Robbie Savage’s mum Val says Christmas won’t be the same but we can make the best of it

Robbie Savage’s mum Val says Christmas won’t be the same but we can make the best of it

No matter how hard we all try, this year’s Christmas won’t be the same. And maybe that’s a good thing.

If we can’t rush out to the shops, maybe parents won’t spend as much and feel as stressed.

Now big parties are cancelled, none of us will feel pressured to squeeze in to new outfits and go out when we’d really rather stay cosy at home.

If Christmas expectations are lower, hopefully workloads will be easier and we can have time to enjoy life’s simpler pleasures.

Because when I was a child, Christmases were far less extravagant –  and far more enjoyable.

My cousins Geoff and John came to stay, and we woke at 2am to open the sacks Father Christmas left.

Val has beautiful memories of her childhood Christmases beside a roaring fire
(Image: Mirrorpix)

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We were over the moon with little flashlights and lay in bed swirling them to make patterns on the ceiling.

Our parents didn’t have the money to spoil us but I was thrilled with a toy sweetshop and its tiny jars of Dolly Mixtures. And a book which had a cardboard doll and different outfits to cut out with little scissors.

All were bought locally in places like the hardware store – there were no big shops near us.

Mum worked very hard making Christmas dinner from scratch when there was no dishwasher or microwave to make things easier.

Christmas dinner was always cooked from scratch when Val was a child
(Image: Getty Images)

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There were never enough rings on the stove for all the veg so her roast potatoes were never par boiled but dipped in goose fat, cooked in the oven and always perfectly crispy on the outside and softly fluffy inside.

Weeks beforehand she’d make a big pudding with sixpences in – not like today when you just buy one from Sainsbury’s and shove it in the microwave until it pings. I loved seeing Dad pour some rum over the top and light it with a match.

We only had the outside loo, which often had icicles. But it was so cosy playing games beside the roaring fire in the parlour, as only posh people had lounges.

Dad cracked open Brazil nuts and mum told him off because the shells flew everywhere.

That night we joined all the neighbours outside to hear church choirboys sing carols under an old paraffin lamp. And the day ended with us all back around the fire, using the long fork to toast bread we smothered in dripping.

It’s no wonder I have high cholesterol now.

We may have come forwards technically but maybe we’ve gone backwards socially.

This year, like many of us, I’ll spend Christmas Day alone. How can I choose which son to spend it with when I love them both equally?

And I’ll be OK. I’ll stay in my PJs all day, put my feet up on the sofa, enjoy a box of orange Matchmakers (although I like mint ones too, in case anyone’s asking).

Val will spend Christmas Day watching films – but not a weepy like It's a Wonderful Life
(Image: Runcorn Weekly News)

Val says she'll spend Christmas Day alone with her memories of her late husband Colin
(Image: Tony Spencer)

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I’ll wear the gorgeous tartan bib a lovely reader sent me so I don’t dribble anything down me. And I’ll watch my favourite old films – but not It’s a Wonderful Life as it’ll make me cry.

I won’t feel alone because I can FaceTime my family throughout the day and see them in their new Christmas jumpers. And I’ll be here with all my memories of my late husband Colin.

I respect Meghan for being so open  

Meghan was brave to share sad news of her miscarriage publicly.

Back in my day, many women felt such things should be kept hush hush. But I’m always a firm believer in being open, even about deeply personal things which are difficult to talk about. Bottling up makes things worse because they fester.

This week Meghan shared sad news of her miscarriage, and Val applauds her for being so open about such deeply personal matters
(Image: Getty)

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That’s why, when most women I knew kept quiet about the change of life, I told my boys Jonathan and Robert I was going through the menopause.

I explained I had mood swings and how I couldn’t help when the red mist falls. I said: “If I ask you to pick up a cup, pick it up and for God’s sake do not say, ‘in a minute’.”

They knew I meant it – they could tell by my eyes.

But sometimes we can overshare.

Ruthie Henshall told her I'm a Celebity campmates about her relationship with Prince Edward – and Val wishes she hadn't
(Image: ITV/REX/Shutterstock)

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I was disappointed in Ruthie Henshall when she talked about her relationship with Prince Edward on I’m a Celebrity. She is a respected musical theatre star with immense talent, but she was disrespectful to Prince Edward, his wife, his children and most of all herself. And I’d feel the same if Prince Edward was a plumber.

Everyone has a romantic past, but blabbing about it on national television does not put Ruthie in a good light. If it was a way of winning attention it was a cheap shot. 

Bugged on my trip to the valleys

I’m a Celebrity still has me glued. And I have some insider information which will put some rumours to bed.

To the people who say it’s terrible that cockroaches from the trials are in the Welsh countryside when they’re not native, I’d like to tell them I once found a cockroach in a B&B near Cardiff when I was watching our Robert play football.

Val's neighbour Nia visited the local area near Gwrych Castle and came back with insider information
(Image: Julian Hamilton/Daily Mirror)

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And to the people who say the campmates are in a studio and not the castle, my neighbour Nia went to Conwy to look at Gwrych and in a local cafe talked to people who worked on the castle to get it ready for the show. One lady said her husband was a joiner and was spoiling her enjoyment of the show by constantly saying: “I made that!”

So let’s not question the magic – let’s just enjoy it.

I'm fresh out of cakes

My friend Sheila is an incredible home baker and kindly dropped off six lemon tartlets, six mince pies and half a lemon drizzle cake on Monday. She said I could keep the tins to keep them fresh.

Val made short work of Sheila's mince pies
(Image: Lucy Skoulding)

There was no need. I ate four of the lemon tarts with one cup of tea, then ate the other two later that night. The next day I started on the mince pies and before I knew it the lemon drizzle was just a few crumbs.

The cakes didn’t last long enough to go even slightly stale.

I went nuts at daughter-in-law

The salt from eating so many peanuts last week made my gums sore and I worried about the effect it would have on my veins.

Val Savage has had some peanut issues
(Image: Julian Hamilton/Daily Mirror)

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So I told my daughter in law Kim that even if I wrote “two big bags of BIG KP salted peanuts” on my shopping list this week, not to buy them.

Kim didn’t buy them. And then I told her she was cruel.

If you'd like to contact Val, please email [email protected]

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