9 Women Tell Us About Their Christmas Traditions
9 Women Tell Us About Their Christmas Traditions

9 Women Tell Us About Their Christmas Traditions

Christmas is a time for family and friends and it’s the traditions that make the day feel extra special and personal – be it Christmas Eve at the pub, sitting down to listen to the King’s speech, or a frosty Boxing Day walk. Here, nine impressive women from the worlds of fashion, beauty and lifestyle tell us how they like to celebrate…

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Jewellery Designer Kiki McDonough Says…

“Because I’m divorced but good friends with my ex-husband, Christmas usually involves going from place to place. Sometimes we spend it together with our two sons and sometimes I am at home. On Christmas Eve, I’m often at our Sloane Square shop on Symons Street until lunchtime. We work right up until then, as it’s by far our busiest time of year. After closing up, I usually have a lot of last-minute present wrapping and cooking to do, as well as calls to my two sons to remind them of what is actually happening! This year we’re also having supper with some friends. On Christmas day there are 14 people getting together for lunch – it will be a mix of family and friends, including my mother who is 98. I will be cooking with my boyfriend Matthew Fort. Luckily, he loves cooking! We’re having a traditional Christmas lunch, but with beef, as I couldn’t face not being able to get hold of a turkey. Every Boxing Day I have a date with the Liverpool football team as I’m a big fan. They always play in the afternoon and we put it on the big screen while eating leftovers. Then, I spend three days watching telly and pottering around with the children coming and going. It’s a quiet time to recoup and build back my energy ready for the New Year.”

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Mint Velvet Co-Founder Liz Houghton Says…

“Our Christmas Eve involves lots of family games and fondue. I always prep the turkey by putting it in the Aga the night before as well. On Christmas morning we open stockings first, followed by a champagne brunch. Then we all take the dog for a walk before the rest of the extended family arrive. We’re cutting down on presents this year in an effort to be more sustainable, so we’re doing Secret Santa instead. As for lunch, it’s cocktails and canapés to start, followed by a very traditional Christmas meal with all the trimmings. In total, there’s usually around 20 of us, so it’s a proper gathering. In the afternoon, I expect there’ll be lots of games, cheese, wine and a big family quiz – it gets very competitive. We often go away straight after Christmas as we’re big skiers – I’m crossing my fingers we’ll be heading off to the slopes on Boxing Day.”

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Make-Up Artist & Entrepreneur Ruby Hammer MBE Says…

“There aren’t many Christmas Eve traditions I abide by, but my husband and mother-in-law are Catholic, so I usually tag along with them to midnight mass. As for Christmas morning, it’s often quite chilled – a nice breakfast, carols playing in the background and getting ready for the big lunch. It is always the immediate family, my daughter Reena and husband – and every other year, my brothers and my mother-in-law. The years Reena is with us (and not with her father) we stay home, otherwise we go to a hotel. I always make sure to have an extra space at the table so that anyone who’s on their own, travelling, split from their partner, without family etc can come along. It’s a time to be together. Our Christmas lunch is pretty traditional – turkey, mince pies, Christmas pudding – nothing extra. Honestly, it’s just about trying to get it all done. When my daughter Reena was young, she would open her stocking at the end of her bed as soon as she woke up, but we now wait until after Christmas lunch to dish out everybody's presents. In the afternoon we play lots of games and watch a film. After a long walk on Boxing Day, we visit the graveyard to give Christmas cheer to my late parents… They are always with us in our hearts.”

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Wedding Dress Designer Phillipa Lepley Says…

“Now that my children are no longer young, Christmas is a little calmer. Normally, though, we have family coming to stay, including my mother and my brothers. On Christmas Eve, everything is always prepared and ready. I usually finish making mince pies that afternoon or evening. We also have a family tradition whereby my husband goes to Moxons on Christmas Eve to get a lot of fresh fish and shellfish for dinner. We then have a big feast of seafood and salads. After that, I put the turkey in overnight to cook slowly in the Aga so that it falls apart the next day. Also, I set and decorate the table before bed. I forage all sorts of natural, beautiful pieces of flora and fauna and position everything down the middle and around the candles. My two daughters will be milling around wrapping things last minute too, and everyone’s starting to feel excited. On Christmas Day, we all get up quite late – we don’t start as early as we used to! It’s usually quite a quiet day with a walk before a late lunch around 3pm. We then have lovely wine and brandy, crackers and turkey with all the trimmings – plus, Christmas pud made by my mum. It’s a fairly traditional menu and always a team effort. On Boxing Day, we make turkey bubble and squeak and go for more long walks, watch films and indulge in lots of chocolate.”

