Ever wondered what our local celebs get up to at Christmas time? We did too! So we asked them…
Actress and entrepreneur, Vanessa Haywood
‘When I was younger, my grandparents used to take the whole family to the Christmas pantomime, which was often a Janice Honeyman production. We loved it! We also put a lot of effort into putting up loads of decorations and a big tree. I’ve still got my grandmother’s nativity set, which I put up every Christmas without fail.’
Food blogger, Katelyn Williams
‘Christmas Day is often a very late lunch, which turns into dinner. We like to stretch it out for the entire day so everybody starts arriving mid-morning and we spend the entire day together. It’s an eating marathon! If we’re in Italy with my husband’s family, we’ll do the same thing except on Christmas Eve.
We’ll tuck into some traditional menu items like my to-die-for crispy roast potatoes, my cousin’s leg of lamb and my grandmother’s ginger beer gammon. One year someone decided not to feature the gammon and the family was in an uproar.
My sister Sarah-Jane is always in charge of table decor and she usually creates a masterpiece. My big role is the dessert – no surprises there. My family are incredibly vocal about what they want – especially things they’ve seen on my blog – but I love to surprise them. I’ll go all-out with dessert and make sure we never have the same one two years in a row.
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Quality Street chocolates are my big Christmas indulgence. I can finish an entire packet in one sitting. If by some chance I don’t finish them, I have to hide them away because my entire family feels the same way.’
TV presenter and blogger, Roxy Burger
‘I’m lucky that my family and my husband’s [family] are really close, so we’ve all been doing Christmas together since before we were married. We always do a Christmas lunch and this year we’re doing a spit so no one is stuck in the kitchen all day. Then everyone gets to be more social outside. The only thing we have to add is a few vegetables, salads and bread. Done!’
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Radio journalist, Katy Katapodis
‘Christmas is a big affair filled with beautiful family and friends. We don’t limit ourselves to do just lunch or dinner. We do both. It just wouldn’t seem right any other way, so we have a Christmas Eve dinner and a huge Christmas Day lunch. There’s always lots of delicious and scrumptious food on the table.
We do everything from honey and apricot glazed gammon to traditional slow-cooked Greek lamb. We’ll also be tucking into spinach and cheese pies and butter-roast potatoes. There’s always a dessert table for as far as the eye can see. Puddings are my weakness, so there is always an abundance of sweet treats!
Christmas baking with my mom is a Christmas tradition that we’ve had my entire life. Some of my very earliest childhood memories include baking for Christmas with her and my late grandmother.
Now, my mom and I bake mountains of Kourabiedes (Greek shortbread) and Melomakarona (traditional Christmas honey cakes) with my sons and my niece. It’s the best tradition ever.’
TV presenter, Zoë Brown
‘I love that I get to celebrate with all the important people in my life, so I’ll get together with my friends on Christmas Eve and spend Christmas day with my family. Every second year my family will get together in Ceres where there are often as many as 33 people around the lunch table.
My family might have a slight obsession with food. Because it’s the biggest lunch of the year, we go all out and have a little of everything. There’ll be seafood for starters, while mains always includes gammon, beef, lamb, tongue and chicken. There’ll be a spread of veggies, rice, salads and gravies.
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When it’s time for dessert, we’ll tuck into some fresh watermelon, ice cream, traditional trifle and peppermint fridge tart. The one thing I can’t stay away from at this time of year are sugar cookies. I know they are typically saved for Santa and his reindeers, but I I simply can’t resist them!
My large family is spread across the globe, so when we get together, our main tradition is to take a family picture at the swimming pool. It’s been a blessing to see our family expand with each photograph. There’s also a wine tasting excursion after Christmas Day. My dad’s two sisters will take all the cousins out for a lunchtime treat to a few farms along the Paarl Wine Route.’
Radio presenter, Stacey Norman
‘Christmas is a time for family and people who feel like family. Since my family is a little scattered, it’s a bit difficult getting us into the same room on the same day. So instead of just having one gathering, I get to enjoy several. This is great for the stomach but terrible for the waistline!
Each year, I make the world’s best roast potatoes. They’re parboiled, flash frozen and oven roasted with rosemary, garlic, olive oil and butter. Those potatoes could make even the least festive human bust out a carol.
Putting up the tree is an event. There must be Christmas music, which means Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ must be played at least twice. Once the tree is done, I put my cat Goku in a Santa suit, take a picture and the holiday vibes kick in.’
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Wellness expert, Lisa Raleigh
I am a firm believer in keeping it real – it is so easy to pretend you’re keeping on track of it all and there is such a strong urge to present the very best version of yourself to your audience. BUT – everyone has their personal behind-the-scenes where things go wrong, we aren’t always perfect, and we don’t achieve exactly what we hope to. That’s OK! I did my best to be open and honest in this interview with @essentialsmagsa, and I share both my strengths and my weaknesses when it comes to motherhood and wellness. There are only a few days left to get your copy, so make sure you do before it's too late! Cc @missmejeanssa @phdhairdressing @madeup_bykylie) #Regram#EssentialsSA #CoverGirl #Motherhood #Wellness #Fitness #Love #MustRead #April #Issue
‘This Christmas will be a year of firsts. It’ll be the first time I get to spend Christmas Day with my stepdaughters instead of celebrating a few days before, and we’ll be hosting everyone at our house in Parkhurst. I’m looking forward to going all out with the Christmas decorations and entertaining Stafford’s family.
For food, we’re doing something different and recruiting Ucook’s services. They’re going to be delivering the raw ingredients for some Christmas dishes three days before and we’ll prepare it on the day. I thought this would be a great way to sample some new, healthy dishes, and also prevent waste, as they cater for specific numbers. Then myself and my guests will get creative with the desserts.
I’m a huge fan of mince pies – and only the best, buttery shortcrust pastry will do. My top Christmas hack: I heat mine up in the airfryer to make sure they stay crispy and warm. I also love a good roast potato, broccoli in cheese sauce, rice, gravy and champagne. The general attitude is ‘too much of everything’.
Christmas isn’t complete without a real tree complete with pine needles scattered all over the car! We put on Christmas carols and decorate the tree as a family. I have a habit of gathering ornaments whenever I travel, so a lot of memories go on the tree as well, which makes it extra special.
Then, up until two years ago I still received Christmas stockings from my mom, and it’s a tradition I am very passionate about maintaining! I’ll start shopping for little treats for the girls from up to two months ahead of time to make sure they have a bunch of cool goodies hanging at the foot of their bed each year. I’m thrilled that this will be Bella’s first time getting her own stocking!’