Interview: Susan Boyle talks Christmas

Susan Boyle

Ahead of her concert here in Edinburgh in March, Susan Boyle discusses Christmas traditions, family, songs and more...

Perfect Christmas day?
My perfect Christmas day is the same every year and I enjoy it immensely. I normally end up visiting a number of family and friends and having one too many Christmas dinners. I love spending time with my friends and their families, especially with young children around, that's what it’s all about, the children and watching the sheer joy on their faces when they are opening their Christmas gifts, or the utter horror at some gifts. I love being around children, there is no filter or ability to mask emotions, they just come out with it and to spend time with close knit families who love each other so much is what Christmas day is all about, also like a good game of charades in the afternoon to get the competitive juices flowing. I will also go to midnight mass at my local church as I do every year. It’s a wonderful candlelit service and it’s a real community occasion. Gives you a good dose of Christmas spirit!

What was Christmas like in your family home?
With so many of us it was a bit like pandemonium! It was always a magical time in my family. At home my mother prepared a crib in our living room and a tree with tinsel branches and glowed with tiny coloured fairy lights. I would attend midnight mass with my parents. As a wee child I remember when I woke up my first thought was presents and I’d be straight out of bed.  Our living room was filled with the scent of tangerines and overnight it had miraculously turned into Santa’s grotto. We each had our own wee pile of toys, they weren’t wrapped, My pile was always in the left hand corner by the window and when I was little I would have to squash past my brothers to get to them. It was all so exciting. It was always wonderful to spend the day together and go to mass.

Best gift ever received?
The best Christmas gift I can remember is when I was 13. It was the year my brother Gerard bought me my fist portable record player and two Donny Osmond LP’s. It was the best Christmas present ever.  It had two speeds go you could play LP’s and singles. From that moment on all you could hear in our house was the Osmond’s and me singing along.

Best gift you’ve ever given someone?
The best gift I’ve given someone? Hmmm well I like to be generous and I like to give someone what they want, not just a pair of socks, which are useful but not exactly imaginative. In all seriousness though, it’s important to donate blood, to give someone a second chance when they most need it. That’s probably the most important gift I’ve given.
 

Favourite Christmas song?
My favourite Christmas song is White Christmas. Whenever I’m asked this question I giggle to myself as the first time I went to New York in 2009 to promote my album I Dreamed A Dream, I was doing an interview and they asked me what my favourite holiday song was. Well I didn’t know back then that holiday is what they call Christmas so I thought they meant a summer holiday song, so off the top of my head I just said teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikini, well the confused looks on their faces and my team off camera on their knees crying with laughter. Luckily it was pre-recorded, so by the time we all finished howling with laughter, I got to do a second take!

Favourite Christmas food?
That would have to be the full Christmas dinner with all the trimmings. Oh and a mince pie, I do like a good homemade mince pie.
 

One Christmas wish?
My one Christmas wish would be, peace to people throughout the world. We are living in challenging times right now and we need peace.

How did you celebrate Christmas at school?
Christmas time at school was also very special.  We would make paper chains and listen to the best story of all, the story of Jesus’ birth. We sung Christmas carols together and I remember the first solo I sang was Child in the Manger to the tune of Morning has Broken. I was very nervous at the thought of singing on my own, so I hid behind the other children in the choir. The trembling stopped when I began to sing. As I finished, there was a moment of pure silence. Then I heard the clapping. It was the first time I felt good at something.

Don't miss Susan's concert here on 25 March!