The Gift of Giving

Clare Edwards Personal Styling

The John Lewis advert is out in all its usual emotion-inducing glory, Selfridges have sold out of their beauty advent calendars (yet again) and I've baked (and eaten) my first batch of mince pies, it can only mean one favourite shopping season is upon us. I will put it out there now that I am a MASSIVE fan of Christmas. Child-level obsessive. Some decorations have been known to stay up all year round in our house (well, it's bad luck to take them down after 6th January....) I also love this time of the year as there is no better time to get your shopping game on.

When Christmas shopping I like to go by the mantra 'gift one, keep one' just to keep up with the festive spirit. The whole experience is much more pleasurable when you give yourself little treats from the Chanel make-up counter throughout the day. Kind of like your own reward chart except the rewards aren't Match Attax cards or those awful cuddly toys with the huge eyes. My one word of advice though is EARLY. Get all your shopping done early. Do not even attempt to enter any shop whatsoever after the 15th December. If you do you will be consumed by such shopping rage that it will ruin your Christmas entirely. You won't be able to move for all the men with Jo Malone bags and Molton Brown gift boxes. Don't say I didn't warn you. Ripping your list up by 15th December means you have ten days to indulge in the most important part of the holiday season which is spreading love and cheer ie drinking mulled wine, quaffing champagne and eating canapes while wearing all the gifts you gave to yourself.

There is one aspect of Christmas shopping that I feel needs to become part of everyone's annual ritual. Buying your own presents. We are all searching for that ultimate selfless act. The one thing that truly shows we are putting the needs of others above our own. Surely saving those we love from the perils of last-minute present hunting is a gift worth giving? All they have to do is wrap them and bask in the glow of your delighted face come Christmas morning (rather than your over-rehearsed 'Oh my goodness, you shouldn't have' face). There would be no need to make the dreaded post-Christmas visit to the shops only to find out you're one day past the refund deadline. I truly believe self-shopping (or selfless-shopping as I like to call it) is the way to go. And it means I'll be opening my Selfridges Lancome advent calendar on 1st December with a decidedly smug grin on my face.