Speakers Corner's 2017 Christmas Wish List

5 December 2017

Kicking things off with our Account Manager, Dan, who’s new to the team this year, we welcomed him to this tradition of ours by hearing about his own ones. So, Dan, what are your family traditions?

Dan: Scrambled eggs in the morning, followed by opening presents with the family making noises like “ooooh” and “ahhhhh”. This is swiftly trailed by my mum and sister quietly collating the receipts for the stuff they are intending on taking back.

Tricky family members – we all have them! What’s your favourite Christmas song?

Dan: Adam Sandler, ‘Chanukah Song’ (not Christmassy, but close enough, no?) or ‘O Holy Night’ by any of the hundreds of artists that have covered it over the years.

Dan putting the star on our tree

Ah yes, that is a good one. Our Office Manager, Louise, also shared her favourite Christmas song.

Louise: My favourite Christmas song is ‘Fairytale of New York’. I would say it is one of the best songs ever, not just Christmas songs. I also got together with my husband around Christmas, and it just reminds me of that time.  A bit mushy, I know, but I’m a sensitive soul!

We love a sentimental note, and Louise is a Hufflepuff after all, so it makes sense! Tell us about your traditions too?

Louise: My boys are 5 and 6 now, so we have a few Christmas traditions with them. The boys get a Christmas Eve box which includes a hot chocolate, sweets, a Christmas DVD (this year's is going to be Home Alone) and Christmas pyjamas. We all sit down and watch the film, eat mince pies (mainly me). Before the boys go to bed, they get their special Santa plate out and set out a carrot for the reindeer, a mince pie and a beer or a shot of rum (this is what Santa gets in our house). We also sprinkle reindeer food outside on the front garden, so that the reindeers can have a snack while the big guy is doing the business with the presents. I then spend the rest of the evening wrapping last-minute stocking presents and making my way through a bottle of baileys!!

The look on their faces when they come down the next morning and realise that the reindeers have eaten the carrot is priceless! The rest of Christmas Day continues in a frenzy of present unwrapping, champagne corks being popped and eating selection boxes for breakfast.

What an adorable day - we hope the big man puts together a Christmas Eve box for you too! Ela, our Canadian contingent told us what Christmas is like on the other side of the world.

Ela: Growing up in Canada, one of my favourite traditions was going with my mom and dad to pick out our Christmas tree for the year. We’d drive out to whatever parking lot had the largest tree shop, and I’d spend a good long while trying to find the perfect tree while pretending I wasn’t freezing! Once I picked out the tree, my dad would attach it to our car roof and take it home. The tree would sit in the backyard, held upright by a big pile of snow, until it was ready to be brought inside (usually on the 22nd of December). Our family would then spend the entire day decorating the tree and the house for the festive season.

Decorating the tree is an essential part of achieving that 'Christmassy' feeling

How magical! We hope you have some festive music to play while you decorate.

Ela: Yep, I love anything sung by Nat King Cole. I’d probably say the Christmas Song is the best one, as it’s a classic.

From Nat King Cole to fairy lights, our Content Manager Lucy M told us about what gives her the Christmassy feeling -

Lucy: Wandering down a Christmassy street in London or going into a cosy pub that has fairy lights and festive decorations everywhere. To be honest, I look for any signs to be excited about Christmas as soon as my birthday is over in September. I can find Christmas joy in anything.

Us too, we think we started celebrating in about November. And where will you be spending Christmas this year?

Lucy: I’ll be in Kent with the entire Musselwhite clan, probably annoying our cat Sam who just wants to sleep, binging on all the Christmas television, and going for a long post-meal walk in the Kentish countryside side to ‘burn off all the calories’ (we’re convinced that it’s possible to burn off 5000 calories on a 2-hour walk). It’s also become a tradition that I spend Boxing Day with my friend and her family, and I’m just generally looking forward to having lots of Christmas drinks with the people I grew up with all those years ago!

Wonderful, we feel joyful just thinking about it! Next, we heard from the resident Scrooge (Managing Director Nick) to hear about what makes him feel Christmassy.

