What epitomises Christmas in London for you?
Carols! Once I’ve been to a carol service I really feel ready for Christmas. There is so much wonderful music on offer in London. Carols at the Royal Albert Hall is pretty special. And last year I went to a beautiful candlelit carol service at St Paul’s Church in Knightsbridge.
What’s your earliest Christmas memory?
As a child I used to go to see Father Christmas at the Royal Mews each year. He would ride around the Mews in a carriage disguised as a sleigh and give out presents. So magical!
What smells and tastes do you associate with the festive period?
Do you prefer Christmas pudding, Christmas cake or a chocolate yule log?
Christmas cake – I adore the icing! Although I’m not a fan of marzipan so I have to perform a careful dissection.
What’s on your Christmas list to give and/or to receive from The Royal Exchange?
Smythson’s personalised correspondence cards. I’ve always loved personalised stationery – I think a letter always trumps an email or a text as a thank you.
My father is notoriously difficult to shop for, so I tend to go for food. Every year I get him Fortnum & Mason Turkish Delight – it’s the best!
If in doubt, a Jo Malone London candle or bath oil is always a winner, and Jo Malone’s Velvet Rose & Oud candle and Red Roses bath oil are my favourites. For my brothers, I tend to keep it simple and get them socks, ties or cufflinks. Hermès has some beautiful silk ties for men.
What’s your Christmas gift-wrapping style?
I’ll put it out there – I’m a master wrapper (really important to stress the ‘w’ there!). My family often get me to do all their wrapping too – so much so that, unbeknownst to me, I’ve wrapped up my own presents from my brothers before. Sometimes I cut up old fashion magazines and make the wrapping out of that. One year I woodblock-printed simple Christmas designs onto brown paper. And then I finish it all off with a beautiful ribbon.
Do you have any special, unique or unconventional Christmas traditions?
I always watch Titanic at Christmas. I seem to categorise it as a Christmas film for some reason. It’s definitely not a Christmas film.
Do you own a Christmas jumper?
Yes, a few! My particular favourite is a big Rudolph with a squishy nose. It’s wonderfully tacky.
What’s your favourite Christmas film?
Miracle on 34th Street.
Do you have a favourite Christmas song?
Last Christmas by Wham!
What signifies the start of the festive season for you?
Ice skating at Somerset House.
What do you think is the best way to help others at Christmas?
Try to include in your celebrations people who might be lonely at this time of year.
Lilah Parsons is a former model and MTV presenter, and currently hosts Heart’s Feel Good Weekend radio show on Friday and Saturday nights