How to get dressed: last-minute buys

I’m yet to buy a single gift. But if money were no object, I’d buy all my friends a cross-body bag.

A week to go. Are you ready? Have you shopped your last? I bet you have. I bet everything’s all smugly wrapped and under the tree. You’re such a show-off. My friend Colette regularly gets all her Christmas shopping done by the middle of November. I can’t hate her for it, though, because she’s my friend, and what she doesn’t know about pickled onion Monster Munch isn’t worth knowing, and how can you not like someone who loves pickled onion Monster Munch?

I, on the other hand, have yet to buy a single present, let alone wrap one, and even if I had bought them, I haven’t got a Christmas tree to put them under. The latter is not in itself a novelty. Christmas chez Hil consists of two baubles on the mantelpiece, a pine Diptyque candle, a massive illuminated sleigh on the roof and a Father Christmas who bellows, “Ho! Ho! Ho!” on the hour, radiating festive good cheer across Chelsea.

Or not. This Christmas, I promised myself it was all going to be so different. This year, I was going to buy everything I needed, apart from the sleigh, by the middle of November. Did it happen? Did it heck. Life got in the way, and here I am on December 17 with nothing to show for it and a pathological aversion to high streets the week before Christmas. All those people meandering about and stopping suddenly. There are rules for navigating packed pavements, and the first is to walk rapidly in a straight line. Thank God, then, for the internet.

If money were no object, I’d buy all the girls in my life a neat cross-body bag. Just because one of those would be an utter disaster with my boobs needn’t spoil the fun for everyone else, and most of my friends seem to swear by them. Gucci’s Soho style, for example, with a tassel zip is a modern classic (£715; net-a-porter.com).

Chloé’s Marcie is the one Fashion people would like, and therefore the one that I personally would like least (£575; net-a-porter.com), while Sophie Hulme’s modern-luxe bags include an envelope style called the Milner Nano (below, £250; matchesfashion.com). Somerset by Alice Temperley’s Yarley leopard-print leather bag is a bit chunkier, but could successfully zhoosh up a plain outfit (£179; johnlewis.com).

As for me, if someone could tell Father Christmas that somewhere between home and the gym recently I lost my new pompom beanie, I’d be ever so grateful. How did I manage that? How did it fall off my head without my realising? All I know is that when I left the gym, it was there and when I got home it wasn’t. Maybe it was abducted by aliens.

Hats apart, all I need now to complete the winter wonderland that is not my flat is a sign saying “Father Christmas, please stop here”, for him to ignore on the solid grounds that I’m 47 and should know better. Still, hope springs eternal. A week to go and counting.

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