Nick: A big pot of stilton, a whole wheel of brie and some very extra mature cheddar. That’s my default position throughout the whole year…every day should be like Christmas day…

A very typical Speakers Corner answer – the day will be revolving around food. And, where will you be spending Christmas this year?

Nick: I am in London where the Gold family will be wishing for a white Christmas, reminiscing about how daytime television on Christmas Day is never as good as it used to be and how happy the Queen looks about Harry and Meghan.

We do love the Queen, Harry and Meghan – we’re also crossing everything for a Christmas announcement of a day off for the Royal wedding! Speaking of weddings, our Head of Account Management, Adam, had his this year! So, we wanted to hear what the newly weds are planning to be up to on their first Christmas together - tell us, Adam?

Adam's big day

Adam: For the first time we will be staying in London instead of heading back to the Midlands – and also for the first time we will be going out for Christmas lunch followed by some friends coming over for big-time Christmas drinks and trivial pursuit! Basically, from about December 22nd, I don’t intend to be sober until January…

Great plan! What gives you that Christmassy feeling?

Adam: Well, I have just ordered a new Christmassy jumper which helped! Then it will be watching Elf with the wife on December 1st which has been our tradition since we moved in together. This triggers my Christmas playlist which will be played throughout December featuring East 17, one of the best bands that ever lived, David Essex, Johnny Matthis, Band Aid and of course a bit of Frank, Dean and Sammy Davis!

A strong selection of tunes. We like that things kick off on 1st December!

Debbie, one of our Account Managers started things even earlier, bringing in the festive cheer in November! Debbie, tell us what gives you that special feeling?

Debbie: I had my first ‘Xmas lunch’ on the 19th November – yes that’s right! We did secret Santa, so I feel soooo Christmassy now already, especially as my present was an advent calendar! I also love the Christmas lights in London – and seeing all the treats in the shops. Being a total control freak, I have done all my shopping already, so I am 100% ready now. I just need the Baileys. And the mulled wine. And the sherry. And the port…Bring. It. On.!!

And where will you be drinking your Baileys this Christmas?

Debbie: I will actually be spending Xmas in Thailand with my boyfriend Rich. We are going to Koh Kradan, Koh Ngai, Koh Jum and Koh Lanta, so we will be saying Koh Ho Ho – get it?!

Helena from Logistics would like to be abroad somewhere this year, like Debbie.

Helena: If I had my way, we’d be spending Christmas on a beautiful beach, sipping cocktails and soaking up the sun – BUT – as ever I will be at home in the (new!) kitchen slaving over a couple of hot stoves, producing a traditional festive meal for a dozen people!!!!

Not that I’m bitter or anything – as long as there is a glass of red wine and a mince pie when everyone has gone home, I will be happy!!

Look out for the results of our annual mince pie tasting competition

Yes, mince pies are essential to the festive season. Speaking of food, Jaden in our finance team, shares his favourite Christmas nibbles -

Jaden: I'm not sure if they're exclusive to Christmas, or an all-year-round thing, but I really do enjoy pigs in blankets on the table. They're amazing!

They are amazing, and what are you most looking forward to about Christmas this year and why?

Jaden: I’d say I'm most excited about spending time with my family. With everyone growing up and doing their own thing, it’s rare that the whole family gets together. Christmas is the one time of year where the whole family is together, and we also get to stuff our faces.

Jaden and the office tree

Who can disagree with that! Someone who also loves a Christmas based on food is our Director, Tim. What’s your favourite Christmas nibble and why, Tim?

Tim: For me brandy butter…equal ratios of brandy butter to Xmas pudding makes for an excellent Christmas…

Other than the brandy butter, what are you most looking forward to about Christmas this year and why?

Tim: I like escaping to a tiny rural village in Lleida, Catalonia called Puigverde where my ‘in-laws’ are from. The big news from this rather small town is the recent addition of a roundabout. Doesn’t sound exciting, huh? However, escaping from the internet and huddling around an open fire commenting on local politics whilst criticising my homemade cannelloni is strangely quite warming!

