Christmas can be a magical time of meals, gift-giving and festive TV, but even for the luckiest of us, it can also be a bit of a nightmare with family tension, last-minute shopping and terrible presents.
So RadioTimes.com asked Steph and Dom Parker, the champagne-loving ‘posh couple’ from Channel 4’s Gogglebox, for their top tips on how to breeze through the Christmas period and have, as they would say, “a jolly good time.”
Do have a drink before food shopping
Steph: I do the supermarket shop on the 23rd in Marks and Spencer, elbows out, willing people to get out of my f****g way. I have a few shots before I go in.
Don’t leave it too late
Steph: I always think, ‘oh God, we’re never going to get Christmas off the ground and one year I left it all so late that Christmas literally got delivered. So there were hampers and food from Fortnums (Fortnum & Mason), and I didn’t step outside the door, not even to Marks & Spencer. Brilliant, but a very expensive way of doing it.
Do be careful about which presents you buy
Dom: The worst present I ever got was a book on etiquette. It was fairly pointless— it’s a little bit late in the day now for that.
Steph: I once got given tie dye short dungarees. Vile.
Do vary your guest-list
Steph: We have my father, Dom’s mother, our two children and assorted guests throughout the day depending on which part of the day gets more contentious. We bring in more people to diffuse the tension.
Round about Downton Abbey time, it gets a bit fractious because everyone’s tired by then. We’ve done the food and we’ve done the Queen— you know, we’ve done Christmas, so it’s good to have someone new come and have a glass of O’Be Joyful with us.
Do watch out for the turkey
Dom: I usually do the turkey. Last year was perfect but the year before I’d cooked it in an electric fan oven with a Mrs Beeton 1896 recipe and of course it was way overdone. We had to cut out about an inch of it. Plus I’d done it in a plastic bag and it melted into the Turkey’s skin. But everyone was very nice about it.
Don’t bother with exercise
Steph: I don’t do a post-lunch walk. I’m not into that, I’d like to be pushed along in a wheelchair, that would be perfect.
Do irritate your in-laws
Steph: We had a family tape with old-fashioned Christmas songs we’ve had for 30 years and as children, when we heard that music playing that was the sign that we could come downstairs to get our presents. So it’s quite an emotive memory.
Dom always gets excited about the Pogues’ Fairytale of New York. He plays it over and over and over again. My father goes bananas, so he plays it even more just to wind him up. It’s his little Christmas joke.