Mince pies, untangling fairy lights, old Christmas tunes playing all December long, spending time with loved ones and letting real life melt away for a few days – Christmas is steeped in memories and traditions unique to each culture and family.
We love to see how Christmas is interpreted by each family in their own festive ways. So we recently headed south to Margate for a very festive day indeed with our long-time friend, Charlotte Jacklin of Betty Magazine, her partner Jack, and her new baby June to see how they’re celebrating their first Christmas as a family.
What is your favourite Christmas memory?
When I was at primary school, the teachers and my Nanna (who was the caretaker at my school) used to go the cinema every Christmas as a treat. The school used to hire a coach to take us there and back - it was so exciting and at the time such a big deal! Miracle on 34th Street, and Home Alone 2 were two films that I remember going to see, there used to be intervals in films then too, so I always looked forward to buying an ice cream half way through.
What are your favourite Christmas films?
Christmas films are my FAVOURITE. Romantic comedies are my guilty pleasure so Love Actually, The Holiday and always It’s a Wonderful Life. Harry Potter is always essential viewing this time of year too, I am not even entirely sure why, as the Christmas scenes in them are so short, but they still feel appropriately festive.
How will you be spending Christmas this year?
I will be spending it at my parent’s house with Jack and June. We have a small Christmas, which is just how I like it.
Christmas Eve is for relaxing, watching Christmas films and last minute wrapping of presents. On Christmas morning I like to go for walk in the morning, nothing too long but it’s always so lovely saying hello to people you see on your way – everyone’s in such a happy mood.
Christmas dinner probably looks different for every family, however in ours there is always cauliflower cheese on the table, mash AND roast potatoes and an allocated amount of pigs in blankets (to avoid any sausage-related arguments). Whilst we all love to get dressed up for lunch, there is a cut-off point where someone gives the nod – usually around 4pm - and the change into pyjamas is acceptable for all. After an afternoon nap, we always have leftover turkey sandwiches in the evening, which has to be my favourite thing about the whole day. Nothing ever tastes so good!
What are your favourite Christmas traditions to get you in the mood?
First things first we need to start with the tree, and it's always a real one. A Norwegian Spruce fills our flat with most beautiful smell that will forever remind me of Christmas. And as we did when I was younger, the decorations on the tree will tell a little story of times spent together as a family through the years. Once the tree is sorted, it’s about playing Christmas music from the 1st of December (and not a day before) and my first mince pie (all of which were indulged in for this shoot). In December I like to try and make the everyday special; light a few more candles at home, add fairy lights wherever I can for some twinkle and drink a few too many hot chocolates.
What are the new traditions you're making with June?
This year will be June's first ever Christmas, and my first Christmas as a mum. And as I keep remembering, I'm the parent now! It's now time for my boyfriend and me to start festive traditions that my daughter will hopefully cherish for many years to come. Her face the first time she saw the Christmas tree and the pile of decorations (on the morning of this shoot) was just magical and a moment I'll never forget. We’ve already started collecting decorations for the tree from places we’ve been together as a family. I love that the tree can be a memory bank for times spent together as she grows up. As she gets older I can’t wait to see what traditions we make together; it such a magical time of year and feels even more special to us now.
How do you dress for the festive season?
This year I’ll be wearing a Burgundy velvet dress, and using my Poppy bag in Silver, I always try to add a touch of silver and gold to my wardrobe whenever I can. The Poppy is my favourite bag. It is my Mary Poppins bag; it lets me fit all of June’s things and all the ‘mum things’ I need to have to hand – not that you’d know it. Then I just detach the handle to make it a bit more party-ready and I’m good to go!