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Features > Christmas With The Neighbours

It’s that time of year once again, and we thought we’d ask a few of the Neighbours stars what they normally get up to at Christmas, and whether they have anything special planned for 2005…

Richard Cawthorne (Reuben Hausman): Well I guess Christmas for me is really a time to get together with family and friends - kick back, relax and enjoy each others company. Christmas Day tends to be a family affair, with my dad this year insisting he make all the culinary preparations (a great cook - so looking forward to a feast and a half!) As the afternoon winds down and the evening approaches, I'll probably spend the next couple of hours with my feet up before catching up with some friends for a few evening drinks.

Isabella Dunwill (Geri Hallett): Christmas is a pretty small family affair, which we start celebrating on Christmas Eve. This continues through Christmas Day and Boxing Day, by which time I'd be quite happy not to see another fish or turkey for another twelve months! We exchange presents on Christmas Eve, the European way, and then have an Australian BBQ style lunch in the Summer heat the next day. So my Christmas always feels like the best of both worlds. There's nothing unusual or special planned this year - I'm just planning to enjoy every minute with my wonderful family and feel very lucky for the life I'm fortunate enough to live, but hey, that's pretty special, if you ask me! Ahhhhhhhhh sigh :-)

Gary Files (Tom Ramsay): Normally I spend Xmas in Tasmania where my partner and I had a Convict Cottage (circa 1848) for some twenty two years. But since we sold that three years ago we have had our Xmases close to my sister and my nieces. Last year I was doing a very big new Australian musical called "Eureka" so I had to be in Melbourne - but when that finished I went to Canada to Toronto to see my daughter Gemma (yes, that's right my real daughter is called Gemma - named after the British actress Gemma Jones) and my brand new grandson Callum - or Cal, as we call him. That was a wonderful experience for me - as I love both dearly... and bloody cold. I was reminded why I chose to return home to Oz to live. I'd rather be too hot than too cold, any time.

This year my partner Janina and I will be 'house sitting' for a friend in Hobart, Tasmania. Yes, we missed Tassie desperately and all our friends there and will do the whole Chrissie thing down there, complete with tiny tree in the dining room. Our friend's daughter lives in Melbourne so there will be a bit of a swap going on. Her house in Hobart is right where the yachts from the Sydney to Hobart race come in and we LOVE to watch the end of that - in person.

Alan Fletcher (Karl Kennedy): Every second year, of course, I do panto. This year, I’ll be at home so my Christmas holidays will be spending time with the children, and we’ll have two weeks holiday in Queensland – beautiful, sunny Queensland – and go to the theme parks and have lots of fun.

Janine Maunder (theme tune vocalist): Christmas varies from year to year for me. I have family spread out across Australia, so our meeting place changes most years. Christmas a great reason to make an effort to get together and re-connect. Last year I had my first Berlin Christmas (my band moved there in July 2004) and we had some family fly from Melbourne to be ith us. A very special time. Snow, Christmas markets, mulled wine, and sub zero temperatures. I loved it! It was a total contrast to the hot Australian Christmas' I've grown up with.

This year I'll actually be flying home to Australia for 6 weeks’ holiday. Christmas will be spent in Warnambool, a coastal town halfway between Melbourne and Adelaide. My husband's family live there, and my parents will fly from Perth to join us. I'm actually very lucky that I have fabulous in-laws, and we all adore each other, so it really will be a wonderful festive season. In fact what could be better than eating fresh local lobster, barbequed seafood, sipping a crisp sauvignon blanc, swimming in the pool, spending time with the people you love.

Lawrence Mah (Mr Udagawa): Usually, at Christmas, we have a big Christmas bash at the local National Trust Home called the "Grove" when we bring in seafood from the neighbouring islands of Flinders and King (lobsters, king-prawns, etc etc.) and make gluttons of ourselves. This year, I have decided to change my plans and relax with my paintbrush instead.

Lulu McClatchy (Genevieve Doyle): This will be my first Christmas home in Melbourne for about 5 years, so I am really looking forward to it. We have a large extended family, so about 20 of us have a traditional Christmas dinner, this year it's at my aunt’s place so I have the added bonus of not having all the mess at my house! My plans for the New Year are to conquer the world, I am hoping to do that mid-year then live off the profits, I always try and make my New Year’s resolutions something I can stick to! (Ha Ha) Have a fantastic Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Shane McNamara (Gino Esposito): I would love to treat this question as a creative writing exercise. Tales of wild adventures in far away places. The truth is I visit a place called the Gold Coast on Australia's east coast each year to visit my mother. It's kind of an annual "fix it or ditch it", "patch it or pitch it" kind of visit. I am of course talking of my mother's internal organs, and the odd external limb. This is intermingled with the usual overindulgent Xmas lunch. To all of you I hope '05 has been kind and that '06 is even better.

Marcella Russo and Brett Swain (Liljana Bishop and Kim Timmins): Brett and I share going back to Adelaide one year to see my family and the next staying in Melbourne to be with his. Do I have anything special planned for this year? Nothing has been planned.... help! I'm sure someone has been messing with the calender cause normally I am reasonably organised but this year.... like I said ... help!