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The Chupi Journal


A Very Chupi Christmas: A Peek at Chupi’s Favourite Festive Traditions and Inspiring Ideas

Wednesday, December 1st, 2021

From her heirloom Christmas tree decoration collection to her beloved Christmas Eve ritual, Chupi CEO Chupi Sweetman takes us behind the scenes on her favourite festive traditions.

What most excites you about Christmas?

Christmas is so magical because it forces us to slow down. It turns the world up into its brightest and sparkliest, and then turns it down so that you can spend time with the people you love. That’s what I adore about it – that, and those lazy, hazy days between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, when it feels like the whole world slowing down together, are my favourite.

What does Christmas mean to you?

I like seeing people making their own traditions. It’s little things, like deciding that you don’t have to eat turkey if you don’t like it. We never have turkey for Christmas dinner, we always go for something different. Maybe one year we’ll have duck and another year we’ll have a nut roast. Every year it’s really good fun. I love the idea that we build our own Christmas together. Growing up, mum really focused on that with our Christmas.

Do you have a favourite festive tradition?

Brian and I both give each other a Christmas tree decoration, and then write the date on it. We’ve built up this little archive of beautiful decorations over the years, and they celebrate some terrific moments. I’ve got two perfect little ceramic dogs that have the date that we adopted Poppy and Rufus on them. There’s a beautiful white ceramic heart with ‘Sputnik’ written on it in gold, because that was our nickname for Aya when I was pregnant (that same year, I gave Brian a little gold frame with a picture from our 12-week scan). We have gorgeous glittering birds that mum gave me because our Christmas tree at home was always covered in birds – I love those because it’s a lovely reminder of home.

All traditions start somewhere, and this is ours. It doesn’t have to be the things your great-grandparents did or the things your parents did. It can be about how you want to define tradition. It’s such an exciting thing, that we get to make and start our own traditions.

How has having Aya changed your approach to Christmas?

I’m very aware that the things we are doing today might be her traditions someday – the things she will do with her children, and their children and on into the future. So I’m very conscious of honouring the traditions from my past that I love and everything that felt special to me growing up.

What are your Christmas plans?

For me, this year will be all about small, intimate, but very special celebrations. Having friends over for supper, and just really enjoying the fact that we can be together again in a smaller, more intimate way.

What are your top tips for festive entertaining?

I get all the beautiful things out – the special plates, the gorgeous glasses, and amazing wine – but I’ll cheat and just order delicious food because we have so many great restaurants nearby. I find when people are coming over, they’re not coming for your cooking, they’re coming to hang with you. I love making it an experience, getting out napkins and candles, and making the table beautiful, but I’m not afraid to serve a quick pasta for dinner with chocolate brownies for dessert!

You love dressing up. How do you approach Christmas outfit planning?

I love Christmas because all of the sequins come into the shops and I get to add my sequin wardrobe! I want to wear my good things every day. My grandmother was very into the idea of wearing your good things; I always remember her in her beautiful, perfectly pinned up hair, her blazer and her silk flowers. And this could be on a random Monday! She really passed that joy of getting dressed up to me.

Tell us about your tradition of buying yourself something special to mark the year.

When I started my first job I was straight out of Uni, and I was so young and so raw and working a wild, 70-hour week. At the end of that first year, I woke up and realised that the year was an absolute blur and I remembered nothing from it. That’s what sparked the decision to buy myself something special to remember it by.

I went into the Mulberry in London’s Piccadilly and bought a bag. It was eye-waveringly expensive, and I had never spent so much money on one thing in my whole life, but I still use it every day. Whenever I look at it, I remember that moment – how young I was and the excitement of that first job.

Ever since then, every year, I choose a special piece to remember the year by – these days it’s mostly diamonds though!

What’s on your wishlist for this year?

For me, it is the Luna opal and diamond ring. It’s such a joyous, exciting and fun cocktail ring to wear on my right hand. Coming out of the year we’ve had, there’s so much need for celebration and joy in the world.

What do you love about Christmas at Chupi?

It’s amazing. Whether it’s in our Dublin store or in answering the emails and DMs or talking to people on the phone – it will restore your faith in humanity, it’s the most magical time of the year. People are reaching out and telling us stories of the people they love, of the moments they’re celebrating for themselves. There’s so much hope and joy, it’s like nothing else.

One of my favourite Christmas traditions is spending Christmas Eve in our Dublin store. For the last 10 years, Kate and I go in, let our team go home and look after the last few customers. Then we’ll go and have a glass of champagne with our husbands and our girls and head back for dinner at home. It’s really fun.

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