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The CEO of Fortnum & Mason, Ewan Venters, on magical Christmas memories, watching The Wizard of Oz, and never, ever wearing a Christmas jumper


What epitomises Christmas in London for you?

Going to see a festive ballet by the English National Ballet at the Coliseum has always been a tradition and this year at the charity gala my eldest daughter, Lotte, will be dancing as a solider in the Nutcracker!

What’s your earliest Christmas memory?

I remember from the age of seven, I have clear memories of visiting the windows at Fortnum & Mason and going into the store for a slice of Welsh Rarebit.

What smells and tastes do you associate with the festive period?

The smell of mulled wine and a box of chocolates that seems to never end.

Do you prefer Christmas pudding, Christmas Cake or a Chocolate Yule Log?

Gosh, Christmas Cake every time.

What’s on your Christmas list to give and/or to receive, from The Royal Exchange?

I’d love to receive anything from Bamford Grooming Department.

What’s your Christmas gift-wrapping style?

Classic and simple – let’s be honest it’s what’s inside that excites.

Do you have any special, unique or unconventional Christmas traditions?

After midnight mass, I do partake in the Italian tradition of Prosecco & Panettone.

Do you own a Christmas jumper?

No, never.

What’s your favourite Christmas film?

My favourite movie to watch at Christmas is the original The Wizard of Oz (1939).

Do you have a favourite Christmas song?

Driving home for Christmas by Chris Rea – being in retail I always work Christmas Eve, so I am literally driving home for Christmas towards the end of the day.

What signifies the start of the festive season for you?

The unveiling of Fortnum’s iconic Christmas windows on 1 November every year, however we’re trying and testing Christmas products all year round, so it’s always Christmas at Fortnum’s

What do you think is the best way to help others at Christmastime?

Christmas is traditionally a time for excess, however in recent years there has been a shift towards responsible purchasing and we support the fantastic initiatives like The Felix Project that help us with waste reduction.

Ewan Venters is CEO of Fortnum & Mason;