News & features

Delia ad lib: what Christmas means to me


Delia and chair ChristmasChristmas and me go back a very long way – 69 years to be precise – and while I can’t really recall the first five or so, I have a vivid fusion of memories spanning the rest of the years, which are very much about what and who I am. An enormous factor in this is obviously my belief and, for me, the whole of Advent – from the first candle on the first Sunday right up to Christmas Day – is always a time of anticipation and excitement.

Alongside that, I was brought up on large family celebrations that centred round two things: good food and hospitality. My mother, and both my grandmothers, were great cooks and there was always a plenteous amount of food prepared over the months leading up to the big day, when family and friends (and sometimes strangers, as there always seemed to be space for last-minute guests who didn’t have families to go to) would gather round for a great feast.

Over the years I’ve tried to keep my links with that tradition, and I suppose my book, Delia Smith’s Christmas, published in 1990, was the culmination of all that. Mind you, after recording a whole series of TV programmes to accompany it, that particular year I couldn’t face doing it myself!

So our entire family decamped to Barbados and spent Christmas horizontal on the beach, watching Father Christmas arrive on a jet-ski and listening to Christmas carols under swaying palm trees, thankful we weren’t in a heaving supermarket trying to find baby sprouts. But lovely as it was, it wasn’t Christmas as we knew it. I still love the romance, the warmth and cosiness of Christmas in the depths of an English winter.

Return to Homepage
Visit the Delia Online Cookery School with Waitrose
Click here to go to



CMS solutions by