Sew this is Christmas!

Last Sunday I enjoyed a perfect quiet moment to myself. Wallowing by the log fire with a belly full of lamb shanks, I raised a glass of Chianti to the newly installed Christmas tree in the corner and looked forward to my favourite time of the year.

To me, Christmas is all about the build-up, and mine has well and truly begun. Last Monday evening was the final of the Michelsberg Debating Competition.

Held at the Malmaison Hotel in Leeds, there was a really festive vibe as judges, teams and guests enjoyed carols and a glass of red wine, amongst twinkling lights and candles in the Chateaux lounge.

Jo Bancroft, trainee solicitor at Ford & Warren, won the award for Best Speaker, her prize, a bespoke suit, which will be made for her future husband when they get married in September 2012.

The motion was, ‘This house would rather be East than West,’ and judges included (from the left) myself, David Parkin (TheBusinessDesk.com), Adam Roney (Best Speaker 2010, ex Eversheds, now Founder of Calls9) and Andrew Stubbs QC (St. Pauls Chambers)

Sairish Tahir and Tom Woodhead of Pinsent Masons, pictured above, were voted Best Team and other finalists included Alex Cook & Dorothea Shreiver of Eversheds, and Nicola Collins and Anna Moran of Clarion Solicitors.

Other participating firms included DLA, Gordons, Squire Sanders Hammonds, DWF, Addleshaw Goddard, Cohen Cramer, Shulmans and BPP Law School.

The event was everything I’d hoped for – it was fun, edgy, and I have nothing but admiration for everyone who took part. Next year I will be opening it up to trainee barristers and young professionals outside the legal sector.

Then on Thursday evening it was my Christmas Drinks party.

Despite the filthy weather, well over a hundred customers and suppliers came to support me and let their hair down. What a buzz. It was my party and if alcohol consumption is anything to go by, we had a ball.

It was a bit like a private members club for people with a shared love of fine threads and a healthy disregard for clean living.

One of the great things about tailoring is that over time, many of your customers become friends, such as Steve and Anje in the photo below.

I got a real kick out of them all enjoying each others company and devouring my liquid hospitality provided by the legendess that is Miss Sophie Bratt.

The Christmas spirit was well and truly raining down upon (and into) us and to cap it off, I had my youngest daughter’s christening on Sunday.

There are few places more beautiful, charming and special to me than The Priory Church at Bolton Abbey, and the Rev. James Turnbull made what is always a joyful event, truly magical for us all.

Our best friends made it up from London to be with us and here is Paul Flynn, The Godfather, with the lady of the hour, Elizabeth Jasmine.

So, to all you ‘Bah! Humbug’ gibbons out there, I’ll say it loud, and I’ll say it clear. I love Christmas! Things are winding down a bit, my brother and his family are heading over from Melbourne and the final of ‘Strictly’ and ‘MasterChef’ are still to come. It’s all good.

Wishing you all a truly wonderful time of it over the next couple of weeks and here’s to more fun, fine suits and new friendships in the year 2012.