Speakers Corner 2016 Christmas Wish List

13 December 2016

With the cold winter nights kicking in now the  Speakers Corner team  we've started to dream of warmer, sweeter things like those twinkling baubles, the smell of fresh pine needles and the mouth-watering taste of golden roasted potatoes. With Christmas spirit comes age old traditions and one for us is our annual Christmas Wish List.

It is not often we get to chat about childhood memories, coveted wishes, adorable family traditions and all-important Christmas nibbles. So, here the wish list serves its purpose to bring the team together and look through the Christmas keyhole into our festive lives outside of Highbury Studios.

We kicked things off with Head of Account Management, and our Midlands contingent,  Adam :

Where is the strangest place you have spent Christmas?

Halfords the car shop in Cannock West Midlands. We spent an entire Christmas Eve there getting a hyped-up sound system fitted to my older brothers car - I was only 14 at the time and the car was rubbish! Of course, it took all day - so we had to buy the rest of the family’s presents from Halfords.

What is your favourite Christmas nibble?

My brother does a great sausagemeat stuffing - but my favourite would be a full Christmas dinner with lots of mint sauce - not to mention a few cans of Nelson Mandela (Stella).

Adam's somewhat questionable favourite Christmas refreshment

From one liquid nibble to another more solid substitute, Anna, part of the Logistics team shares her favourite nibble also.

What is your favourite Christmas nibble?

Had you asked me about 6 years ago I would’ve said the traditional Marshall caramelised red onion and stilton filo parcel. But alas, as I have now developed the most stupid allergy to all exciting cheeses, I will have to relate back to my list of favourite Christmas edibles which includes champagne and smoked salmon blinis, lebkuchen, and stollen! I’m afraid I can’t choose just one.

I wouldn’t be able to choose one either! Did the allergy develop from overconsumption of Christmas blue cheese parcels?

I genuinely think it did. One Christmas I discovered I loved it and didn’t stop inhaling the stuff, the following summer whilst brie eating in France… BAM! - my face and throat swelled up. And that was that.

If you want to hear more about Anna's allergies and ailments read her  team Q&A  for more enlightening insights. Back to the wish list, where is the strangest place you have spent Christmas?

The strangest place I’ve had Christmas was on a yacht in the Caribbean.  I wouldn’t call it strange but it was most definitely the farthest away I’ve been from a traditional white Christmas.

How luxurious, although with all the Christmas nibbles I don’t know if I would want to get in a bikini! Next on the wish list is  Louise , our Office Manager. We had a chat about the big wish that’s been on her list for at least a few years.

What is on your wish list this Christmas?

I usually have an extensive wish list which I distribute at least a month in advance to avoid disappointment. If I am wishing really big I ask for a Cartier Love Bracelet, which has been on the list for about 5 years. However, I don’t think I have been that good this year so I am not really expecting to find it under the tree on Christmas morning. What I would really love is a day at a spa by myself with a facial, a massage and uninterrupted laying down! That would be heaven!

Louise's dream - an uninterrupted day of pampering!

What is the worst present you have ever received?

I have always been pretty lucky and also been happy with most things that I have received, but, my Dad once decided that what my mum really needed for Christmas was a new bathroom bin and a handheld hoover. Suffice to say, she was NOT happy and there was a frosty atmosphere in the Collins household over roast lunch!! I tell my husband that story to make sure he never makes the same mistake!

A Christmas disaster!! Speaking of, our Head of Marketing, Charlotte, has a similarly catastrophic tale about her Christmas dinner.

Where has been the strangest place you spent Christmas?

Not strange in itself, but spent Christmas in New York. The strange bit came when I decided to have Christmas dinner at rather a fancy restaurant, and hadn’t really factored in the difference between the mountains of roast potatoes, vegetables and turkey that I’d usually tuck into at home, vs what would be served at said restaurant.

This was Charlotte's disastrously tiny Christmas dinner

That is gutting. Speaking of food, what is your favourite Christmas nibble?

I have a tradition that, a few days after Christmas day, I will gather together a huge cheeseboard, a host of accompaniments (quince jelly is a must), a bottle of red wine, bread, crackers, and basically anything else savoury left in the house, and refuse to move until it’s all eaten!

That sounds more like portion size I can relate to! Next up is Logistics team member, Dave.

Best Christmas film?

It’s a tie – between “Jingle all the way” & “Deck the Halls”.

What are your family traditions?

We have been to the same Christmas Eve party every year, for 25 years!

Want to know more about Dave? Check out his team Q&A.

Next on our list is Account Management team member  Debbie , she tells us how her family create traditional Christmas cheer.

Favourite Christmas film?

Home Alone and The Holiday!

Great choices, they can’t help but make you feel in the Christmas spirit!

Do you have any fun family traditions?

No traditions as such, just lots of food and alcohol! Although a good game of monopoly always goes down well with a Baileys!

Next, Director  Tim  shares with us his rather unusual family traditions. Although, it seems though in Catalonia things are the same as here. Lots of eating, not much moving.

Strangest place you have spent Christmas?

Probably not so strange anymore, but every Christmas I now spend in a tiny farming community in Catalonia (Northern Spain) with my wife’s family in a rural house, which we don’t tend to leave for 3 days solid. The most amount of movement made by anyone is to get up from the sofa to the dining table and as I don’t understand a word of Catalan, my day is usually spent devouring as much red wine as possible, trying to chuckle along with people’s jokes that clearly I don’t get.

Catalonia!! The rural destination of Tim's Christmas

There must be a lot of great food in one place, but if you had to pick what would you say is your favourite Christmas nibble?

