How Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Richard Jones create the perfect family Christmas
Singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor and her base-playing husband in The Feeling Richard Jones talk about using music to set the mood on Christmas Day
With 10 years of hosting experience under their belts, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Richard Jones are pros at entertaining the whole family at Christmas.
Here they talk about keeping up traditions, avoiding the dreaded Christmas Day arguments and setting the mood with the right music.
What’s Christmas Day like at your house?
Sophie: The house is always bustling and lively. I love putting up the Christmas tree and table set in the living room. We have music playing and decorations everywhere.
Richard: It’s a proper traditional day for us. We start by bringing our stockings downstairs and opening presents. Then people start to come over for Christmas lunch.
We might go for a little walk in the afternoon before coming home and just getting slowly sozzled. We play charades, watch a movie and end the night with a little disco in the kitchen.
Who does the cooking?
Richard: We share the cooking now. For the first few years Sophie did it while I took over front of house duties and greeted the guests. One year we swapped and I realised that it was actually really hard work! Since then we’ve managed to do it together.
Sophie: We’ve hosted Christmas at ours for the last 10 years. It’s quite a big deal because we’ve both got such big families. There are usually a few stragglers, too – family friends or anyone who’s passing by. We’ve had anything from 12 to 20 guests before.
Is there one room you gather in on the day?
Sophie: We spend most of the time in the living room. Richard comes downstairs in the morning, lights a fire and sticks on the Christmas playlist. We all gather round listening to our favourite Christmas songs and jazz until the evening when he starts making amazing cocktails.
That’s when we move to the kitchen – we turn up the music and the disco lights and the smoke machine go on. We all have a little boogie. It’s just a really lovely atmosphere.
How do you use music to set the mood throughout the day?
Sophie: It’s constant. The music doesn’t stop from the moment we come downstairs right up until we doze off in front of the fire – so having a high quality audio set up is really important to us. This year we’ll be sticking on our wireless multi-room speakers and getting the music playing all over the house right away.
They’re so easy to set up and I love how we can stream anything we want straight from our phones.
What’s your favourite thing about hosting Christmas?
Sophie: We’re really fortunate because we manage to avoid the traditional family arguments at Christmas. I think because there’s such a big cross section of generations there’s always someone to talk to and you can always find likeminded folk.
It’s a really chilled, easy-going day filled with music and the kids are always happy – I absolutely love the happy chaos of it.