Festive memories and Christmas wishlists

DAITHI Ó SÉ, 37, RTÉ PRESENTER, TODAY SHOW

Best Christmas present: “It is very simple, my best present was a sat-nav, which I received a couple of years ago.

“Anytime anyone asked me what I wanted for Christmas, I would always say I wanted one, yet everyone thought it was too simple and got me something different.

“It is the most practical thing I have ever received, it is so useful, especially when you are on the road all the time.”

Worst Christmas present: “I received a jacket that I already had and the person had seen me get it — so I thought that was a bit stupid.”

Ideal Christmas dinner guest: “Maybe Katy Perry, though I don’t know if Rita, my wife, would be too happy.

“She might roar at me.”

Best Christmas ever: “In recent years I have worked a lot over Christmas, but one of the best Christmases was when I got a BMX bike. I was about ten and it has always stood out for me.”

Fondest childhood Christmas memory: “I can remember crawling with my sister on our bellies across the hall to see if Santa had come. I can remember pushing the door open with my foot, it was about 3am, and he hadn’t yet come. So we had to crawl back again.”

Plans for this Christmas: “It depends what my mother wants to do, we might go down to Dingle for a few days. I am doing the RTE New Year’s Eve Show, so I will have to mind myself.”

MAURA DERRANE, 43, RTE TV PRESENTER, TODAY SHOW

Best Christmas present: “Last year I had a lovely holiday in Barbados with my husband (John Deasy, the Fine Gael TD) which was a great Christmas present. It was one I will always remember.”

Worst Christmas present: “I don’t think I have ever had a really bad present that I went: ‘Oh My God, I hate this.’ I think every present is special and I appreciate anything I get.”

Ideal dinner guest: “I think Graham Norton would be a great guest, you would be roaring laughing the whole time. I would love that.”

Best Christmas ever: “I suppose when you were a kid, it is so magical, opening up all the presents. You will never ever have that feeling again.

“It was so exciting, you couldn’t sleep at the night, the anticipation. I think a childhood Christmas morning is hard to beat.”

Fondest childhood Christmas memory: “I think opening up the presents, running down the stairs to see what you had got from Santa. Also I love the idea of a cold, crisp Christmas.”

Plans for this Christmas: “I am going to be at home on the Aran Islands with my family and I am really looking forward to that.”

BRENDAN COURTNEY, 40, TV PRESENTER, STYLIST AND FASHION DESIGNER

Best Christmas present: “I got a Lego train set when I was about 9. I remember getting it so vividly, I was so happy and spent the day with my sister making it. I still have it.”

Worst Christmas present: “My poor mum went over to England and bought me a stereo, she thought. But in actually fact it was a stereo cabinet. So I got an empty cabinet for Christmas — and no, I don’t still have it!”

Ideal Christmas dinner guest: “My family — that’s what Christmas is all about being.”

Best Christmas ever: “Apart from the family ones, I took my best friend to Australia as a surprise.

“I bought two business class tickets to Sydney, I took him for a pint and said; ‘You are not going back to work, everything is organised, bags are packed. We are on our way to the airport.’

“We had the best time ever, it was unbelievable.”

Fondest childhood memory: “My mother is a Christmas freak, so she would literally have us vomiting with excitement.

“We would have our dinner and then go visiting all our relatives. You would have so many presents, I just loved it.

“I also loved having the special day to shop for our Christmas clothes, then we would visit Santa in Clerys and we would have the day off school. It was great.”

Plans for this Christmas: “I am working right up to Christmas Eve, we are launching the Lennon-Courtney collection in the UK, so I am going to go with three friends to the Canary Islands for New year’s Eve and am so excited.”

* www.frockadvisorcom

* www.lennoncourtney.com

SONYA LENNON, 44, TV PRESENTER, STYLIST AND FASHION DESIGNER

Best Christmas present: “It was the arrival of my twins Evie and Finn who were born on little Christmas, Jan 6, 2005. Everyone kept telling me I would have them before Christmas, but they were way too cosy.”

Worst Christmas present: “When I was ten, I besieged my parents for a pet and they went to the animal shelter and got me a fluffy, little grey kitten which they kept in the garage. They bought the whole works for it, and I came down on Christmas morning to find this little ball of fluff under the tree. It was so amazing I cried with delight. But it died on St Stephen’s Day.

“I took my Christmas gift voucher and bought a book on cats to find out why — apparently if kittens are born in the cold weather they tend to be very poorly.”

Ideal Christmas dinner guest: “I would love to invite Iris Apfel the designer to dinner. She is incredible, a real hero of mine. She is fearless, she is a testament to the spirit of youth living on for your entire life. Not being put into a box by society, just living and doing what you want to do until the day you die. She is 92.”

Best Christmas ever: “Obviously the Christmases we have had since the children were born have been amazing and very special. But when I was a kid my parents took me and my sister to the USA for Christmas and we spent the day in the hot tub in California at an amazing hotel. It was an incredible holiday.”

