There was a time when Christmas attire, for me, was all about getting glammed up. Sparkly tops and dresses, dazzling jewellery, silvers, golds and reds – I loved the sense of occasion and feeling smart and sophisticated. Since becoming a mum, however, things have changed and I find myself embracing the tackier, cheesier side of Christmas.
As if to prove the point, I’m writing this while wearing one of my two Christmas jumpers, drinking out of a Father Christmas mug. This particular jumper has Santa on the front with an actual pom pom on the end of his hat. I’m also wearing one of my many pairs of Christmas socks.
My other Christmas jumper is a little more demure, being white with silver stars on it. I also have a Christmas dress with an alpine pattern on it, not to mention Christmas pyjamas and an array of Christmas socks and festive headwear.
Admittedly, I owned the dress before I had children, but it’s really come into its own these last few years.
I think the real Christmas cheesiness started as soon as Little Miss E was born. She’s a December baby, so was just three weeks old for her first Christmas. When I was pregnant, I’d seen all sorts of Christmas costumes for babies in the shops, so couldn’t resist dressing her up in a baby Santa outfit for the big day. It was such a contrast to the previous year, when I spent Christmas in a tearful daze having recently experienced a miscarriage. I felt so overwhelmingly lucky to be a mummy at Christmas that I wanted to embrace it as much as I could.
I took a gorgeous little photo of my Santa Baby surrounded by Christmas presents – and that has set the tone ever since. I couldn’t not dress her up the following year… or the year after that, when she had a new brother. She was Santa and he was an elf. And so it continues. Every year, the Christmas card we send to our nearest and dearest features my three children in their seasonal fancy dress. Every year, my three children have a Christmas fancy dress outfit, Christmas pyjamas plus a festive jumper. I buy things that are good for both genders and some of the outfits have been worn by all three of my children. Other things I get off second-hand selling sites.
All of it arrives with our elves on the shelf on December 1st, so my children have all month to make the most of them. They love them as much as I do!
And if my children are wearing such clothes, then it’s only right that I, as their mother, do too. Two years ago, I realised that Cardiff Daddy did not have a Christmas jumper. “How has this happened?!” I wondered. And so I dashed to Primark and got him one with Rudolph on the front and bells that actually jingle. He reluctantly wore it for the sake of the children, who absolutely loved it…. and a few days later was pleased to come second in an office Christmas jumper competition, runner up to a guy who had made his own Christmas jumper by attaching fairy lights to it!
It’s not just the fun element though. Christmas jumpers offer a practical solution to getting dressed in the morning when you’re a busy mum. Not sure what to wear? Chuck on your Christmas jumper and you’ll instantly look like a fun and happy mum who has made an effort to embrace the festive season. No one need know you’ve worn it four days in a row, because they are very good at hiding the dirt. And on the subject of dirty clothes, I also love that at this time of year, I can do a whole wash of red clothes. I love how festive my washing basket looks!
However, there is one small problem now. Familiarity breeds contempt, as the old saying goes, and what once used to feel like a daring Christmas jumper, now seems very conservative. And so each year, I find myself drawn to more over the top outfits and more extreme headwear, the kind you can pick up at the pound shops.
This year we are hosting Christmas for all of Cardiff Daddy’s side of the family – there will be 15 of us in total, nine adults and six children. I was pondering what a good hostess would wear for such an occasion – which is no doubt going to be chaotic due to the amount of people coming – when I saw an amazing Father Christmas dress in Primark. There was no way I wasn’t buying it. I even have red and white stripy knee high Christmas socks to go with it! I’m not going to show you a photo because I don’t want to ruin the surprise for those who will be there on the day, but let’s just say, it’s flipping awesome!
I’m sure in a few years, when my children are teenagers going out with their friends over Christmas, they’ll ditch the silly stuff for their smartest clothes. They might even be embarrassed by their mother’s love of cheap Christmas tat.
In the meantime, however, I am fully indulging the festive dressing up, creating happy family memories. When most people look back to Christmas as a child, it’s not the presents they remember. It’s the traditions. They reply with “we always did this”. And when I’m old and grey, I want my children to remember how colourful, fun and magical Christmas was with all of us in our festive dress. I want them to look back and get that warm and fuzzy feeling as they remember Mummy with her Santa dress and Daddy with his jingling jumper. And I hope they’ll always have a soft spot for a good old Christmas jumper.
Feeling festive? You can see all of my Christmas posts here.
The awesome Christmas jumpers pictured at the top of this post cost £20 each from www.lookagain.co.uk