Elegance and Grace - Lauren Norling talks with You & I

She is tall, elegant, and a graceful woman who has been a familiar face in the city for the past few years after making Hyderabad her home for three years post-college in London. Lauren has a lot of extended family in Hyderabad, and has been visiting the city for the past 15 years, and therefore she is more Hyderabadi than one would imagine at first glance. She is a peripatetic soul, who now lives in New York City, and is currently working as a fashion consultant and a contributor to Harpers Bazaar India. She loves fashion, travelling, and has an immense love for India. We caught up with her recently to find out how she celebrates Christmas.

The holiday season, particularly Christmas, is celebrated in a grand way abroad. What are some of your fondest memories of the holidays?
Growing up, this time of year was my favourite, not because of presents or anything like that, but because of my family. My grandmother was the matriarch of the family, which is really big, and insisted that we all spend the holidays together; actually, not just the holidays, but even birthdays and weekends. We’ve always been family-centric and so we spend Christmas Eve together and bring in Christmas, too. The whole family meets in the afternoon; cooks a Christmas feast, bakes cookies, and sings carols. We celebrate a typical Christmas tradition in our own way. The holiday season for me has evolved over the years that I’ve been away from home in America, living in different places I haven’t been able to go back every year. So, as much as it is still about family, now it’s more about enjoying the holiday wherever I am, and being grateful and happy for what I have (smiles).

How did you grow up celebrating Christmas? Are there any particular traditions that you follow?
With my family, the tradition we used to follow was to bake cookies before Christmas Eve. We used to get a tree---one that was cut down rather than bought from the market.  Then of course, there was decorating it, which was always fun. Another tradition we follow is the whole family singing Christmas carols.

You just moved to New York City that is famous for its Christmas decorations and markets. What are your thoughts on it?
More than the ones in New York, my favourite is Winter Wonderland in London. London, in general, has become such a big part of my life. No city decorates like London does. I was in the city two weeks ago and went to Winter Wonderland three times. The games, mulled wine, and food are absolutely amazing. Going with a large group of friends and getting into the Christmas mood is super exciting. I have only been to one Christmas market in New York, but it wasn’t even close to the one in London.

How will you be celebrating Christmas this year?
This year, I have decided to stay in NYC. It is my first time spending the holiday season in New York. I will be getting my own tree and decorating it. I will also be going to the Rockefeller Centre to see the iconic Christmas tree, and to watch the Nutcracker ballet – basically making the most of the festival season in NYC. I love to cook, so I’m making my own feast this year and will keep the special childhood tradition in mind. Ice-skating in Central Park is the quintessential NYC Christmas outing that I am looking forward to doing this year without a doubt! Leading up to Christmas, I love watching Christmas movies, not necessarily the old ones, but anything with a Christmas theme. The movies are a fun way of getting one excited for Christmas. It puts me in the Christmas mood. Christmas for me are the days leading up to the festival more than the day itself. It is about everything surrounding it. I love the decorations and listening to the Christmas music…all of that. And of course, attending Christmas parties is fun, too! These little things are what make Christmas the most special for me.

What is your Christmas wish-list?
The Lady Dior bag from their new art project (smiles). Those bags are gorgeous!             – as told to Suneela