Woman & Home (South Africa) - - Exclusive Interviews -

Ac­tress JEN­NIFER STEYN, 56, lives in Muizen­berg with her hus­band Nicky Re­belo, 60. She has three grown-up stepchil­dren.

Host or guest? I host quite of­ten. Peo­ple al­ways o er to con­trib­ute some­thing and, even if I say it’s not nec­es­sary, they’ll spoil me and bring flow­ers, choco­lates, wine, or bub­bly. Fes­tive tra­di­tions? Lunch at my house on Christ­mas Day – the more loved ones I can squeeze around the ta­ble, the bet­ter. Though, this year, things might be a bit di er­ent… Our son’s get­ting mar­ried on the 22nd, so lunch might have to be bread and wa­ter! Christ­mas decor? Our cel­e­bra­tion wouldn’t be com­plete with­out the tree. Putting it up is a spe­cial rit­ual for me and my hus­band – we’re like chil­dren. We still have dec­o­ra­tions we made with the kids 20 years ago.

Pa­per crowns – yes, or no? If we have crack­ers, we wear the hats. But this year, I think we’ll use the mous­taches we made for my hus­band’s 60th in July. We had so much fun with them and I can’t bear to throw them away.

Any dis­as­ters? Fish is a favourite on our fes­tive menu – usu­ally kingk­lip or yel­low-tail. One year, I clean for­got to put the kingk­lip in the oven. My guests ar­rived and we started chat­ting and then, all of a sud­den, it was time to eat. All I had was raw fish! Let’s just say, lunch was later than I’d planned.

Tipple of choice? A vodka tonic fol­lowed by a good red wine. We en­joy a glass of dry Cham­pagne, too.

Top of your playlist? We try to avoid tra­di­tional car­ols and do some­thing a bit di er­ent. To us, the best fes­tive sound is that of Cuban band Buena Vista So­cial Club’s epony­mous al­bum.

The mo­ment you dread? Dread is a strong word; I love to en­ter­tain. Hav­ing said that, I can never get it to­gether to do the tea and co ee af­ter a meal. My guests of­ten just help them­selves.

Fond­est Christ­mas mem­ory? One year when I was grow­ing up, we de­cided to buy gifts that suited each fam­ily mem­ber’s quirks. The one that stands out the most is the tiny toy hairdryer that was given to my eldest brother – he’s very par­tic­u­lar about his hair. I still laugh think­ing about it now!

What gets you in the fes­tive mood? Cook­ing and pre­par­ing. The closer it gets to ar­rival time, the more ex­cited I be­come.

Watch Jen­nifer in the new Leon Schus­ter film, Frank and Fear­less, on in cin­e­mas from 23 Novem­ber.

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