I ONLY PUT THE CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS AWAY IN THE LOFT LAST TUESDAY and here we are again, tobogganing through the calendar towards the festive season once more. Brilliant! I love presents. The giving, the getting, the secrecy, the rustle of wrapping, the glorious sight of them sitting in a jumble at the base of the tree, full of promise and potential and (hopefully) cashmere. I rely heavily on knitwear at Christmas, and have been known to give every single member of my family something spun from cashmere or angora – socks, beanies, hot-water-bottle jackets, the lot – simply because it is at once comforting and unerringly chic (a combination that doesn’t come along too often, when you think about it). I’m also of the opinion that a woman can never have too many jumpers. Right now, I have my eye on the ‘Lana’ a luxurious cashmere round neck jumper from Joules, if anyone from the Spencer clan happens to be reading… size ten, thanks very much.
In short, what we’d like to receive at Christmas is often what we end up giving. Personally, I’d be singularly delighted with a silk square (the ‘Dulcie’, with its quirky ferret print) which I’d tie around the handle of a gorgeous handbag (the emerald Holborn, if I had to choose)… oh, and one of Joules’ amazing ‘Gloria’ silk tops faced with gunmetal flat sequins and contrast exposed zip, which seems to sum up the care for quality and integrity at the heart of all they do. It’s pleasing to know that these traditional British designs are as strong as ever, just like the Christmas pud, cracker jokes and the Queen at three. At Christmas, as at no other time of the year, we seek tradition and comfort, safe in the warm embrace of the family (at least until everyone starts to squabble over the remote). We want velvet and plaid, vintage brooches and ribbed tights. We want brush-cotton PJs and slipper socks to tip-toe down to a cold kitchen and sneak a late-night mince pie from its tin.
Thankfully, all of this is available online at Joules.com which means you won’t need to brave the hordes on Christmas Eve as they ooze down the shopping streets. Instead, you can easily alight on a darling pair of half wellies, all done up with a bow, or a tweedy flat cap called ‘Grumble’ (I already know who’s getting that). You could even direct relatives towards the website, a clever ruse to avoid receiving yet another trio of speciality marmalades this year (if I get another flavoured olive oil featuring floating peppercorns, I promise you I’ll scream). Instead, send them all off in the right direction and start hoping against hope for cashmere on Christmas morning. I know I am.