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My Christmas Day is like the Simpsons meets the Griswalds; Sunday Mail columnist and TV presenter Jean Johansson on enjoying some crazy family fun today and tomorrow.


While most people are running around like headless turkeys preparing for Christmas Day, TV presenter Jean Johansson is in an even bigger flap - getting ready for two.

The stunning mum-of-one, who is married to Finnish footballer-turned-coach Jonatan, celebrates Scandinavian Christmas on December 24 before doing it all over again.

But fortunately Jean, 36, is a big fan of the festive season and can't wait for a mammoth two-day celebration with her massive family, who she describes as a cross between the Griswalds and the Simpsons.

And for The Animal Park presenter, who lives in Skelmorlie, Ayrshire, with Rangers assistant coach Jonatan, 42, and son Junior, seven it's all about food and having fun.

Sunday Mail columnist Jean said: "I am a Christmas junkie. I love all things festive, which is a good job as we have two Christmases every year. We do the whole Scandinavian Christmas on the 24th and the Scottish version on the 25th. I get to take it easy on Christmas Eve as Jonatan does all the cooking and the running around.

"It's just the three of us, which is really lovely. We have Finnish rice pudding at midday, which is absolutely delicious. It has the consistency of porridge and is full of jam and cinnamon. There is an almond hidden in one of the puddings and whoever finds it gets to make a wish.

"Lunch is an absolute feast which Jonatan lays out in the dining room and we pick away at it all day. There's usually meatballs, lingonberry jelly, salmon, a white fish that has been baked in the oven, ham and gravadlax. There is also cold fish like herring, which Jonatan likes and Junior and I hate.

"There will be a selection of Christmas dark beers which you can get in Ikea. I'm also partial to a wee Swedish Schnapps and, as we rarely leave the house that day, I can have as many as I like.

"In Finland, Santa comes after dinner on the 24th so if we are in Scotland we let Junior open his presents from his dad's family before he goes to bed."

Although Jean is celebrating her double Christmas in Ayrshire this year, she says they also have a great time when they spend the festive season in Finland with Jonatan's mum Synne, 65.

She said: "Jonatan is from a small called Pargas, two hours south west of Helsinki. Christmas is extra special over there because, of course, the country's most famous Finn is Santa Claus, who you can visit every day of the year.

"We were lucky enough to spend last Christmas in Finland. It was magical for Junior with huskies, reindeer rides and snow as far as the eye could see. However, it will be nice to spend this year at home."

December 25 starts very early in Scotland for the former model and weathergirl with a trip to the cemetery with her mum Winnie, 65, and dad John, 73.

She said: "We go to wish Merry Christmas to my brother Robert, who died in 1991, when he was just 16. We like to have a quiet moment to remember him and Jonatan's dad Bertil, who passed away in 1999 from cancer, before all the craziness starts and my whole family start to arrive at the house. This year we are at 17 and counting.

I'm one of seven and there are five grandkids. It's like the Griswalds meets the Simpsons. There is wrapping paper everywhere, the kids run wild dancing to Christmas tunes, while the adults relax in front of the fire."

Jean, whose mum Winnie hails from Uganda, spends most of the 25th working.

She said: "My mum and I are usually in the kitchen pulling all the food together. We will have turkey with all the trimmings and mum always does a goose. There will also be a beef and a fish dish too. I have a big family and we all have different tastes so there is always something to suit everyone.

"For dessert we have homemade Christmas pudding and brandy butter and she always rustles up a black forest gateau, which is Jonatan's favourite. We eat about 5pm but there will be snacks and canapes on the go all day as well as wine and brandy cocktails. After dinner, some folk play snooker, others disappear into the TV room for a Christmas movie and the kids play with their toys. It's a chaotic, noisy, manic, yet very happy day."

Boxing Day is traditionally a football day in the Johansson house.

Jean said: "The 26th has always been a working day for Jonatan as he's either been playing or coaching. This year Rangers aren't playing until the 27th. On Boxing night every year I meet up with my girlfriends in a wee pub in Gourock.

"Between Christmas and New Year we will be in the Cotswolds with friends, and will take in a panto, go ice skating, eat lots and watch movies like the Wizard of Oz."

Jean, who would love to become a regular One Show host, says this Yuletide she will raise her glass to her best friend and fellow Sunday Mail columnist Craig-Alexander Wilson, who passed away last New Year's Eve.

She said: "This was Craig's favourite time of year. He was Mr Christmas, his house was like a sparkly grotto in which a glitter bomb had gone off. He would be mad if I didn't do Christmas in style this year in his honour.

"I may have two Christmas days but if Craig had his way, he would have made it Christmas every day for everyone. So this year I will be raising a glass to him, bopping around to the cheesiest music I can find and spreading as much glitter as I can."

'' There's wrapping paper everywhere, the kids run wild while t he adults relax. It's a chaotic, noisy, manic, yet very happy day


SCANDI WOR K Jean's huby Jonatan will be serving up gravadlax - Nordic raw salmon dish - today

double the fun Junior, Jean and Jonatan have two Christmases

JINGLE BELLE Jean is looking forward to a big, chaotic family Christmas Day tomorroe
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Dec 24, 2017
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