BY January 2, most of us are thinking of taking the Christmas tree down.
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong, however, is ready for his next dose of all things festive by then.
Yes. While others are still reeling from a chaotic festive season, Alexander, 48, admits he’s “sort of elf-like in my adoration of the Yule”.
“I’m a singer as well, and for singers – for choral singers – Christmas is like Christmas. It’s amazing,” explains the star, who admittedly loves nothing more than a celebratory sing-song with his wife and four young sons.
“There’s so much music. Everything about it should be cherished.”
It’s this unrelenting enthusiasm that understandably puts Alexander – one half of the comedy duo Armstrong and Miller – in pole position to present ITV’s Best Christmas Ever.
A one-off, fabulously festive offering that will see him joined by a host of celebrity guests, each on mission to find out what – aptly – makes the best Christmas ever.
There will be fun, chat and live music as the famous faces go head to head to get their favourite bits voted “the best” by the studio audience.
So what’s the secret to conquering Christmastime, you ask?
“The main function of the show is to wallow in all the things that we love about Christmas,” explains Alexander.
“Christmas is one of those things that just gathers customs and traditions. If something happens twice, then it’s a tradition.
“So I think we are trying to find what the quintessence of Christmas is. The things that we fall back on are generally music, good company, booze, films, games and the many little flavours that we genuinely love.
“It’s time to shake the tree to see what’s still hanging on and find out what we really cleave to at this time of year.”
Alexander is excited at the prospect of special celebrity guests: “I’m hoping people will bring some interesting traditions – and share some good tips.
“I can tell you one of our guests will be the wonderful Prue Leith. So we are desperate to get some good cooking tips from her. I hope this is the kind of show that you watch with a pen and paper, so you can make a note of some of the hot tips we’ll be passing out.”
On his own culinary expertise come Christmas, Alexander reveals that he and his wife “divide and conquer”.
“We try and do as much as we can in advance, but I’ve never been a fan of lessening the workload on the day.
“So yes, you can parboil your potatoes and your sprouts till you’re blue in the face, but you’ve still got to cook them on the day.
“We have various Christmas traditions and sometimes families have their own slightly mad ones,” adds Alexander.
“For example, our one is that we stand on the stairs and sing. We stand on the stairs and sing O Come, All Ye Faithful at teatime on Christmas Eve. I don’t know why, it’s just what we do!
“Every year, it’s got a bit more elaborate so last year someone decided to light lots of candles and turn the lights off.
“There’s also quite a lot of management of expectation going on – as well as running around looking for batteries.
“If there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s just to buy a massive bag of every single possible size of battery you could possibly need.
“But yes, there’s high spirits mixed with everyone getting overtired and lots of children running around the house, which is lovely. God, I’ll miss it when the children reach the next stage of family life.”
Will Alexander be singing himself on Best Christmas Ever?
“Oh God, they’ll be fighting me off the stage. Yes, I will be singing.
“I promise not to sing too much but we have a fabulous house band and I think it’s fair to say that everyone will be singing.
“Song is going to be a big part of our Best Christmas Ever. All comers will be involved in the music.”
Asked to nominate his favourite Christmas food, song and film, Alexander has a surprise answer.
“I absolutely love Brussels sprouts. I have a sprout recipe that I would challenge anyone not to like.
“Favourite Christmas film? Obviously It’s A Wonderful Life, we know that. But I’m probably going to take Trading Places. That’s a film I love.
“Christmas music? That’s difficult, I have a lot of classical music in my Christmas repertoire, but I’ll go for Smith & Burrows – When The Thames Froze.”
Best Christmas Ever with Alexander Armstrong will air on ITV on Sunday December 16 at 9pm