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Joanna Lumley on how to have an Ab Fab Christmas

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‘Tis almost the season to eat, drink and be merry – and who better to share some Christmas Day dos and don’ts than model turned actor, author and icon Joanna Lumley?

The 75-year-old, whose book, A Queen For All Seasons, was released in October, let us in on a few of her Christmas Day essentials – and, much to our delight, it seems she’s learnt a thing or two from her champagne-quaffing Ab Fab alter-ego Patsy Stone.

The very first drink of the day? It has to be champagne, she insists. “Not too early, otherwise you become stupid, but maybe at midday,” she says.

Photo credit: David Venni
Photo credit: David Venni

“And if you can punctuate every drink with at least half a glass of water, you won’t get a hangover – darling, listen to me!”

As for canapés, the key according to Joanna is not serving anything too messy. “You don’t want to spoil your guests beautiful clothes by giving them something that will drop down their fronts,” she says.

“I’m all for pretzels, salted peanuts, and I’m devoted to crisps. But not too many – don’t do what I do, which is eat four kilos of salted peanuts. Don’t do that.”

And if you’re thinking of serving up cheese and biscuits this Christmas, you might want to take Joanna’s advice on board.

‘I like to do what the French do – they always have the cheese course before pudding,” she says.

“Because a Frenchman once said, ‘Who wants to kiss someone who tastes of cheese?’ So you eat your cheese and then have something Christmassy – homemade mince pies are brilliant, but mine are ghastly, so I buy them.”

Photo credit: David Venni
Photo credit: David Venni

Do party games follow dessert? ‘My husband is allergic to party games, so if it’s family, they won’t be played,” Joanna reveals.

“But crackers must be pulled pretty soon because I like people looking pretty ghastly in paper hats. Lots of people don’t like to wear paper hats; at my table, they’re compulsory.’

If paper hats are good enough for Joanna Lumley, they’re good enough for us.

To discover more of Joanna’s tips, watch the full video above. A Queen For All Seasons: A Celebration Of Queen Elizabeth II On Her Platinum Jubilee (Hodder & Stoughton, £20) by Joanna Lumley is out now.

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