December in Coronation Street is always a busy time of year, with an annual marriage, murder - or both - waiting around the corner come Christmas day. Luckily, the festive period is a far more relaxing affair for the actors who play the much-loved characters. From Shayne Ward celebrating baby Willow's first Christmas, to Catherine Tyldesley's handy present cupboard, we find out how the stars of the cobbles celebrate the happiest time of the year during their time off from the street.
Catherine Tyldesley's character, Eva is set to have an eventful Christmas on the street
For Catherine Tyldesley, who plays Eva Price in the popular soap, it will be her first Christmas as a wife, having married Tom Pitfield in the summer. The couple, who have a one-year-old son, Alfie, will be spending the morning eating bacon butties and chipolatas, with Catherine ensuring that her family are all in matching festive costumes. "Tom, Alfie and I are going to dress as matching elves this year, we love a theme," she said.
Revealing her genius time-saving way to stock up on presents, the star said: "Throughout the year, if I see something that I think a family member or friend will like, I buy it and put it in my Christmas Cupboard. I’ve found that often if you do it earlier then you are paying half the price because things go up at Christmas".
While Catherine is set to have a happy Christmas with her family, her alter-ego Eva Price might not have such a nice time. With boyfriend Aiden (played by Shayne Ward) currently pining for her best friend Maria (Samia Longchambon) after their brief liaison, there is a big chance it will all be revealed during the season of good will.
Aiden (Shayne Ward) and Maria (Samia Longchambon) have been getting more than friendly recently
In real life, Shayne is nothing like his character, and welcomed baby Willow into the world earlier this month with partner Sophie Austin. Giving an insight into the Ward's family Christmas, he revealed: "It is the time that families come together and I get to relive my youth with my brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews. It’s a lot of fun, games, laughter, arguing, drinking and dancing to loud Irish music".
The star also gave his top tips to having a stress-free Christmas: "Do the dishes! Make sure you are contributing to whoever is cooking, let them know they are doing a wonderful job, the food is gorgeous and put your feet up."
Christmas for Maria is going to be a bitter-sweet occasion, with the hairdresser facing time behind bars for her fake marriage to her Argentinian friend, Pablo. While embarking on a fling with Adam Barlow and trying to forget about Aiden, she certainly has a lot on her mind.
Watching her character during the festive season is a must for actress Samia Longchambon. "It is a big time for Maria this Christmas so I will be watching her storyline, maybe behind a cushion," she said.
Samia has said she will be watching the soap over Christmas behind a cushion
Samia, who is mum to seven-year-old Freya and Yves, 15 months, said that has a special outfit in store for her youngest child. "I bought Yves a little elf outfit the other day so that will be cute when I dress him up in that," she said.
Back on the street, an affair might well be on the cards for the Platt family too, with Bethany, played by Lucy Fallon, falling for Gary Windall's charm, despite the fact he is going out with her mum, Sarah-Louise. What could possibly go wrong?
Tina O'Brian, who plays the unaware mum, is planning on making sure Christmas is focused on her two children, eight-year-old Scarlett with former partner Ryan Thomas, who played Jason Grimshaw on the street, and two-year-old Beau, with fiance Adam Crofts.
Sarah (Tina O'Brian) and daughter, Bethany (Lucy Fallon) have found themselves in love with the same man
"It’s all about children for me because I have got two little ones. It’s just a really nice time of year and an excuse to bring some magic into everyday life."
Sharing a sweet festive memory of when her daughter, Scarlett, was younger, Tina said: "After my daughter, Scarlett, had opened all her Christmas presents when she was about four she noticed there was a piece of cotton string that was coming from the Father Christmas by the side of the tree. This cotton went all around the house and she followed it into her bedroom where she discovered that she now had a bed with a slide. She was so happy and started jumping up and down. It was the cutest thing ever – I’ll never forget that!"