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What we love about Christmas magic - familiar Northern Ireland faces reveal their highlights

Four well-known local faces tell Kerry McKittrick about their own festive highlights

Paula McIntyre (50) is a broadcaster and food writer and lives in Portstewart. She says: I rarely cook Christmas dinner but the family takes it in turn to host so this year we're going to my brother David's house.

Everyone does something - mum will do a ham, I'll do stuffing and a Christmas pudding. I think it takes the pressure off. There are an awful lot of elements to it.

I start the day by going to see the Portstewart charity swim - I don't swim myself but I offer my support by drinking hot port and putting money in the hospice box. It's a nice walk over to it and I know a few people taking part.

Then I might call in to someone's house for a glass of champagne. After that I'll get a lift to my brother's house. We normally eat late, at about 4pm, but there's no strict timetable for it.

We tend to stay at the table in our family - we'll have a cheese board and talk nonsense. At some point the music will start. We'll put on Last Christmas by George Michael and my sister-in-law and I will cry - we were both devastated when he died last year.

Then we might have a wee dance and a sing-a-long.

Everyone's in good form at Christmas and you might run in to people you haven't seen in a while.

I'm at the stage now where I really don't give a damn about presents. I think the commercialism about Christmas has got out of hand.

People end up with an enormous amount of food that they'll just end up throwing out because they can't eat it all. It's different in places like Italy - you would hardly know it was Christmas if it wasn't for the nativity scene in the church.

Most people go out for dinner on Christmas Eve and then they have a lasagne on Christmas Day. I suggested that to my family but they thought I was mad.

Pete Snodden (37) presents the Cool FM breakfast show each weekday morning. He lives in Bangor with his wife Julia and their daughters Ivanna (6) and Elayna (3). He says:

I love Christmas, it's my favourite time of the year and hopefully I'll get to spend a lot of time at home this year. It's been a busy time with work recently so I'm looking forward to sharing time with the family.

On Christmas Eve we have people round to the house for drinks. We used to go to the pub but since the kids came along everyone brings their family over here so they can have a run around and the grown-ups can enjoy a bit of a soiree.

Christmas Day is at our house - Julia's parents and my mum all come here. Of course, the big event is Santa coming in the morning, which I'm really looking forward to.

Our daughters are at great ages to enjoy all of that and are beside themselves with excitement.

Then we go to my brother-in-law's house on Boxing Day.

I think it's safe to say I'll be totally turkey-ed out by Wednesday this year.

In saying that, I love my turkey dinner. It's my favourite meal of the year, with ham roasted in cider.

Every year we say we'll have it for Sunday dinner at some point and we never do it. I can see the same conversation happening on Christmas Day again.

Apart from DJ-ing on New Year's Eve I'm off work and I plan to spend as much time as I can at home.

I want to meet up with some of the lads and watch a bit of football.

I also want to remove myself from my mobile phone and relax a bit this year. I try and catch up with a few people - that sort of socialising during the year gets more difficult to fit in once kids come along. People assume that I get sick of Christmas music because I have to play it so much on the radio but I love it. I tend to have a new favourite each year - this year it's This Christmas by Picture This and of course I love Fairytale of New York.

Kids make Christmas and it really is all about them in our house. I don't know what time we'll get to bed on Christmas Eve but the next day will probably have a 5am or 6am start.

That's the best bit - when we get woken up to see if Santa has arrived.

Anna Henry (22) is the current Miss Northern Ireland and lives in Portglenone. She says:

We've done the same thing at Christmas for years. We all get up in the morning and go to Mass and then head over to my uncle's house with the rest of the extended family. We'll have mulled wine and there will be a turkey in the middle of the table for everyone to pick at. Most likely someone will bring out a guitar and start singing.

Then we'll go back to our house - me, my mum and dad, my two brothers, my sister and my niece and nephew. There was a point when Christmas died a death in our house but since the kids have come along it's all changed. They come over here to find out what Santa has brought them - he goes to their house too, of course.

It can be a bit crazy as we all buy them loads of presents too but seeing the excitement on their faces is what it's really all about.

It's quite a relaxed day in our house - my mum, my sister and I do the Christmas dinner and we prepare a lot the day before. On the day itself we can have a glass of wine and take it easy.

There's no set time for Christmas dinner and we all tend to snooze and watch TV afterwards - some years we might go to my brother's house for a party but I don't know yet if that's happening or not this time.

My favourite part of Christmas is actually Christmas Eve. My mum goes out and does the grocery shopping and while she's away I clean the house. The rest of the day we call on friends and relatives and in the evening we go to my sister's house and do a Secret Santa.

We have mulled wine and Christmas party food and my dad might dress up as Santa and knock on the windows at my niece and nephew. Seeing how magical it is for them makes it special for all of us.

Radio Ulster's Sean Coyle (who gives his age as "over 21") is married to Patricia and has three grown-up daughters, Una, Clare and Fiona. He says:

Christmas Day for us is very boring. My wife and I get up on Christmas morning and go to church, then we go back to the house for the traditional fry.

After that we visit our three daughters - we go and see the seven grandchildren in their own houses because it's not fair to drag them away from their toys to come to our house.

We spend an hour in each house, playing with them and their toys. Our grandchildren are with us every day of the week - we don't need to spend all of Christmas Day with them. We then go home and my wife will go and visit her sisters, leaving me all on my own.

I'm left with instructions on what to do with the spuds - what time to turn them on at and how long to leave them for, but my wife doesn't trust me. She'll ring me from her sister's house and tell me to put them on and to turn the oven on and that sort of thing.

I sit there in the kitchen waiting for the water to boil on the spuds and do a crossword.

I don't like turkey - I think it's so boring - so we have a big brute of a chicken instead with the usual ham and all the trimmings.

My wife does just about everything - apart from boil the water for the spuds - and I sit and chat to her and we have a glass of white wine. After we've had our dinner I head to the sofa for the traditional Christmas snooze. Before you know it's half six and you want another wine. I think my favourite thing at Christmas is to see my daughters and to see the grandchildren playing with their toys.

They're so excited to tell me about all of their presents and what they do - it's special when they come running to you because they're excited to see you in their house.

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