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Manifesto Founder Anna Marcovici Says…

“This year we’re keeping it low key, baking gingerbread cookies with my daughters and giving them their stockings on Christmas Eve morning. It used to be a mix of toys and chocolate but, now they are 18 and 15, they want make-up and more make-up. Christmas Eve is a candle-lit seafood dinner followed by orange chocolate mousse produced by my youngest. We’ll have a bit of bubbly and some family games afterwards – you can’t go wrong with Charades. Christmas Day will be a traditional turkey with all the trimmings and a good bottle of red, followed by cheese and a sticky toffee pudding. We’re pretty much vegetarian the rest of the year but, at Christmas, everyone still wants the traditional meal. I’ve always insisted the kids make their own gifts rather than buy them, so in previous years I have got homemade soap, paintings or a solid body moisturising bar. On Boxing Day, we go for a brisk morning walk in Richmond Park and then I make Jamie Oliver’s turkey pie. I make it every single year and it’s always a hit. This hasn’t been an easy few years for many of us, so I feel like small luxuries and sensorial textures will bring comfort… I am manifesting some cashmere socks, silk pyjamas, Jo Malone bath oil and a silk kimono.”

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The Lady Garden Foundation Co-Founder Tamara Beckwith Says…

“Christmas for me and my family is always a full-on affair with my in-laws in Italy. Nonna Marina decorates her whole house with multiple Christmas trees, a festive Christmas table and candles. On Christmas Eve, the Italian tradition is to dress up and have a festive feast – everything is made from scratch. At midnight, we open a few presents. I am very English and can’t bear this, but I have given in a little bit over the years. Afterwards, our handmade stockings are left out and the children’s letters are sent up the chimney. Mince pies we’ve brought with us from London are left out, too, with milk and small oranges. On Christmas morning, we wear matching pyjamas and open stockings. When we get dressed for lunch, we all wear something red and head to church in the village. Luckily, lunch is an English affair with turkey and all the trimmings – bread sauce, chipolatas and I’ve converted everyone to mince pies. I also smuggle crackers every year from London – for me, they’re an essential part of any Christmas table. Finally, we do more presents after lunch and finish with a bit of dancing with the children.”

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Omorovizca Founder Margaret De Heinrich Says…

“We always spend Christmas Eve with my husband Stephen’s parents. We send the children outside to play while the ‘angels’ visit, put up the tree and decorate. It’s a family tradition, but it’s mainly for the benefit of our youngest son, who it never fails to amaze and delight. We then spend Christmas Day as a family in the mountains. It's very low key – we wear matching pyjamas, which our teenager insists on, and we all sit by the fire in front of the Christmas tree. After opening presents, we watch a traditional festive movie like Holiday Inn with Bing Crosby. As for Boxing Day, we enjoy going skiing with family and friends, followed by a long lunch with mulled wine and fondue.”

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Mirabeau Founder Jeany Cronk Says…

“Take a German from the Bavarian mountains and put her down in Provence, and you’re bound to get a bit of a Christmas mash-up. We’ve kept the German family tradition of eating fondue chinoise on Christmas Eve and have moved to eating a delicious huge seafood platter for our Christmas Day lunch – like they do down here. I’ll serve a version of a French 75 using our rosé gin and champagne, with a little pomegranate syrup to get us going on Christmas Eve. After all that food, we go out for a big walk in our local forest, where the heather will be blooming and enjoy our time as a family.”

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Wild At Heart Founder Nikki Tibbles Says…

“Christmas Eve always involves some last-minute Christmas shopping before our friends arrive in the evening. We then head to the local pub for dinner followed by midnight mass and home for drinks. We start Christmas Day with a dog walk and then it’s home for a big vegan breakfast, while I make my very own version of a snowball. My mother used to make them with advocaat and Babycham, but I make mine with advocaat, brandy and champagne. I always set the table for lunch with place names, candles and foliage and, after dinner, we may have a game of darts in the barn. People might be surprised to hear there’s no TV on Christmas Day in our house, just music, great food, good friends and lots of dogs. I have seven! I don’t really do anything on Boxing Day, except take my dogs on a really long walk before I go home to relax.”

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