What the stars are doing for Christmas

By Michelle Manelis

What the stars are doing for Christmas
As Christmas approaches, MiNDFOOD chats to 10 stars to find out what they’re up to, their Yuletide rituals, and what the big day means to them.

Matthew McConaughey:

“The routine goes like this: My wife and I get our families together, but where that’s going to be you never know far in advance. We take about two weeks to spend time with family and that’s what that time is really about for me. At about 4pm on Christmas Day everyone gathers around and eats until about midnight. We get a natural tree each year and we make new ornaments so as our family grows, our box of ornaments grows. If Christmas happens at our place that year we really doozy it up because everyone is coming in and we put the stockings up. At my brother’s house, most of his family goes to Christmas Mass but at our house, we haven’t made it to Christmas Mass in a few years.” 

Naomi Watts:

“I love an old-fashioned white Christmas I have to say, because it reminds me of the movies you grow up watching. I did spend the first 14 years of my life in England so for me, at Christmas it was normal to be in a cold environment and have hot meals. But then when we moved to Australia and spent Christmas on the beach with seafood, it was a big change. But I’ve learned to love that as well. We try to spend every other Christmas in Australia and I still have a Grandma and some cousins and aunties [there]. I love going back, and try to spend a few weeks there over the Christmas period. When we stay in New York we go ice-skating with the kids, go and see the tree, go to the park and go Christmas shopping at night-time which is always nice (laughs). On the day itself I love a roast and I love to cook. But my mum is a better cook and I love watching her cook and I love her food. So if she’s there at Christmas, she’s on duty (laughs).”

Brad Pitt: 

“We like to travel. We take the family to see something new and as long as we’re together that’s the most important thing.  We put the work away and just be together.”

Simon Baker:

“I’ve had Christmases all over the place. But most recently we started going back to Australia for Christmas. I love Christmas. It’s stressful, particularly when you go back to Australia because you’ve got to schlep a lot of stuff with you. You’ve got to be pretty organised in advance, which I’m not very good at but my wife, thankfully, is pretty good at it. I spent a couple of Christmases ago with ham sandwiches on the beach with my family. We just spent the whole day surfing and swimming with the kids. It’s very different to snowy and cold anywhere else and I get very excited about it. When it comes to presents, I give everyone a boxed set of The Mentalist (laughs). Now that’s what you call a stocking stuffer.”

Anne Hathaway:

“My family and I decided that we were all pretty happy in our lives and we don’t really need gifts, so this year we are just going to be together, that’s the most important thing. So for me, it’s just about getting everyone together, cooking good food, having good wine, singing, that’s a pretty important part of it. It’s not really about the stuff. I can understand when you have kids or you are a kid it is a bit about that, but for me it’s just about getting to enjoy each other’s company. And I am in my 30s, which means my parents are not old, but they are getting older, and so we have entered that period where I don’t take any minute that I can spend with them for granted because I know [I have] a finite amount of time with them.”

Jim Carrey:

“It’s a dinner with family to me. I don’t look forward to getting things or buying things. I am a bit of a Grinch in that respect. I would rather people made things for each other because it’s gotten perverse. But I really love connecting, I really love hanging out with my people. And we could end up anywhere. I could end up in Canada with my family and I have a property in the middle of the woods up there. Sometimes I go up there for Christmas and we invite everybody up and we make an ice rink and we play hockey.”

Jessica Chastain:

“I like to spend Christmas with my family. I work so much, so it’s good for everyone to be in their PJ’s and just hang out and eat as much junk food as we can and listen to Christmas carols next to the fireplace. I don’t need so many gifts but my favourite thing is to see someone’s face when they open a present. Last year I organised a secret trip to Disney World. On Christmas morning my brother, his wife, my other brother and sisters, and my mum, my dad, everyone, opened an envelope with a letter inside. When they started to piece it together it said, ‘We’re going to Disney World tomorrow.’ I videotaped the whole thing. It was such a great, great, great, great trip. For me, Christmas always means family.”

Mark Wahlberg:  

“We stay home. I must always buy my wife something very nice (laughs) and I must make sure that I don’t question her about how many gifts she buys for our kids. And I don’t worry about getting gifts for myself, even though she is always good about getting me stuff. But I am a hard person to buy for because I don’t really need anything other than, ‘How was your day?’ when I get home.” 

Katie Holmes:

“I don’t cook goose because I am a little intimidated by that, but I like to take my daughter to The Nutcracker every year in New York City at the Lincoln Center; it’s our tradition. And then Christmas morning, having monkey bread is the best thing; it’s frozen bread dough with butter and brown sugar and you put it in the oven and it’s just gooey and sticky. That’s why you can only have it once a year.”

Hilary Swank:

“It depends on whether I am working because I could be literally in Timbuktu filming a movie. So that usually is a deciding factor of where I am first and foremost. If I am not working, I don’t like to go to sunny places when it’s winter; I like the seasons, which means I leave LA as well. I like to go skiing and I like to be with family. One of my favourite things is sitting around the dining room table with family and friends catching up, talking about the news, concerns, passions, fears, all of that and over good food. I am a big foodie and I love to cook. I love to bake so there’s always a lot of that happening as well. I try and be a little more environmentally friendly so I don’t love the idea of cutting down trees to put up for a couple of weeks in your house. I actually have a fake tree though it looks real, so no one would know. As far as presents go, I feel bad when people can’t afford to buy a gift. Our real gift is the presence around the table, literally your presence, not presents.”


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