If your surname is Jolly, you are basically obliged to love all things Christmas. Shop assistants, colleagues, distant relatives: basically anyone I encounter in the months of November or December literally cannot resist commenting on my name.
After 22 years, though, I’m more than used to it, and actually I kind of love it. I definitely love Christmas and this year, I packed in as many festive London activities as physically possible (hence the reason I was too busy to even think about blogging). Now that the whole thing’s over, it seems a bit tragic to ply you with pictures of sparkly lights and trees and so on, but I wanted to at least document the event itself.
This year, my Christmas really began on the 20th, when Matthew and I had our own mini Christmas day. Now that I’m a professional gift giver and earning a real salary to boot, I’d finally been able to put new wrapping skills to the test and I loved how my presents looked so much that I was reluctant to let anybody open them at all.
Unfortunately M wouldn’t let me have mine unless I agreed to let him have his, so I relinquished all my pretty bows and let him at them. I didn’t photograph the actual presents, but I was completely and utterly spoilt, with a Jo Malone candle in one of my favourite scents (wild fig and cassis – yum), a cute Kate Spade notebook, a gorgeous maple leaf necklace I spotted on our first weekend in the flat (and which features in almost all of the following Christmas pictures), the Kate Spade bangle I have been lusting after for literally years and one of Anthropologie’s much coveted gold initial mugs.
For actual Christmas, I headed home to spend it with the family. Usually (as you might remember from previous years’ posts), Christmas is a rowdy affair where the whole of my mum’s side of my family get together for lots of fun, festivities and Prosecco. This year my sister had to work on Christmas day, which meant that it would be just the five of us (four for most of the day). I have to admit I was worried this would feel weird and unnatural, but actually it was such a lovely, relaxing day! Having ventured out for a pantomime the day before and reverted to a childhood tradition of Pizza Express pizzas for dinner, we were up bright and early for presents.
I was just as spoilt by my parents as by Matthew, and mum had done a brilliant job of scouting out my Pinterest for ideas. I got some gorgeous bits, but by far my best presents were the gorgeous ponyskin black boots (which have barely left my feet since), and my big surprise: tickets for me and my sister to see One Direction later this year. I’m not even sorry – I was delighted! This was also the first year I’ve had enough cash to buy really nice presents for the family, so it was nice to see those going down well too!
After presents, there was just time for brunch before Milly had to leave.
And then followed a lovely relaxing day of playing games (playing Cards Against Humanity with your parents is always going to be interesting…), and a gorgeous Christmas Day walk around the lakes with Jimmy. I think this is the first time I’ve done any sort of exercise on Christmas Day and I have to say I really enjoyed it!
Finally, my sister returned and we sat down for Christmas dinner. I did miss my role as my aunt’s official sous chef (usually more champagne drinking than cooking is involved in that job) but we all chipped in with peeling potatoes, cutting vegetables and so on and it was utterly delicious!
As I said, I thought I was really gonna miss the chaos of previous years, not to mention the littles running around, but there is definitely something to be said for a low-key, grown up Christmas and with me living in London and my brother at uni it’s not often all 5 of us are together. Plus, we had everybody down on the Saturday for Christmas round 2 and my littlest cousin’s 7th birthday – so I didn’t miss out on much chaos after all!