It’s the time of year when Strictly Come Danc­ing judge Dame Darcey Bus­sell likes to take a few days off and tuck into some mince pies

Good Housekeeping (UK) - - Contents -

Dame Darcey Bus­sell

The for­mer bal­le­rina lives in Lon­don with hus­band, An­gus, and their daugh­ters, Phoebe, 17, and Zoe, 14.

What’s at the top of your Christ­mas to-do list?

Christ­mas out­ings with fam­ily and friends, like go­ing ice-skat­ing, vis­it­ing a Christ­mas mar­ket or see­ing a show at the theatre.

What fes­tive song is guar­an­teed to get you on the dance­floor?

Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christ­mas Is You.

Are you a min­i­mal­ist or do you go all-out when dec­o­rat­ing?

I try to keep it pretty clas­sic, candles and a tree. Not too much tin­sel.

What Christ­mas food could you not live with­out?

Mince pies and cream.

What are your fes­tive must-haves?

Crack­ers, in­clud­ing a few lit­tle ones on the tree, a large tube of Smar­ties, tan­ger­ines and nuts.

Who cooks the turkey and all the trim­mings?

My hus­band and I share it… then there’s no one to blame if it goes wrong!

What are your top tips for a has­sle-free Christ­mas Day?

Start early with re­gards to plan­ning, keep it sim­ple and ide­ally put some­one who really en­joys cook­ing in the kitchen!

What is your sig­na­ture dish?

Bus­sell sprouts! Sorry, I just had to say that! I’m not a very good cook, but I do try to cook a large range of veg­eta­bles.

Bows and rib­bons or plain presents?

I be­lieve the wrap­ping is just as im­por­tant as the present. Es­pe­cially when the present is lit­tle!

What is Christ­mas Day like in your house?

The whole fam­ily, in­clud­ing the dogs, gets into some­one’s bed to open stock­ings. Then we go to church. Af­ter church, we have a glass of Cham­pagne (as it is now af­ter 12!) of­ten ac­com­pa­nied by crunchy

toasted bread with smoked salmon and cream cheese. Christ­mas din­ner is nor­mally ready about 3pm, fol­lowed by pud­ding, choco­lates and a movie, nor­mally an old one – I love White Christ­mas.

Any other guests?

I like to in­clude a few stray char­ac­ters! Whether it be a friend of a friend who is trav­el­ling or a rel­a­tive who is on their own. I think that be­ing wel­com­ing to oth­ers and in­clud­ing them is part of the Christ­mas mes­sage.

Who would be your dream guests?

If I could go back in time, Fred As­taire, Ginger Rogers and Gene Kelly. Nowa­days, aside from my fam­ily, I’d like to in­vite Sting, Kate Bush and David Suchet.

What’s your Christ­mas party style? Sequins or LBD?

Nei­ther, ac­tu­ally, just some­thing colour­ful – and I do love an event with a cloth­ing theme, like a 1950s Christ­mas party.

What’s the most mem­o­rable gift you’ve ever been given?

We try to give presents that are ex­pe­ri­ences. I al­ways fondly re­mem­ber a won­der­ful few days we spent in Salzburg, walk­ing around in the snow, sing­ing songs from The Sound Of Mu­sic.

How do you like to do your present shop­ping?

I am a fan of on­line shop­ping, but get­ting out and walk­ing around the shops gets me in the spirit of it all. Un­less I have the present idea be­fore­hand and can there­fore pre-or­der it, I do en­joy a mooch and see­ing lovely things that I think will suit some­one. Give us a se­cret ad­dress for some­where you like to get Christ­mas good­ies… Bay­ley & Sage del­i­catessen for spe­cial food yum­mies, or the Sel­f­ridges Food­hall.

What’s top­ping your fes­tive wish list this year?

Hav­ing a few days off and not hearing the lat­est news about Brexit! ◆ Darcey Bus­sell: Evolved (Hardie Grant) is out on 1 Novem­ber.

All I Want For Christ­mas Is You al­ways gets me on the dance­floor

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