We’re all fired up for the festive season here at Q Towers after sitting down with self-confessed Christmas organisation queen, Ruth Langsford. The first tip of many she passes on to us is to wrap presents on an ironing board! You can get it to the perfect height for you, so no more bending over tables and hurting your back. Genius. Read on for lots more yuletide cheer from our Ambassador.
QGossip: Are you a fan of a traditional Christmas lunch or do you have any speciality dishes you can share with us?
Ruth: I’m absolutely traditional when it comes to Christmas lunch. I like turkey, all the trimmings, and 27 vegetables! I think it’s really lovely how all families have their own Christmas lunch traditions, and if you go somewhere else, even if it’s wonderful, it’s never quite the same as your own family.
We always have red cabbage which started because my Dad was stationed in Germany a lot when we were kids. Red cabbage was thought of as quite continental then. We always have roast parsnips, and Brussels sprouts! I love Brussels sprouts, I don’t know if that makes me strange. It makes me laugh how many people say ‘uggh!’ when it comes to them, but they still eat sprouts on Christmas day! I have succumbed to the turkey crown now, it’s so nice not having to carve.
I do have this fairytale idea of carrying my perfectly cooked turkey to the table and having Eamonn carve it, but the reality is you don’t have enough room for plates let alone a turkey when you’ve got 24 people for lunch!
I enjoy cooking Christmas lunch, even though it can be a bit stressful when you’ve got so many more people than normal. My top tip is have red hot gravy to re-heat food that’s been going lukewarm while you dish it all up.
QGossip: What are some festive traditions you’ve carried on from your childhood?
Ruth: We always do Christmas stockings, even for the adults. Father Christmas brought our stockings when we were kids, but we didn’t feel it was fair that we didn’t get one after a certain age. They’re quite expensive to do for adults actually, but I love it. I keep an eye out for any miniature size toiletries, which QVC is great for. I can split up all the little sets. Anything that comes in a Christmas cracker is fabulous too.
We also don’t open any presents until after lunch, this is something my Dad introduced. He didn’t think it was fair that my Mum was always in the kitchen cooking, and she would miss us ripping into our presents. He was a very modern man, my Dad. It was quite clever really as it made that Christmas feeling last all day.
Another accidental tradition is that whoever is hosting that year will always leave something in the oven by mistake! The day after Boxing Day we’ll suddenly get a funny smell, and it turns out to be the mashed swede that never made it to the table!
QGossip: And any new ones you’ve started?
Ruth: Because Jack can’t wait until Christmas day, he’s started the tradition of a Christmas Eve present. I’ll get him something funny like Santa pyjamas or reindeer slippers.
QGossip: Are you a last-minute present shopper?
Ruth: Absolutely not. I’m completely 100% organised and it makes me anxious when people tell me 10 days before Christmas that they haven’t started yet! I love buying presents for people, and if I don’t do it early enough I’ll just get stressed. I can’t shop for gifts in a bad mood.
QGossip: What’s on your wish list for this year?
Ruth: Time off would be wonderful! Maybe it’s a cliché, but the older I get the less I feel like I want stuff. I’ve got plenty, and even though it’s lovely to receive gifts, for me it’s more about spending time with people.
QGossip: Will you be making any New Year’s resolutions?
Ruth: I hate New Year’s resolutions, I never make them and I don’t really want to hear about anyone else’s! I do try to think of things I would like to achieve, making time to see friends and family or things like that.
Our QVC quick-fire Christmas questions:
QGossip: Real tree or fake?
Ruth: Both! I have a real tree in my hallway because I love the smell, but I have a fake one in my sitting room that’s pre-lit and fabulous; a real time saver.
QGossip: Traditional carols or festive 80s pop songs?
Ruth: Definitely carols, I don’t like the pop songs that you hear in the shops over and over. I love going to a carol service. There’s a really great one where I live, the kids come dressed in their nativity costumes.
QGossip: White lights or colourful lights on the tree?
Ruth: I like white lights but Eamonn loves coloured, we’re completely different. I’m so particular about my tree, when Jack was small I bought him his own little fake tree for his room so he could hang all the ornaments he made at school on it! I couldn’t bear a cotton wool snowman hanging on my lovely colour co-ordinated tree.
QGossip: Prosecco or champagne for Christmas lunch?
Ruth: As long as it’s fizzy, I don’t mind!
QGossip: Board games or a film in the evening?
Ruth: Eamonn loves to slump and watch a film, but I love a board game. They’re so much fun if you have all the family around.
Merry Christmas, Ruth! We hope this has helped our readers to get in the festive spirit. If you have any more tips for the season, do leave them below.