With this Christmas looking a little different this year, we will all be spending more time celebrating at home with our loved ones. So as staying in has officially become the new going out, we've launched our #CelebrateWithFC series with some familiar faces to share how they're celebrating the festive season at home. From festive inspired recipes to homemade Christmas cocktails, we've got a little bit of inspiration for everyone.
Fancy a festive tipple? We caught up with men's fashion and lifestyle influencer, Luke Catleugh to talk all things Christmas traditions, his plans for the big day and keeping connected this season, plus he shares two of his favourite festive cocktail recipes for you to mix up at home.
How are you celebrating the festive period?
Things may feel a little bit different, but for me, the magic of Christmas will always remain. We are all hoping that things are a little bit better for the big day. I will be staying in London for Christmas so I am making sure my home is as festive as it can be, no inch will be un-decorated. I always find the lead-up to Christmas the most exciting and there are a whole host of things you can do in London to get you feeling festive. Christmas walks to the market stalls or seeing the streets lit up at night puts me in the festive mood.
How are you still keeping the magic of Christmas alive this year?
For me, it is all about making the most of everything, no matter how big or small. Even though I may not be with my family, I still do things we traditionally used to do as a family. Mulled wine and a movie night on an evening. Making a gingerbread house, singing Cliff Richard ‘Mistletoe and Wine’ as loud as we can whilst we decorate the tree. It’s hanging on to those traditions and keeping them alive which will make things feel just as special.
Do you have any Christmas Eve/Day traditions?
I actually prefer Christmas Eve to Christmas Day, the excitement and anticipation feels so magical. We always wake up fairly early on Christmas Eve and go for a lovely walk. A lot of the Christmas dinner prep starts the night before with peeling the vegetables and prepping the turkey. We also attend Midnight Mass which always feels so festive. For the big day, It’s tradition in our household to open your presents in your Christmas pyjamas and have chocolate for breakfast. In recent years now my sibling and I are old enough, we all have champagne and eggs for our second breakfast (yes we have two breakfasts). Nothing beats putting on the queens speech at 3pm with a box of Celebrations and a cheeky mince pie.
How are you planning on staying connected with family & friends?
Now more than ever I feel so grateful for technology. It has been invaluable throughout 2020. I think we have all done our fair share of Zoom quiz’s this year, however I most certainly will be coming up with a Christmas themed quiz which I think we can all make an exception for. A call to my family who I won’t get to see on the big day is an essential. We all used to take phone-calls for granted, but now they mean so much.
What will you be wearing Christmas day?
I do tend to stay in my pyjamas till we have eaten breakfast - it is a family tradition. Then once all of the presents are open, we all get dressed for the big day. I like to keep things smart/casual. Usually a thin roll-neck or an over shirt which can be taken off when things get warm in the kitchen. Casual chinos or loose trousers are always welcome after a large Christmas feast. And slippers, always slippers throughout the duration of the day.
What are your top tips for creating your own cocktails at home this festive season?
Keep things simple. Don’t over complicate cocktails. The classic cocktails are a good base and can be easily altered to give them a festive touch. Keep your ice stocked up in the freezer too! Consider a non-alcoholic cocktail to keep everyone happy, something fruity is always welcome. Punch or mulled spirits are wonderful to accommodate outdoor dining too. A dash of something fruity or sweet in a glass of champagne is so effective and decadent.
Quick fire round
A real or fake Christmas tree….Real. Always has been. Nothing can beat the smell.
Giving presents or receiving them…Always giving, I get way more excited seeing people open gifts!
My all-time favourite Christmas film is…Elf, it made me fall in love with New York.
My go-to festive drink is…Mulled wine, with a small splash of Amaretto (try it, it’s heavenly).
Staying in & dressing up or getting cosy this Christmas…Staying in and dressing up, any excuse to put on something fancy and I am there!
Luke's Favourite Festive Cocktail Recipes:
1. Chocolate Orange Espresso Martini
40ml Orange Vodka
20ml Coffee liqueur
10ml Chocolate liqueur
Chocolate to decorate
2. Festive Spiced Dark and Stormy
80ml Spiced rum
80ml Cranberry juice
120ml Ginger beer
10ml Maple syrup
20ml Lime juice
Cranberries, cinnamon sticks and lime wedges to decorate
Whether you’re dressing up for zoom Christmas drinks or mixing up homemade festive cocktails, we want to see how you’re celebrating with FC at home. Share your photos with us for the chance to win £150 worth of French Connection*. To enter, simply post your snap on Instagram with the hashtag #CelebrateWithFC and tag @frenchconnection. Good luck!
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