Clean up with Anthea
Anthea Turner reveals just how to get your house - and life - spick and span for the perfect Christmas
The thought of getting ready for Christmas with all that cooking, cleaning and present-shopping is enough to leave anyone frazzled. But never fear, presenter Anthea Turner has transformed herself into our Christmas Cleaning Fairy, to share her tips on how to have a stress-free festive time…
Anthea, why oh why do we get so stressed with Christmas?!
We get carried away on a tidal wave of expectation. It’s ONE day!
What’s your advice for making life a bit easier?
Don’t be a martyr – we’re all guilty of not delegating. If you have family coming, ask them to bring food.
Yes, people get overwhelmed by the food shopping…
I know! We have this bizarre notion that we have to get everything done before Christmas, packing our cupboards like there’s going to be an apocalypse. We need to chill out, and not feel guilty doing some shopping online.
What’s your typical Christmas?
It used to be different when I was with a family and children – more ‘normal’. People want the Christmas they see on TV, but that’s not always realistic. It annoys me that we are bullied by the retail industry, like mince pies in shops in September! I know Theresa May has lots to do, but could she make a law that we can’t speak about Christmas until after Halloween?!
What are your plans this year?
I’ll be popping in on different friends and I’ll see my stepdaughters, too. We will all try to get together at some point, but we won’t get our knickers in a twist too much about it all being on actual Christmas Day.
What’s your speciality?
Roast potatoes. I did a cookery course with Mary Berry and I always do my roast potatoes the night before – they taste nicer. I do use goose fat. There’s nothing difficult about Christmas lunch, except getting it all to finish at the same time.
Cleaning Fairy, what’s the secret to keeping your own house spotless?
The most important thing is always turfing out junk. I have this mantra that if it’s not beautiful, useful or seriously sentimental, then get rid.
When’s the best time to do it?
Don’t wait until spring for cleaning, start now – especially if you have children to get ready for Christmas. You’re going to have lots more toys soon, so you might as well start getting rid of some. Tell the kids, ‘Lots of children aren’t going to have such a nice Christmas, so why don’t you choose some things you don’t play with very often to give away?’
What do you do with presents you don’t like?
They go straight in the bag for the charity shop! People keep things because they think they should, because they were presents. Don’t. Take it to a charity shop or car boot sale.
How do you avoid the stress of present-buying?
Buy them throughout the year. You’ll save money if you take advantage of sales.
Are you good at choosing presents?
Yes, that’s why I’ve launched The At Home Box Company. I love giving and really finding something people will love.
What would you love to receive? A plant, candles or red wine. Don’t buy me perfume – I’ve got a particular nose!
Any tips for wrapping presents?
I always buy wrapping paper that I can use throughout the year. I also bulk-buy gift bags, which I can use for weddings and birthdays, too. Cellophane is amazing for wrapping something awkward.
Do you send Christmas cards?
No, what’s the point? You could spend £120 on stamps and you can’t buy a decent card for less than £3! A good friend of mine spends his Christmas working at Crisis, so instead of cards I donate meals to them.
How will you spend New Year?
I haven’t really thought about it. I do enjoy it, but I think it’s silly to worry about having an amazing plan.
Do you make New Year’s Resolutions?
No, I can’t wait until January. If I am going to do something, I don’t put it off!