrobe, mirrors and make-up drawers all day and all night long, so you can change outfits as often as Miley Cyrus at the MTV Awards (although perhaps not copying her style) and re-apply steamed-off foundation quite easily, so you retain that festively fresh, groomed and serene aura (ha).
As a guest, you have less of the hard work of the day to do, but then you also have limited time in which to get ready, especially if you live miles away and are expected to arrive for around noon, all stiff and crumpled from the car. Plus you’ve perhaps got just one change of outfit and only as much make-up and skincare as you can carry. For some of us, that’s not nearly enough.
However, guest or host, we each have to play our part on Christmas Day, and dressing the part helps us to get in character more easily. See if you recognise others, or yourself, in these festive types (with apologies to friends and family members).
THE FLOATING GUEST: She wafts about, usually with a glass of something fizzy in her hand, always offering to help but never quite makes it to the sink, although she manages to find the wine in the fridge easily enough. She likes to wear white and floaty fabrics that look expensive and easily damaged, because it gives her an excuse not to go near anything steamy or stainy (sprouts, turkey, small children).
THE HARASSED HOST: You’ve no idea what her chosen Christmas outfit actually looks like, because she’s wearing a huge apron, oven gloves and several teatowels when you arrive and stays that way until 2pm, when she finally sits down at the table with an exhausted sigh, then squeals, “Oh look at me, I’ve still got my pinny on!” This festive fashion faux pas could easily be avoided if only she’d delegate gravy making and turkey carving to someone else while she goes back to her boudoir to get herself prepped.
THE SOUS-CHEF: She’s a capable sort and it really doesn’t matter to her whether she’s host or guest, because she’s in the kitchen anyway, at all times, helping (ie., taking over). She knows exactly how sprouts, Yorkshires and gravy should be done, and wants to do it all, at the same time chiding others, especially menfolk and teenagers, for sitting about and keeping well out of the way. She doesn’t really do Christmas fashion as she prefers a practical uniform of sensible slacks and an impermeable tabard top.
THE LABEL QUEEN: Turns up with a huge Mulberry bag, Stella McCartney purse, skinny jeans that cost as much as your first car, and a top with a little chiffon hem that looks like a big T-shirt but cost more than your Ikea wardrobe. Designer labels vary year on year, but footwear tends to be Louboutins, because the red sole is so festive – and surely one person is bound to know they’re really expensive?
Meanwhile, if you’re looking for stylish, wearable options as guest or host, see above for my festive picks.