Christmas on Becca's Books | Christmas Q&A with Laura Holdsworth, Little Northern Soul

~ Christmas Q&A ~

With Laura Holdsworth, Little Northern Soul

What does Christmas mean to you?
Family, food, relaxing and celebrating!

When does the Christmas excitement usually begin in your household?
I usually start getting excited around mind-November, then put up decorations at the start of December when Christmas is in full swing and my excitement is pretty obvious!

In terms of present shopping, do you like to begin early and stay organised, or are you a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants type of shopper?
Haha I’m defiantly not a fly by the seat of my pants shopper, I like to be organised – leaving it until last minute and having to battle the Christmas Eve crowds makes me feel uneasy! I pick bits up throughout autumn and hope to be finished by early December. Then, a week or so before Christmas I’ll blast out some festive tunes and spend an afternoon wrapping them all.

What’s your favourite part of a Christmas dinner?
Roast potatoes! Om nom nom…

Least favourite part?
I don’t like Christmas pudding, so I usually skip that and have a mince pie (or two…. Or three!) And crack on with the tin of Roses or Quality Street.

Ultimate favourite Christmas song?
The Pogues – Fairytale of New York. It’s one of the few Christmas songs my OH doesn’t find ‘too cheesy’, so we always blast this out and sing along (badly!)

Favourite Christmas movie?
Ahh that’s so tough. I think Miracle on 34th Street as it’s kind of a tradition that I watch that with my family in the build up to Christmas.

Is Christmas usually a huge family affair for you, or a small gathering?
It’s a family affair, but there aren’t loads of us so a bit of both. On my side, we spend it with my parents, sister and grandparents. On my OH’s side it’s similar – his parents, sister and boyfriend and Nan.

Who does the cooking?
For the past few years we’ve spent Christmas with my family and my Mum does most of the cooking with some help from my Dad. She likes to get everything organised (I can see where I get it from!) so on the weekends building up to Christmas she’ll do loads of cooking and then freeze it all ready to get out on Christmas eve. This year we’re at the OH’s parents and it’s also his Mum who does the cooking.

What sits atop your Christmas tree?
I actually don’t know yet! For the past few years we were living in a flat which meant I only had a small, table-top tree. Now we’re in our new house which means I get to go buy a Christmas tree and lots of decorations! I think I want a glittery gold star for the top of it, but I’m not sure yet.

Do you decorate with precision, or happy chaos?
Precision. Again, I like to be organised and I often take a step back to survey my work and make sure everything looks okay. Top Tip: to check fairy lights are evenly distributed, stand well back from the tree and cross your eyes. They go blurry which makes big gaps easy to spot (you can have that one for free!)

Who does the washing up afterwards?
Awww, my Mum and Dad do… I have it so easy over Christmas! We all help clear the table and stack the dishwasher but my Mum and Dad pour themselves a glass of wine, put on some music and sort out all the pots and pans while we sit in the living room with our grandparents.

Favourite gift received?
Oooh tough one! I think presents were much more fun as a kid – getting toys or dolls that would keep you entertained for the next few months. One year my Grandpa made me and my sister a handmade car and caravan set for our Barbie’s – they were wooden, painted bright pink with silver trims and had multi-coloured furry seats. The caravan was complete with bunkbeds and kitchen. He’d put so much work into it and it was amazing, we had hours of fun playing with it and all our friends were jealous because it was one of a kind! That might be a random answer but it’s definitely a gift I look back on with fond memories.

A Christmas reading recommendation?
I’ve just read The Twelve Dates of Christmas by Lisa Dickenson which was absolutely hilarious! A good balance of romance and festiveness.

If Santa could grant you one wish this year, what would it be?
Just for all my family to have a happy day. It’s been a tough year so it’d be nice for everyone to unwind and just have some time to enjoy themselves.

How early do you wake up on Christmas morning?
Usually around eight-ish, my usual weekend waking up time.

Three favourite Christmas smells?
Roast dinner, cinnamon and candles.

Have you ever spent Christmas away from home? Did you enjoy it, or miss the familiar surroundings?
No I haven’t and I wouldn’t want to! I’m at my OH’s parents this year but it still feels like home with them as I’ve known them so long, plus I’ll pop in and see my parents on Christmas Day anyway as, handily, they only live down the road! We won’t spend Christmas at our house, but that’s fine. When it comes to Christmas (and anytime really) I still class my parents place as home J

Do you pile presents around the tree, or wait until Christmas Eve so they’re there on Christmas morning?
Around the tree! I think it adds to the festiveness and builds up the excitement. When we were younger it would only be the adults presents round the tree though and ours would appear in the living room on Christmas morning, which was always magical.

Has anything ever happened to you, to make you wonder if Christmas time really is magical?
Yep, over the past few years we’ve had some difficult Christmases with grandparents falling ill. The worst was when my Grandad was very ill in hospital over Christmas – that was a tough one as my Dad was really upset and worried but he tried his best to put on a brave face for us.

If you could spend Christmas anywhere, where would you spend it?
As I do now, with my family at either their house or ours. I wouldn’t want to go away over Christmas as it wouldn’t be the same.

Cranberry sauce or not?
Oooh yes please!

Mince pie or Christmas pudding?
Mince pie.

Any special Christmas traditions?
I always, every year, without fail, get socks, PJ’s and pants from my mum. It wouldn’t be Christmas without them!

How do you spend Boxing Day?
This year we’re spending it with my Mum, Dad and Sister; playing games, watching films and eating leftovers. Perfect.

At what point do the Christmas decorations come down?
Usually just after New Year. I don’t like to drag it on.

What are you looking forward to most, this Christmas?
Relaxing! It’s been a manic, mega-busy year so I’m looking forward to some time off work and being able to rest, recuperate and spend some time with my loved ones J

You can find Laura Holdsworth on Twitter |