Tell us about your favourite Christmas memory?
I don’t have just one. Christmas is my all-time favourite season. Having grown up in the searing summer heat of South Australia, means memories of devouring buckets of fresh home-grown stone fruits around the pool are burned deep into my psyche. In spite of the heat, mum also produced three roasts and a ham each year for Christmas lunch! Food is an inescapable Christmas memory. Perhaps my fondest overseas memory was experiencing my first white Christmas in London with my sister. Mum and Dad flew over to visit us. It was an indescribably magic time of celebration – and food! These days, I just can’t go past listening to as much Christmas music as I can and scouring the neighbourhood with my family for the brightest, most light festooned house we can find.
Which book would you recommend people read this Christmas?
Well, word on the street is that there’s this fabulous new children’s chapter book out, packed to bursting with elves, magic, odd smells, poisoned reindeer and loads of laughs, called PS Who Stole Santa’s Mail?, that’s really worth reading. No honestly, I would never misquote a child! Apart from my own Chrissy book, I adore anything with a remotely Christmas theme and feel it’s more fitting reading them at this time of year. A couple of standout picture books that I recommend this season are: Applesauce and the Christmas Miracle by Glenda Millard and Stephen Michael King and The Christmas Giant by Steve Light, for their simple yet enduring themes, and gorgeous illustrations. There are billions more but it would take a life time of Christmases to list them all.
How are you celebrating this year?
Very humbly. We spent the last festive season in the UK with relatives waiting for it to snow. It never did but it was still magical. This year, I’ve been incredibly busy with the release of my book so have not even managed to shop, wrap or tie a bow around one single present yet. The tree is still not decorated and my house could do with some attention. But I have steamed a pudding and plan to share it with my family on Chrissy day along with farm fresh duck.
What’s the best and worst present you’ve ever received?
This is going to sound corny but there’s never been a worst. Anything that anyone has taken the trouble to get or make and give is always received with thanks and joy. Unchecked behaviour and comments are not so well received at this time of year though. Perhaps the best pressie was the birth of my first born a couple of months before Christmas; to share our first family Christmas together was a dream come true. (Corny again but true).