As the Christmas season rolls around, there are many things to tick off on our lists.
And, while many will have their guests for Christmas Day already lined up, what happens if you are one of the 75% of Irish people who get an unexpected guest for dinner?
Well, ‘The Only Way Is Essex’s’ Ferne McCann has a plan in place already that will save you feelings of stress or embarrassment during the most special time of the year.
According to research by One4All, unexpected guests that show up in Irish homes on Christmas Day can range from colleagues, long-lost friends, lonely elderly neighbours, clients, and even exes!
That’s right, exes.
“Imagine that, ladies, an ex knocking on your front door on Christmas Day. Maybe it’s an ex trying to woo them and get them back, but I don’t want any of my exes knocking on my front door this Christmas. Thank you very much,” Ferne laughed while speaking to Her.ie.
The reality TV star says Christmas in her house has changed over the years, from when she was a single mum-of-one, to now, as she prepares to spend the day with her fiance, Lorri Haines, and their daughters, Sunday, 6, and Finty, 5 months.
Despite life changes, one thing will always remain steadfast on Christmas Day for the mum-of-two: “The more, the merrier.”
“I would hate for anyone, especially if it’s like a friend of a friend if they can’t get back to their loved ones at Christmas – or a neighbour – I was a single mom before I met Lorri, and all it was it was always me and Sunday, and everyone welcomed us into their homes.
“I sort of loved it; you know, we had so many offers, and it was just brilliant. So I’ve always extended the invitation to unexpected guests.”
So how do you prepare for this, you may be thinking? Well, Ferne has this advice.
“You go over the top with the roast potatoes. Go over the top with the stuffing balls and the pigs in blankets. I know some people are going to be like, ‘Ohhhhh’, but, you know, you can always freeze them.
“You can always make bubble and squeak. I don’t know if that’s a thing in Ireland,” she questions.
For those of you who may not know what this meal is, its leftovers from one dinner turned into a new dinner, which the social media influencer says is an ‘Essex thing’.
“So you’d fry up all the leftovers – sounds pretty horrific, but it’s unreal – turkey curry, turkey risotto, turkey sarnies, all of that. So go over the top.”
Covering on bases on the food front is just one thing Ferne does every Christmas, but she also says having spare gift tokens around the home this time of year is a routine of hers.
Having One4All vouchers stored away gives the mum-of-two peace of mind that she can make someone feel special, as well as the fact she won’t be caught empty-handed if an unexpected guest arrives with gifts for her family.
“To make sure you’re catering for any unexpected guests, get the One4All gift cards because then you can make them feel special.
“Even if you don’t really particularly know them, you can spend the gift cards in restaurants, in loads of different store outlets, and with different brands. That’s how I would be prepared,” she explained.
Outside of this, have you ever opened a present and knew instantly that it was either going to be returned or never going to be used?
Alternatively, have you ever gifted someone something and knew by their face that they didn’t love it?
You’re not alone.
It’s also for this reason that the influencer stocks up on these gift cards.
“Because it’s it’s a gift that caters for all different types of people all different tastes and they’re accepted at more than 13,000 outlets, so it caters to all tastes.
“We’ve all been there, ladies, where you’ve opened up a gift, and you’re literally like, ‘Thanks’ [makes an awkward face], knowing that’s gonna go to the regifting pile.
“I know the thought was there, but you’re like, this isn’t quite my taste. So none of those awkward moments. So I think I’m gonna I’m going to arrive on Christmas Day with a few wonderful gift cards in my back pocket!” she adds.
The One4All campaign, ‘One Roof, One Christmas’, is one that aims to highlight and encourage togetherness over the holidays.
This is something that Ferne, who has partnered with the multi-store gift card company, says is extremely important for her.
She says that when she and her siblings welcomed their own children, it made the holidays all the more special.
“I think a Christmas you really live all your favourite childhood memories through and with your children.
“Like today (December 1st), it’s actually snowing in Essex, which is just so magical. Sunday was just so excited. And the disbelief on her face that the elf was there, and, yes, the last few years she’s been aware of the whole concept, but this year she can just articulate herself so well.”
For the media personality, togetherness is all about ‘just being with your family or extended family members’.
This Christmas, that’s exactly how she and Lorri intend to spend the day, as they prepare to take their two children to Ferne’s family and her brother-in-law’s family.
“They’ve invited us around for all the Christmas games, minced pies, and mulled wine in the evening. I’m so looking forward to that, and, a little pretty bonus, they live down the road from Lorri and I so we can have all the mulled wine that we want and then walk home!”
It really is the simple things that truly make Christmas special!
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