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’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?
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!
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