The Christmas Tag
Do you prefer a real Christmas tree or synthetic?
I've had both over the years. As a child my earliest memories are of a variety of synthetic trees - with Doctor Who chocolates hanging off them one year! - but in my teenage years we had real trees for a number of years. Mum would approach the tree and its decoration like a military enterprise! Nowadays I have a tiny little synthetic Christmas tree, because anything else is too much effort!
You're in a coffee shop, it's December, what do you pick up?
Um, coffee? To be honest it's very rare I'm in a coffee shop. If I'm out Christmas shopping and in needed of a sit down and something to drink, it's far more likely that you'll find me in the pub, enjoying a nice wintry dark real ale!
What's your favourite colour scheme for decorating the three?
Well, looking at my diddy little tree as I type it's gold. I don't think you can go wrong with red and gold really. It just seems rightly festive. And Jethro Tull's Christmas Album or Phil Spector's one playing as you decorate it of course!
Giving or receiving?
If anyone says they don't like receiving gifts, they're lying! It's the best thing to rip open your presents and it's the second best thing to watch others rip open theirs, see their face light up and hear them say thank you.
To mince pie or not to?
To not. We never did stuff like mince pies or Xmas puds at our house growing up, it was all about the nibbles and the chocolates. I remember working as a disability advisor over Christmas 98, one of my first jobs, and there was nothing to do as the office completely wound down. In the run up to closing for the season, we got given mince pies and sherry. It's the first and last time I've ever had either. The mince pies I hated, the sherry was passable but in the end, not my drink.
What's your traditional Christmas lunch?
Traditional as possible. Love a turkey with all the trimmings, especially pigs in blankets! As many of them as poss please!
Christmas dinner was always a BIG thing round ours, with Mum working like a maniac to get it all on the table sometime between 2pm-3pm for us all and Dad working his magic with his legendary trifles (which I don't like, black sheep of the family, me) But the family has depleted over the years due to bereavements and others doing their own thing, so it'll just be me, Mum and Dad with Christmas lunch with a nice drop of wine and an altogether more settled and relaxed, quiet atmosphere.
Christmas day fashion?
I like to feel good on Christmas day, so that means getting spruced up. Ideally I'd have been given something new to wear as a present but if not I'll pick out a nice shirt or even a Xmassy jumper and maybe even break out the Xmas aftershave too (I rarely wear aftershave) But chances are I'll be in my jimjams (which I usually get as a prezzie too) by 7pm!
What's your favourite Christmas song?
All of them! I love a good Christmas song. Wizzard's one (which I've chosen for the image above) is quite special to me as I loved it as a kid and my Dad would always joke that I really would like it to be Christmas everyday. I later spent an entire Christmas at work, 2001 I think it was, telling clients that our receptionist Jane was one of the little kids singing on that track, and they believed me much to her confusion and later, embarrassment as she began to field questions about it!
White Christmas by Bing Crosby holds a special place in our families heart because Bing was my Grandfather's favourite. It'll be our first Christmas without him this year and I know we'll feel a little bit different and I daresay even more emotional hearing it this year.
What I hate though is those compilation Christmas albums. You can never get a definitive one! You'll find one with almost all the hits you want...then realise that the version of Fairytale of New York on there is a cover by Ronan Keating, the singing Kermit!
What's your favourite Christmas film?
What's your favourite Christmas film?
Just like Christmas songs, I'm a sucker for a Christmas movie too (well, when you like music and film as much as I, you're bound to) There are of course the ultimate favourites, White Christmas (though I've always had a soft spot for Holiday Inn on account of Fred Astaire) Love Actually, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation and, because I loved it as a kid Santa Claus: The Movie with Dudley Moore. Unusually I have never really taken to It's A Wonderful Life, which always rates highly in anyone's poll of Christmas films. But I will give a shout out for Christmas films that are, in a way, less Christmassy; films like John Hughes' brilliant Planes Trains and Automobiles (which is about Thanksgiving of course) and Bill Forsyth's Comfort and Joy, that delightful piece of Scottish whimsy I watch each year.
Open presents before or after lunch?
Before! As a kid I was up with a lark, could barely sleep a wink on Christmas Eve I was so excited. Even today I still find it difficult to get a decent night's sleep, it's like the child in me is still calling the shots! My sister and I were always up early shredding the wrapping paper as we hungrily opened our prezzies. It's still a first thing in the morning tradition.