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Celebrities including Dom Joly and Hugh Jackman share their Christmas memories

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: December 17, 2013



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Christmas is often a time for reflection, so what better excuse to ask a raft of celebrities about their favourite festive memories...

Dom Joly, comic, 46

"When I was 17, I gave up meat for animal rights reasons and I was quite devout and pleased with myself. Then I went to someone's house for Christmas where they did the whole spread and then gave me a microwaved nut roast. At that moment I just thought, 'I care very much about animals but I think I might give up vegetarianism'. Now I go full on [with the meat]. I basically have the whole farmyard on my plate."

Katie Piper, philanthropist and TV presenter, 30

"It's not a particular Christmas memory but I remember every year someone from my family would dress up as Santa Claus. We'd all open the presents and think that Father Christmas had come to the house. And we used to write letters and put out dog biscuits and milk for the reindeers. Of course, we didn't know it was one of our uncles."

Beverley Callard, Coronation Street actress, 56

"God, I've got loads of Christmas memories. My mum and dad were amazing with [my sister] Stephanie and I, and they'd fill out stockings and sacks, but our special pressie was always hidden and we'd have to find it. I still do that with [my children] Rebecca and Josh and [grandchildren] Sonny and Charlie and all the step-children. My husband, Jon, thinks I'm mad but he's not as childlike as I am."

Jim Broadbent, actor, 64

"The earlier Christmases are always the most exciting. I remember getting a Busby Guard's outfit on Christmas morning when I must have been about five, putting it on over my pyjamas and standing outside the garden gate on guard, probably for about all of a minute."

Lindsay Duncan, actress, 63

"My best Christmas was in Paris. It was when my husband and I had been together for a few years and we sort of ran away from family responsibilities and everything and stayed in someone's garret in Paris. It was a good Christmas."

Karl Pilkington, TV personality, 41

"It was about 1982 and my mum and dad got me a [early home computer] ZX81. I needed an extra part for it, but it was back in the day when shops shut for Christmas, so I knew I had to wait and I was sick in the sink. I think it was frustration. I've never liked Christmas. I used to get up at 4 o'clock and open my presents and go, 'Right, that's what I've got is it? I'm going back to bed now'."

Hugh Jackman, actor, 45

"I actually met Santa Claus in a tent. There were five kids in our family and my father took us camping so there were six of us in a five-man tent. I remember we were in Adelaide and it rained the whole time. Like all kids, I was terrified of seeing Santa, because then Santa won't leave you gifts. Unfortunately Santa trod on my hair. I remember looking right up at him from a view point that no one really needs to see Santa. That's probably the most indelible memory I have."

Amanda Holden, actress and Britain's Got Talent judge, 42

"My favourite Christmas memory is marrying my husband Chris in December 2008. I was so adamant that I wanted snow, I hired a snow company to create fake snow. I went outside and said, 'Oh, it's snowed!', and Chris said, 'That's the generator, Mandy...' Everything was decorated with silver and white roses. We had a room for the children, set up as a Snow Queen adventure, and Father Christmas and his reindeer put in an appearance. It was magical."

Daniel Radcliffe, actor, 24

"It's not a particularly remarkable Christmas memory, but I remember getting a Transformers kit and I was just apoplectically, head-exploding happy."

Joan Collins, actress and writer, 80

"I'm a huge fan of Christmas and have a massive tree wherever I am. Two years ago, when we lived in Miami, I bought a huge tree and I had two of my children and some of my grandchildren there. We decorated it with handmade decorations that I started making years and years ago when my children were small and they're almost like antiques now. All my memories of Christmas revolve around being with my children and grandchildren."

Natasha Hamilton, singer, 31

"Me and my sister used to each choose a side of the Christmas tree and my mum would put presents underneath, like a week before Christmas, and we would just sit there for hours, shaking and rattling and squeezing and trying to guess what we had. And just decorating the tree was always such a family thing. We always put the Christmas album on, start with the lights, then the tinsel, then add the decorations. Now I do exactly the same with my boys."

Danny Dyer, actor, 36

"When I was eight, I got a pogo stick. I didn't know it was a pogo stick, even though me mum and dad had wrapped it up and it was clearly a pogo stick. It was the greatest moment of my life. That was in the Eighties when pogo sticks were in. It was one of my best presents ever. It was a blue one and I loved it even though I could never get to four bounces. You'd watch the adverts and they'd do backflips and all that."

Matthew Morrison, Glee star and singer, 35

"Music played a big part in family gatherings. One Christmas in particular, I remember walking into the family room and hearing Bing Crosby's I'll Be Home For Christmas and being dwarfed by a huge, blow-up dinosaur as one of my gifts. It may seem funny but I can go back right to that moment when I hear that song. It stands alone in my Christmas memory as the most jaw-dropping present I've ever had in my life. Just the size of it was so impressive."

Jim Carter, Downton Abbey actor, 65

"It's got to be when our daughter was around two. She came into the sitting room and said, 'He's been, he's been! Father Christmas has been!' It's through your kids that you enjoy Christmas. I mean, we enjoy Christmas and we would still have a tree even if she wasn't home, but to see her delight in it was lovely. I think that was the year I made her a doll's house and when she saw the doll's house, her eyes lit up."

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