“It’s Not Legal To Hire A Baby Reindeer. I’ve Looked Into It”

“It’s Not Legal To Hire A Baby Reindeer. I’ve Looked Into It”

How does Strictly Come Dancing presenter Claudia Winkleman do Christmas? With a huge jar of sweets and loads of Baileys, it’s turns out…

Being the host

"Get more food than you can possibly imagine. Get a bottle of Baileys – people love Baileys. They don’t really like it in March but suddenly on 25 December it’s all: ‘Want a Baileys on ice?’… ‘Of course I do!’ Buy an enormous amount of cheese. People eat endlessly and I never want Christmas to end, so when they say: ‘Is that it?’, I say: ‘No, of course it isn’t – sit back down, have some crackers and Stilton, and let’s carry on!’"

Dealing with a hangover

"You don’t. The only answer is to climb into a small cupboard and wait for it to pass. The other answer is fried food – in large quantities – and lots of water. But basically, give up. I don’t think it’s OK to say: ‘Oh, just keep going’ – nope, give in to the hangover."

Watching Crimbo TV

"Watch as much as you can. Television at Christmas time is brilliant. The BBC has this new show, I think it’s going to be on about three times, called Dickensian and it’s a drama where all of the Dickens characters meet. I can’t wait for it. I love Christmas TV."

Festive traditions

"The five of us – me, my husband and three children – have this massive jar. It remains empty for most of the year, but just before Christmas, we fill it with whatever sweets we want – everybody gets a choice. There’s more discussion about ‘The Jar’ from September onwards than anything else. Suddenly, one of my kids will turn around and go: ‘You know what, Mum? I’m going to get Kinder eggs.’ And I’ll say: ‘Interesting.’ And then one will go: ‘Nah, I’m doing Percy Pigs,’ and then we’ll commit to this by writing it down in pen. Not pencil, pen. Even the four-year-old gets involved: ‘Can I have little Smarties?’… ‘Yes, you can!’"

MORE: Are you a Christmas fashion Grinch?

Being a yuletide enthusiast

"I’m obsessed by Christmas – if I could hire baby reindeer, I would. It’s actually not legal, I’ve looked into it. You just can’t have Christmas animals delivered to your house (yes, I’m appalled). So yeah, I really love Christmas. You know those people who say: ‘People are putting up their decorations too early’? It’s never too early! If it was up to me, they’d start in June. My husband always grows a beard for Christmas. Sometimes he starts too early, but we’ve now agreed on 1 November. Even when my kids were very little, they’d always know Christmas was coming because of the beard."

Last-minute present ideas

"I think beauty products make a good last-minute gift. My family and I – because we feel too guilty about buying a photo frame or a bread bin – only buy products we can actually use or eat. I’ve just done a beauty gift box collaboration with Marks & Spencer, so one of those would be a good last-minute pressie to have on hand."

Claudia Winkleman’s Gift Collection for M&S Beauty is in store now

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