Fondest childhood Christmas memory: “My birthday is just before Christmas and when I was 7 I got appendicitis and was rushed into hospital. I had to have an operation and as I was recovering my mum asked what I wanted for my birthday. I said a queen’s dress, and I drew it for her. It had a big skirt, a large cross on the front for the royal symbol, and she went away and made it for me. I still have it and my daughter has just grown out of it. It was so amazing.”

Plans for this Christmas: “We will go to the Forty Foot in Sandycove, Dublin to swim in the sea in the morning, then out to my partner’s family and onto Malahide with my family.”

PETER KELLY, 45, WEDDINGS BY FRANC

Best Christmas present: “It was a ring from my wife Eadaoin and it has matchstick boys and girls on the edge of the ring to represent my kids. It was specially made by Niamh Utsch, a jeweller in Dingle. It is really cute and is silver and gold.”

Worst Christmas present: “Probably a Linx Set when I was age 20. I think they were trying to tell me something, but I hate Linx. The smell was too strong.”

Ideal guest for Christmas dinner: “If I could bring anyone to dinner it would be my Grandpa, who is deceased. He didn’t want to be called Great Granpa by my kids so we called him GG. He died 3 years ago age 97, so had a good innings.”

Best Christmas ever: “It was my first Christmas with Eadaoin, when we first got together. It was such a good Christmas that we left the tree up until my birthday, which is Mar 26. That just shows how good it was — the best ever. We were madly in love, and Eadaoin taught me that if I were to lie on my back under the Christmas tree and look through the branches you get one of the best views in the world. It was pretty special.”

Fondest childhood Christmas memory: “I was living in Ballinascarthy, West Cork when I was about 8. We lived in a small cottage, and I remember feeling cosy sitting in front of the roaring fire, with our handmade decorations and my mum making mince-pies and plum pudding.”

Plans for this Christmas: “We will be at home. Eadaoin and I agreed 14 years ago that we would work our socks off for the whole year but take time at Christmas for the family. The time with the kids goes by so fast. We love cooking the family dinner together.”

ALAN HUGHES, 44, TV3 PRESENTER AND PANTO STAR

Best Christmas present: “Is a full-house at the panto. When you put so much time and effort into it — we have been working on it since June — it is fantastic to see it doing so well. I love the audience reaction and love that it is many young kids’ first introduction to a live show. It is brilliant — this year will be my 17th panto.”

Worst Christmas present: “Two or three years ago Karl, (his husband) bought me a scarf. I looked at it and said; ‘What ?’ He thought it was lovely and trendy. So then I had to pretend and say it was really thoughtful. I think it is in my drawer now and hasn’t even come out of it’s packaging.”

Ideal Christmas guest: “I would just love to have Bette Midler around for dinner. She is one of my favourite people and I think she would be mad. Her stories are so wild and I think she would be really amazing. She would be outrageous and great fun.”

Best Christmas Ever: “I can remember a couple of years ago, Karl and I had bought our first house and we invited all our family over. So I cooked for 16 people and I swore I would never do it again. It was lovely to have everyone there, but I ended up having to go to the doctors on St. Stephen’s Day because I was so stressed.”

Fondest childhood Christmas memory: “When I was young I received this beautiful old-fashioned rocking horse. I always remember that.”

Plans for this year: “It is weird, for the last 17 years Christmas has revolved around our panto family. We only have two days off so on Christmas Day you are actually cream-crackered and just want to veg out with a good movie and friends.”

* Alan will be appearing as Sammy Sausages in Jack and the Beanstalk Dec 11 — Jan 12 at Tivoli Theatre, Dublin www.panto.ie 01-4544472

RAY FOLEY, 33, 98FM Radio Presenter

Best Christmas present: “I must have been 7 or 8 and I received the Ray and Peter figures from Ghostbusters. They had the back-packets to shoot the ghosts and I also got a trap to catch the ghosts. I also got a Ghostbusters ping-ball machine, which was massive and made all the noises. You can imagine my parents were horrified by that on Christmas Day.”

Worst Christmas present: “I don’t want to risk offending any of my relatives, but my wife, Kate, got me some really dodgy stuff last year. I have become old now, I am that difficult dad that no-one knows what to buy for. So last year I got socks.”

Ideal Christmas guest: “Dustin the Turkey — he doesn’t hold any punches. He would be talking his way off the plate.”

Best Christmas ever: “It was the first Christmas with my wife after we got married. We did it ourselves, we had finally grown up and decided to go it alone. We had presents, Bucks Fizz and we had Christmas dinner, most of which had been bought from Marks and Spencers, and it was really sweet and nice.’

Fondest Christmas memory: “When I was growing up in Galway there was a massive long green outside our house.

“The road was like a mile long and one Christmas it snowed and everyone built Snowmen along it. It was amazing.’

Plans for this Christmas: “My son Matthew is two and doesn’t have any real awareness of it yet, so this will probably be our last respite before the madness kicks in next Christmas. So it will just be three of us, keeping it simple and local.”


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