The final, pre-Christmas build up is now upon us and we're reaching peak excitement levels! As part of our collaboration with the lovely folk at Arnotts, where you can shop for every single loved one under one roof, over the next 12 days we'll be catching up with some of Ireland's most familiar names, finding out what Christmas means for them and what they'll be wishing for. Yesterday, we profiled IMAGE.ie Editor Ellie Balfe, and today, Deputy Editor of IMAGE.ie and Beauty Editor of IMAGE Brides, Caroline Foran, talks us through her most beloved time of year.
What is your earliest memory of Christmas?
My earliest memories of Christmas involve hiding in the living room, playing Christmas songs on tape - mid November! - hoping my parents wouldn't find me and give out to me. Christmas couldn't come early enough as far as I was concerned and I'm convinced I fell into a genuine depression every St Stephen's Day. I also recall a very magical moment when I stuck my letter to Santa on the chimney, then left the room to get something, only to come back and find it had instantly been sucked up towards the North Pole. Then there was the time I was convinced I heard Santa wish me a Merry Christmas from the roof, but looking back it was probably just a jolly drunkard on his way home from the pub... or was it?
Describe your perfect Christmas?
My perfect Christmas is a quiet one. My parents, my boyfriend and I (not forgetting the heart of our family, Millie the dog) all cosied up around the fire, with some Michael Buble Christmas tunes playing, plenty of booze and mince pies, and the wind beating on the windows outside. I adore the feeling of being safe and warm inside while the wind howls down the chimney; it's incredibly comforting.
What do you like most about Christmas - the build up or the week itself?
I used to prefer the build up, I actually got sad when Christmas came around because I didn't want it to end. Now that I've grown up (a bit) and have learned to enjoy the moment, I live for those days where everything slows down and you get to spend quality time with my favourite people. I still get a massive kick out of going to pick out my Christmas tree and blasting out the festive tunes - especially now that I've moved out of my house and can put my own stamp on things.
What are the essentials in your household when it come to Christmas day dinner?
I would describe it less as dinner and more as one big fat roll-over food fest. I tend to over eat when it comes to the turkey dinner (as does everyone) so I actually look forward more so to the Christmas day breakfast an the Stephen's Day leftovers. An absolute essential is the post-Christmas triple decker sandwich. My brother is the champion of these. Bread, mayo, turkey, ham, cranberry sauce, stuffing and sliced-up refried roast potatoes - that's the secret ingredient that will take your Christmas sambo to stratospheric heights.
What does Christmas mean for you?
Christmas has become an opportunity to reflect on the year that's been and think ahead to what I'd like to set my sights on over the next twelve months. I like to align myself with nature and behave like the bears in the woods where possible; I'm very good at hibernating and Christmastime, with Christmas movies and festive winter warmers is the perfect time for that.
What presents are you hoping to buy this year for your nearest and dearest?
I want to buy my boyfriend a watch - he likes them fairly minimalist in style; a set of whiskey glasses for my dad; I usually have to use Christmas as an opportunity to update my 33 year old brother's wardrobe, he always just asks for 'stylish clothes', but I know there's so much choice in Arnotts, and for my best friend I want to get her an Alex and Ani bracelet!
What's on your own wishlist??
I will be asking santa/hoping for new cosy PJs, a pair of leather flat boots, a 2016 diary, a backpack and as I've just bought a new house I'm hoping for a nice big throw for my couch (or a couch itself, if I'm to be extra greedy).
Browse the gallery above for Caroline's curated gift guide. For more shopping inspiration, head in-store or visit arnotts.ie online.