Tam’s choice: Christmas

Nude, violet and greige – these are my staple colours. My daughters are of the opinion that these are in fact all “non-colours”, and recently accused me thus: “You’d even decorate the Christmas tree in muddy colours if you thought you could get away with it.” That’s where you’re wrong, my dears. As much as I love these colours, I have no plans to decorate my tree with them. For years, my tree has been bedecked in a deep, warm red – the American Xmas red, the red of Santa’s suit from the Coca-Cola adverts. And that isn’t going to change any time soon. I did consider a Christmas tree in icy, silvery tones, inspired by my favourite Christmas story, The Snow Queen, by Hans Christian Andersen. How beautifully it would sparkle – but no.

Christmas Eve requires a lot of preparation from all of us. The children make crafts as their anticipation builds. My husband and I discuss and organise gifts. As well as our little family unit, various members of our extended family join us each year. The evening’s events need to be scheduled – scripted, some might even say – and the dinner needs to be planned. We used to always have cold food on Christmas Eve, including the ubiquitous potato salad. Practising modesty is something I picked up from my mother’s German side. It’s meant to remind us that the baby Jesus had very little. By comparison, the festive celebrations over the next few days will be all the more intense – befitting my Italian dad’s side of the family from Emilia-Romagna. Like my parents, we make time for the Christmas story – after all, that’s what this is all about – and we make music together with our children.

For us, preparation and success are synonymous with both joy and effort. The last thing for the family to do before our unforgettable evening begins is get dolled up. Before we raise our first toast, I’ll slip into a sequin skirt from ICI MAINTENANT – that’s when I’ll get really excited, because we’re ready to start. Which skirt am I going to wear this year? The red one, of course – it’s absolutely perfect for Christmas Eve. There’ll be plenty of other opportunities for exciting looks in “muddy colours”.

Have a wonderful Christmas!