My perfect Christmas is at home and is totally off-duty,” says radio presenter and television broadcaster Kirsty Young. “My husband [Nick Jones, founder of the Soho House members’ clubs] takes 10 days off work, so we’re there with our daughters and friends and family – no cars, no planes and no trains. I used to be in the news cycle as a newsreader, so you always had to have an ‘ear on’, but that’s not my life now, so I fully take advantage of that. And since we moved out of London and into the countryside a few years ago, I feel that I have more of an oasis of space around my family life that I didn’t have before.
“If you’re buying into Christmas like I do – I really love Christmas – I think the point of it is nostalgia, somehow connecting with the fantasy of it. And because I was brought up in Scotland, it’s also the idea of bringing light into the darkest days of the year; the most important thing is seeing your family, having a laugh and sharing a moment together.
“My big rule is: don’t expect it to be perfect. I’ve learned that most of the joy is in its imperfections. I’m not somebody who can make things. I can’t knock up a garden shed or wallpaper a room, but I can make a nice big meal for people, and it’s something I really enjoy. I’m also greedy and I love food. That’s the thing we always did as a family [when I was growing up], and my mum still talks about the importance of family meals. And you know what? She’s not wrong. Generations and ages and personalities around the table is a nice thing to aim for.
“We’ll start Christmas Day in pyjamas, because my girls are up so early, opening stockings and presents together. I always have
a bucks fizz at breakfast with my family and friends, and that relaxes me quite nicely. Just the one, mind you, as there’s so much to do. My husband is a great host and believes as long as everyone has a nice drink in their hand it’ll be a great event. I’m quite organised and I do as much prep as I can, which means I can relax and enjoy the day. My cranberry sauce is done and frozen; I make bread sauce the day before. That stops me getting in a tizzy with timings.
“I will also have a think about what I’ll wear on the day. I like to dress up a bit – it’s a special occasion – but I’ll be back in an approximation of pyjamas with a cashmere cardy by the evening.
“We have dogs who always need a good walk, and we have lovely fields near our house, so I will probably make everyone get up and go out for a little bit. And I will definitely have something humorous for the dogs to wear – this year it’s tartan bow ties. Don’t judge me.”