Cri­sis at Christ­mas? Don’t panic! Glo­ria brings peace & har­mony

Glo­ria Hun­ni­ford trans­forms into the spirit of Christ­mas, of­fer­ing sage ad­vice on how to have the most mag­i­cal time ever...

Best - - CONTENTS -

Best’s res­i­dent agony aunt, Glo­ria Hun­ni­ford, 77, has a life­time of ex­pe­ri­ence be­hind her, so who bet­ter to wave her magic wand and share some tips on how to get the best out of Christ­mas – with­out fall­ing out, stress­ing out or los­ing sight of what’s re­ally im­por­tant?

PLAN AHEAD

Buy your pre­sents in ad­vance. That way, you avoid all the stressed-out Christ­mas shop­pers! I start pick­ing up pre­sents early on for the grand­chil­dren, so I can grad­u­ally fill a Christ­mas stock­ing with lit­tle treats as well as their main present. Even my husband, Stephen, gets a stock­ing – it doesn’t mat­ter what age you are! Noth­ing gets you in the mood like a carol ser­vice on Christ­mas Eve. I go to Hever Cas­tle, in Kent – it’s my spir­i­tual rest­ing place, you could say. Christ­mas has be­come so com­mer­cialised that it’s a nice re­minder of what it’s all about. By the time you get out of the church, it’s ac­tu­ally Christ­mas Day, and every­one’s shak­ing hands and wish­ing each other Merry Christ­mas. It’s so warm­ing. Then it’s back home, for mince pies and mulled wine.

‘Christ­mas comes but once a year, so leave Scrooge in the corner and en­joy your­self!’

IF YOU’RE HOST­ING...

Make sure your stuff­ing’s in the freezer! One year we had to do with­out any – I left it too late and it was all sold out. Some of the big stores do great pre-made stuff­ing. Per­son­ally, I can’t be both­ered mak­ing it my­self. Make life easy. I also buy a boned tur­key from my lo­cal butcher, with ham, chicken and goose inside.

FAM­ILY IS EV­ERY­THING

Don’t lose sight of what it’s all about. For me, the mean­ing of Christ­mas is fam­ily and al­ways has been. That goes way back to my par­ents. They lived in a very small two-up, two-down house but, some­how, they man­aged to squeeze 16 of us, with hus­bands, wives and chil­dren, into the small sit­tin­groom, ca­ter­ing in a tiny kitchen for 16 peo­ple! It was chaos, but it was won­der­ful chaos.

AVOID THE ROWS

Christ­mas is a breed­ing ground for fam­ily fall-outs. For­tu­nately, I’ve never re­ally en­coun­tered it. I’m such a fan of the fes­tive sea­son, I do ev­ery­thing to keep the peace. The past cou­ple of years, af­ter din­ner, var­i­ous guests turned up un­til there were nearly 30 of us. We sang karaoke un­til 4am. It’s hard to row when you’ve got ter­ri­ble singers mur­der­ing the lat­est hits!

HAN­DLING ‘SCROOGE’

There’s al­ways some­one who missed the memo about get­ting in the fes­tive spirit, who sits in the corner look­ing glum. You’ll not change them, so I say, leave Scrooge in the corner and DO NOT DIS­TURB! Christ­mas comes but once a year, so en­joy your­self.

GET INTO THE SEA­SONAL SPIRIT

There’s noth­ing like watch­ing a fes­tive film with your loved ones. My all­time favourite is White Christ­mas. I al­ways have Christ­mas mu­sic play­ing, and I love all-singing, all-danc­ing dec­o­ra­tions. I go all out!

REACH OUT TO OTH­ERS

Think of those who’ll be lonely or are miss­ing some­body at this time. Work­ing on the BBC show Rip Off Bri­tain, we come across peo­ple who don’t see a liv­ing soul from one day to the next. Invit­ing a soli­tary neigh­bour for Christ­mas din­ner is a lovely idea. And help­ing peo­ple makes you feel good, too.

‘Don’t lose sight of what it’s all about. For me, the mean­ing of Christ­mas has al­ways been fam­ily’

Glo­ria with two of her much-loved grand­chil­dren

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