My most unusual Christmas…

We’ve all been there. The broken oven, the burnt roasties or the last-minute I-forgot-to-defrost-the-turkey debacle… As much as Christmas Day is a time for merriment and joy, not everything always goes to plan. For many, it can be a day of unusual – and occasionally unwelcome – surprises.

The delicious. team have had their fair share over the years, from the weird and the wonderful to the downright disastrous. We’ve seen it all. Have a read and let us know if you can top any of our festive fiascos.

My most unusual Christmas…

Karen Barnes – editor

”The year was 1987 and my family had an unexpected guest, who’d recently been released from labour camp in Russia, then expelled from the country (she’d been imprisoned, essentially, for her religious views – seen as ‘anti-Soviet agitation’). Her name was Irina Ratushinskaya, a poet and writer who’s since become renowned and who sadly died earlier this year. She came to our house because my father, Michael Bourdeaux, was a human rights campaigner who founded an organisation researching and being the voice of people persecuted for their beliefs. We will never forget Irina’s eyes as she and her husband saw the roast turkey being brought to the table. It was a special day but also a difficult one in some ways as, for her, adapting to a day of feasting after such hardship was difficult. It put life into sharp perspective, that’s for sure.”

Susan Low – deputy editor 

”My most unusual Christmas was spent in Goa. About a quarter of the Indian state’s population are Christian, so it’s a major celebration there. That’s pretty much where the familiarity ends. Instead of grey London streets and closed train stations, the local roads were taken over by colourfully festooned temple elephants. Instead of Christmas jumpers we wore our swimming costumes on the beach and instead of turkey we feasted on spicy, sharp pork curry called sorpotel (a relative of vindaloo) and lashings of cold beer, followed by a swim in the sea. I didn’t miss the Christmas pudding one bit.”



Les Dunn – managing editor 

”One year we put the turkey in and went to the pub for a couple of hours, but in the meantime there was a powercut and when we got back the turkey was still raw in the oven. We ate Christmas dinner at six o clock, drunk as skunks.”



Sara Norman

”My most unusual Christmas was spent with my then boyfriend in Frankfurt in the 1980s. We had no cooking utensils (rented flats are unfurnished there) and didn’t realise that all those amazing festive food markets shut up shop on Christmas Eve so there was nothing for us to eat on Christmas Day except McDonalds!”

Vic Grimshaw – digital editor

”Working in a Swiss hotel when I was 19. My mum packed me off at the airport with a tangerine to ‘open’ on Christmas Day, as they were always a feature in the bottom of my Christmas stocking.”



Izzy Brimeau – digital producer

”Both my parents worked in the hospitality industry when I was growing up, so spending Christmas together was a rarity. To get around this we would have Christmas on Christmas Eve, Boxing Day or unusual times of the day. My favourite memory was one year when we celebrated in the middle of the night. My dad had to work Christmas Eve so we decided to celebrate when he returned, that evening. My mum put me to bed (I was seven) very early and spent the evening cooking. From memory, it was close to midnight by the time my dad came home and I woke up to a full Christmas dinner and gifts. I still remember seeing red and green flashing lights in the sky that evening – safe to say I thought Santa was real for a little bit longer.”

Martine Tinney – art editor 

”One year I was given a beautiful wicker hamper from my husband. He had been given it as a present from work. When I opened it I couldn’t believe my eyes. There was the smallest cutest Yorkshire Terrier puppy inside. I burst out crying. It was the BEST present and Christmas I had ever had – and still is.”

Jessica Sutton – marketing intern 

”One Christmas I was happily drinking a glass of prosecco, none the wiser as to the horror that was about to entail. A sort of scream, followed by cackling laughter burst out from many of our mouths. My uncle had decided to model his ‘joke’ Christmas gift from my Aunt: a Borat-style green mankini. Needless to say my eyeballs were left scarred.”


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