We look forward to hearing all about the roundabout when you are back! From roundabouts to Veganism, our Logistics team member Matt tells us about how his Christmas diet will be changing this year. What’s your favourite nibble, Matt?

Matt: If only you’d asked me a few months ago, I would have given you a seemingly endless list of cheese. However, I have recently decided to become boring vegan and so my new nibble of choice will be the humble mince pie (dairy-free crust of course). Mulled wine will also be flowing in my household to fuel the traditional drunken bickering!

Vegan cheese for Matt this Christmas

Other than the drunken bickering, what are you most looking forward to about Christmas this year and why?

Matt: I’m most looking forward to having a genuine excuse for why I am eating so much. I am asked this on a regular basis and can only hang my head in shame. However, when Christmas rolls around, I can finally answer between mouthfuls of yule log and proudly exclaim, “I’m just getting in the festive spirit”. Food, films, family and festivities – what’s not to be excited about?

Exactly, that’s the spirit! Verity, one of our Account Managers, tells us about what she loves this yuletide season. What is the best Christmas nibble and why, Verity?

Verity: I most enjoy the humble mince pie. You can’t beat the classics. And you have to try as many as possible, you know, just for comparison purposes…

Of course, and we will be doing this at our annual mince pie tasting competition at the Christmas party! Other than that spectacular event, what are you most looking forward to about Christmas this year and why?

Verity: I can’t wait to spend time with my family and enjoy a few days of care-free, cosy, festive indulgence.

That sounds absolutely lovely. Lucy B, another Account Manager is also excited about spending some quality time with her friends and family. What’s your favourite thing to do for Christmas?

Lucy: Staying in, having friends over, going to my friends’ houses.

Staying in is lovely, especially with all the duvets and blankets you can find! What is on your wish list this year?

Lucy: A new pair of kicks! Comfort is key.

You’re right! Anna, our Head of Logistics, told us about her wish list, which is a little different this year.

Anna: I’m wishing for a tan (as I'm off on holiday to St Lucia if you haven't heard), and, of course, plenty of mulled wine, mince pies and long Christmassy crisp and brisk walks in the countryside with family and friends.

Anna will spend most of December in sunnier climes

Crisp walks on fresh mornings sound lovely. What is your favourite thing to do in London at Christmas?

Anna: Going to and singing in carol services – there is nothing better for summoning up the warm and fuzzy Christmas cheer than warbling out the descant to your favourite carols in a twinkly candlelit church. Also, anything to do with Christmas lights and Scandi Christmas markets, and I'm there.

Christmas markets are the best. Our Head of Finance, Paula, has also asked Santa for a little unusual request. Paula, what is on your wish list?

Paula: Tom Hardy.

Excellent. I’m sure he’ll be so pleased about that. Tell us, what is your favourite thing to do in London at Christmas?

Paula: Arm myself with mistletoe, and try to find Tom Hardy.

Tom Hardy - Paula's office companion!

Brilliant! We’d love to see photographic evidence of that! Rebecca, our Head of Operations, also told us what is on her Christmas wish list (slightly more attainable than Tom Hardy).

Rebecca: Eek – I haven’t even started my Christmas shopping yet, and I definitely haven’t given what I would like a lot of thought yet. But, I did see the new Philip Pullman book, the sequel to His Dark Materials in Waterstones, and I’m pretty sure it will feature on my wish list this year!

Hopefully, you can cosy up on the sofa to read it! What is your favourite thing to do in London at Christmas?

Rebecca: To take part in the annual Speakers Corner mince pie tasting competition, of course! No, really, we try to spend Christmas Eve with our niece and nephew. They’re almost two and four and are just at such a magical age for Christmas. Everything is just so exciting for them and it’s so amazing to be a part of it. It broke my heart last year when our little nephew crept back downstairs because he was too excited to sleep! I remember that feeling far too well!

That is so sweet, nothing beats the magic of coming downstairs to your filled stocking!

Well, that’s our wish list for 2017. We hope everyone has an enchanting Christmas and is looking forward to a healthy, happy and hopefully cheese filled holiday season!

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