Has to be brandy butter! Scrap the pudding – it’s all about the butter.

Speaking of Christmas snacks, it is a certain chocolate that gives our Marketing team member and Content Editor, Lucy M, that festive spirit.

What gives you that ‘Christmassy’ feeling?

Untangling fairy lights while my cat tries to eat them (he's a bit dim). And watching Elf with wine and chocolate - specifically Guylian seashell chocolates.

Poor cat! Where will you be spending Christmas?

Kent where my family lives. I get to eat two Christmas dinners because I always spend Christmas Day with my family and Boxing Day with my best friend's family down the road.  Helena , part of the Logistics team, will also be spending Christmas at home. We hear about all her culinary skills.

Where will you be spending Christmas?

So, I will be spending Christmas Day in the kitchen cooking for family which is always hard work but fun!  Mince pies are already made and in the freezer and I am half way through producing at least 6 heavily alcohol laced fruit cakes as presents for special people!!

Excitingly, we have a family day out booked between Christmas and New Year. We are off to Paris on Eurostar and I am really looking forward to it.

Pariee at Christmas

So, what usually gives you that Christmassy feeling?

What makes me feel Christmassy is hard to answer as many things combined bring on that festive feeling. But, they switched on the festive lights on the huge old oak tree outside our local hospice a few weeks ago, and seeing those always gives me a glow – along with the mince pie tasting challenge in the office, which seems to start earlier and earlier each year!

We do love a mince pie! Next on the list is our Scottish Finance Manager,  Paula .

What is your favourite Christmas film?

Easy…Muppet’s Christmas Carol, it is a tradition of ours to watch it every year!

Well, that answers your second question on what your traditions are, so efficient Paula! Rebecca , our Head of Logistics tells us her Christmas plans next, she’s having an extra special year due to her sister’s engagement.

Where will you be spending Christmas?

I’m going to be with my parents for Christmas. My sister is getting married on the 22nd so I would imagine we’ll spend Christmas recovering from the Wedding!

What gives you that ‘Christmassy’ feeling?

My parents still rope me in to decorate their tree, and there’s something about decorating it, often late in the afternoon when its already dark with the fairy lights twinkling, the Christmas carols playing in the background and picking out the decorations that we have chosen over the years that makes me feel really Christmassy! Then it’s got to be mulled wine and a mince pie to celebrate!

Decorating the Christmas tree can't help but spread Christmas cheer

Sounds beautiful! With less Christmas cheer, our Managing Director and Scrooge,  Nick  told us his (not so) festive wishes...

What is on your wish list this Christmas?

That Father Christmas is revealed to be the Easter Bunny - in fancy dress and feeling slightly miffed that they are not as appreciated as Father Christmas - and so, has created an alter ego for themselves. It feeds into my secret wish that we are actually superheroes but just are not sure how to access our powers…this secret is clearly no longer secret, and have probably revealed too much here. Maybe I take it all back, my wish for this Christmas is to be given the gift of keeping my mouth shut when just speaking general rubbish.

What is the worst present you have ever received?

If I was really nasty and not full of Christmas cheer, I would make the pathetic joke that with my darling brother and partner at Speakers Corner being born on the 23rd December is the worst present I have ever received. He just doesn’t seem to be something that eventually gets lost or broken (I don’t mean it really Tim, sometimes it’s not all grief)!!

Thanks Nick, some enlightening insights into the Gold psyche! Next up, Verity, part of our Account Management team.

What is on your wish list this Christmas?

If money and all practical considerations were no object, number one on my Christmas wish list would be a piano.

What is the worst gift you have given?

Well, some people might say that a big bar of Dairy Milk or a Toblerone isn’t a particularly creative or original gift, but it’s a gift that has always seemed to go down well in the past!

Although, the new Toblerone shape might bring some disappointment this year...

Alisha, our newest member and part of the Logistics team tells us her traditions next.

What is your favourite Christmas film?

Difficult question because there are too many great Christmas films. But I would have to go for Miracle on 34th street to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, but also Home Alone (what a classic!) “Buzz, your girlfriend...woof”.

Great choices, our ultimate ranking of Christmas film quotes caused much controversy in the office as all the classics were debated! With a German mother and American father, Alisha tells us about her family’s typical Christmas.

What are your Christmas traditions?

I’m assuming my Christmas is a little different from other people in the office. In Germany, Christmas is celebrated on Christmas Eve. Traditionally, my family would go to church in the afternoon of the 24th to watch the nativity (or back in the day I was performing in it – as the best shepherd ever). Later in the evening, the “Christkind” (Christ child) has delivered all of our presents and the tree is lit for the first time - in Germany, it is also tradition to pick out and decorate the tree on the 24th. ,Because my dad is American, we also get to open presents on Christmas morning (lucky me!) Other than that, it’s pretty much the same spiel…lots of wine, beer and Glühwein, at least one person storming off (possibly tears involved) and great food (yummy Lebkuchen).

Wouldn’t be Christmas without a Glühwein fuelled tantrum!

That is our wish list complete this year, from Halfords carpark to a rural house is Catalonia, from stollen to cheese boards, we’ve covered it all. If you made it through the seven levels of the Candy Cane forest, the sea of swirly twirly gum drops, and the Lincoln Tunnel to this point, then well done – Christmas cheer will spread through your heart throughout the year!

Well done for making it through our candy cane forest of the wishlist!

We hope you have a lovely festive period, whatever you are up to and most importantly, we hope you get everything on your wish lists!

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