In the second part of our series, Stephanie Bell takes a look at how some more of our best-known personalities will be spending the festive season.
Popular radio presenter Kim Lenaghan, who celebrates her 56th birthday on Christmas Eve, lives in Belfast with her partner Jim Ferrie (56), a musician and chemical engineer. Kim is in the hotseat on Christmas Day with her popular ring-in show on Radio Ulster, Kim's Twinkly Christmas, from 11am.She says:
I love Christmas... all the twinkly lights and baubles and the whole magic of it. Growing up, my mum was really into Christmas and we had a lovely traditional Christmas Day, that started with running down the stairs to see if Santa had been, and enjoying a turkey dinner with all the trimmings.
I still love coming down in the morning and putting all the Christmas lights on - it's just magical.
My birthday is on Christmas Eve, and it's bad enough having your birthday then without spending it preparing the festive feast, so I leave the prep until Christmas morning. I will get up early and prepare the meal and then head to work. It really is so lovely to be sitting in the studio on Christmas Day - you really do feel that you are part of everybody's Christmas, and by the time I leave to go home, I am in seriously good form.
As soon as I get home, Jim will pop the Champagne and then I will cook dinner. We are not having turkey this year, but duck from Portaferry, which I will pick up on Christmas Eve.
I haven't decided what sauce to have with it yet, but we will be having fairly traditional roast potatoes, Brussels sprouts and red cabbage with it. We usually have a good wine with our dinner. I will spend the afternoon cooking and we will eat around 6pm.
I don't do a starter and usually we have no room for dessert, but just in case, I have made some vodka and cranberry mouse desserts and we also have a Christmas pudding.
Jim and I tend to just buy each other small, fun gifts, which we will open throughout the day. Instead of a main gift, we prefer to put money towards a holiday, and last year we went to Paris in January for a long weekend. I think as you get older, you become more interested in experiences and we are lucky to have what we need in terms of material things.
After dinner, we will sit down in front of the TV like everyone else and watch Strictly Come Dancing, and I'm sure at some stage, a large tin of sweets will rear its ugly head. I am back into work at 6am on Boxing Day, so it will be an early night for me."
Kim's Twinkly Christmas, Christmas Day, Radio Ulster, from 11am; Kim is also on air on Boxing Day from 7am
Ulster Unionist MLA Jo-Anne Dobson (50), from Waringstown, is looking forward to spending a traditional family Christmas with her farmer husband John (53), her sons Mark (23) and Elliott (25) as well as her extended family, parents Joan and Eric along with her sister Belinda. She says:
I ’m very lucky that mum does Christmas dinner and always has done. My son Elliott is living in London now and will be home today, which is the best Christmas present I could have.
Even though the boys are grown up, I would still be on the look-out for surprises and treats for them and wrap all their presents and have them under the Christmas tree. I think that magic of Christmas never leaves you.
The boys will get up early, about 7am, and we will go down the stairs together and open our presents. After breakfast John will go out into the farm to feed the animals and we will get ready to go to my mum’s house.
Mum has us, my sister and her partner and son, so it’s just a lovely family day. We usually get a glass of champagne when we arrive and sit down to dinner at 1pm sharp.
Mum cooks a traditional turkey with all the trimmings and we sit and talk at the table for hours until 3pm, when dad makes us come into the living room to watch the Queen’s speech.
It was a real tradition of my late granny Lilly that we all sit down to watch the Queen’s speech and dad now upholds that and makes sure we are all seated round the TV before it starts.
After that, we usually just all catch up and talk before going home around 7pm, as John needs to get back to the farm. We usually just spend the rest of the evening watching a movie together.
It is a real quality family day for us. Life is so hectic and it is good for all of us to just stop and be together and catch up.
My husband usually hides my mobile phone for a few hours in the afternoon — but only after I’ve checked and made sure that none of my constituents need help. I can’t help going back later to check and make sure everything is alright.”
BBC Radio Ulster presenter Lynette Fay (39) will be popping up on our TV screens tomorrow with sports colleague Mark Sidebottom as they go on their annual Santa Spotting run round Northern Ireland. Lynette will spend Christmas with her family in Dungannon — parents Brenda and Raymond, grandparents Norah and Brendan, brother Ciaran and his four children. She says:
This year I will be out Santa Spotting again on Christmas Eve for BBC Northern Ireland and then afterwards will drive to my parents’ house in Dungannon for Christmas.
My granny, grandad, brother and his four children will be there, too, so we will have four generations of the family under one roof, which is great. It is a very laid-back day, we just go with the flow and there are no set rules in our house.
We usually open one present on Christmas Eve and that’s usually because I can’t wait to see everyone’s reaction to what I have bought them. I do put a lot of thought into gifts, especially for mummy. Dad’s easy, he just wants a pair of wellies this year.
In the morning we open the rest of our gifts and we have great craic with the children. I love buying them fun gifts.
Then I go and visit my best friend and her two children, who are five and three, and it’s lovely to see them running about all excited because Santa has been. It is hilarious and I just love the magic of Father Christmas. I think we are all kids at heart.
I will go to Cookstown afterwards where I went last year to help out Carol Doey, a local legend and community worker, who organises Christmas dinner in The Hub for people who will be on their own at Christmas.
I walked out of there last year feeling so lucky. I don’t think we realise how lucky we are to have our family so I’m volunteering again this year. I will spend a couple of hours there dishing out dinner and helping to clear up and then go home for my own dinner which is served around 3pm.
We have turkey, lamb, beef and ham in our house because granny loves lamb and grandad loves beef and, if you like it all, you can have a bit of everything on your plate.
We don’t bother with starters. Mum makes the dinner and dad will help by doing the veg and I will probably do a potato dish.
This year I bought one of Danny Millar’s Guinness soaked Christmas puddings and I can’t wait to get stuck into that.
On Christmas evening everyone just wants to sleep. I remember as a child I hated that part of Christmas Day and wondered why everyone wanted to sleep and now it’s all I want to do after dinner.
Later our neighbours might come over or we will go over to them for an hour. I started running this year and am doing my first 5k at Greencastle on Boxing Day so it will be an early night. It is something I’ve always wanted to do and a great way to end the year. I just want to show myself I can do it — if I can do it anyone can.”
The Lynette Fay Show, Saturdays, 6.05-8pm, Folk Club, Sundays, 7-9pm, Radio Ulster