How the stars celebrate Christmas

By Michele Manelis

How the stars celebrate Christmas
It’s that time of year again and MiNDFOOD catches up with our favourite celebs to see how they’re Celebrating Christmas.


Christmas is my favorite time of the year. I always cook a turkey. I’ll leave it overnight in a bath of water, like a brine bath, because it’s quite hard to cook turkey well.  So we have a ham and a turkey and we do everything that goes with it.  I think it’s probably traditionally what everybody does at Christmas but the cooking is such a part of the day. We all sit in the kitchen and listen to Christmas Carols in our pajamas. We always start with champagne and bagels and cream cheese and smoked salmon and then I find that I’m always on the Brussels sprouts section.  I just have memories of sitting there in my pajamas in a Father Christmas hat like for hours doing the sprouts – I love all of that. I love that we’re all together cooking and creating, something always goes wrong and someone has a fight and everyone’s hungover by 2:00 in the afternoon (laughs) and then we’re pissed again by the evening.  It’s just probably like everybody else’s Christmas in England


I am a panicked Christmas shopper. I panic. That’s why Thanksgiving is such a fantastic holiday, which we used to celebrate because my dad was American, because it isn’t about the exchange of gifts, it’s actually about gathering. And we had an enormous family Christmas last year, a bit of a road trek through Europe with 17 of us and I felt like one of those tour guides in Venice with the Carnation. So I think we are having a very small, contained, I think almost invisible Christmas this year but it will be very much led by the children.


I always try to be with my family if I possibly can. It’s difficult because we’re all on different continents, so we all have to arrange how we’re all going to come together, but we manage it pretty well every year.

And because we’re British and American, my husband’s side is American, my side is British. The British side always want Christmas pudding and the American side think Christmas pudding is absolutely disgusting and won’t touch it and can’t understand why we’re all so excited about our Christmas pudding. You know, every family has its different traditions for Christmas and we have our own little traditions that we do.

We never open our presents ’til after we’ve eaten because it gives us all something to look forward to.  It’s a great, great time of the year. I love it. I love Christmas. I love the decorations. I love everything about Christmas.  I still have the decorations that I put on the tree when I was like 5 years old.

They look like dirty little bits of tat. You can’t even see the fact they’re a Father Christmas or something because they’re so old but, you know, they get hung on the tree, yeah. Yes, memories. It’s what Christmas is about.


Christmas time is usually the one time a year that my whole family is together. I love Christmas and New Year’s and my family are all somewhere in the world and whether it’s back in Australia and here in America or maybe we will go on vacation or something. But yeah, it’s spending time with family and lots of food. The great thing is now, I think you get to a point where the Santa Claus magic goes away when you grow up, but because my brothers both have three kids each now and we have so many young children that magic comes back because you get to share it and see how excited they are by Santa Claus and Christmas and presents and so Christmas morning is wonderful.


We always make tons of Christmas cookies and that’s something fun before Christmas to do with the kids and all the icing and sprinkles and the enormous bomb that goes off in the kitchen of colors and stuff, so that’s always fun. I think we have really kind of basic traditions of Christmas morning and we make a lot of food and a fire and our Christmas tree and friends come over and stuff,  so it’s a pretty cozy holiday for us.  And I like to cook and to share our supper with my family and friends.


I think anyone who is British takes Christmas insanely seriously. (laughter) I have actually. I bought a house recently, my first ever house and I bought it purely because it’s going to look great at Christmas (laughter). It’s like a Beatrix Potter house, and it’s the main reason. So yeah, Christmas – I am going to go for it. But love to me is everything. It’s the meaning of life to me and it’s interesting you say about my family, because last year, there was a moment early on in the air, where I was everywhere traveling and getting so depressed. I don’t have a boyfriend and I need to have a boyfriend if I am going to write my second album and I am just being stupid and it’s right in front of me, snap bang in front of me what should be inspiring me and it’s my family and that was the relationship that I wasn’t concentrating on. So when I had my vocal surgery, I spent all my time basically, just rectifing my relationship with my brothers and sisters and now we are all good so it’s all good for Christmas


I grew up Jewish so I didn’t have that as a kid, but now I have a Christmas tree. Growing up in England there were a lot of Christmas carols, I like Christmas carols and I like Midnight Mass but I am not a very traditional person, so I just pick the bits that I like.


We have got two Christmases because I have got Serbian Christmas and I have got December 25th. So December 25th and January 7th, so anything we missed on December 25th we’ve got on the January 7th.  And I am working on a film right now that we will be finishing right before Christmas, so that will be a fantastic break and release and relief and getting back to my family and then we will figure out what we’re doing. Sometimes when you are traveling a lot, you just really want to be at home and have friends around so we will see. And we are commitment phobic so we leave everything to the last second. I always make my daughter’s great uncle run around in a Santa Claus outfit but I am worried he’s going to have a heart attack lately because she catches him (laughs). So he is having to run around too hard recently. And he looks better in the Santa outfit than me.  She would rumble me and if I was running around, she would know clearly that it’s daddy. 


When I was a kid growing up, we had literally the same exact scenario where the whole family and the cousins and the nieces and the nephews and everybody and the uncles and the grandmothers and the mothers, would gather together in Southern California, right here in Long Beach or Garden Grove.  We would have the Christmas tree and exchange gifts and have dinner. And I remember loving it. But now that I am older, what I really like about Christmas is getting in a car and driving away. (laughs) And I take my kids.  My daughter is 20 and my son is going to be 15, and we drive up north to San Francisco to The Presidio. Just to get in the car and go.  I love it.


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