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Christmas with Dan Walker… his quirky family traditions, worst gifts and most memorable year

'It's wild, frantic but always wonderful'

We'd love to be a fly on the wall at Dan Walker's home during the festive period. The Strictly Come Dancing star has opened up about how he typically spends Christmas Day, as part of our Christmas Digital Issue guest-edited by Martine McCutcheon.

READ: Martine McCutcheon reveals the other Christmas film she was almost cast in

Dan, along with his wife Sarah and their three children, are up at around 5am, open their presents at "ridiculous o'clock", and all take part in a weird but wonderful Christmas tradition. The BBC Breakfast host also pays tribute to his 'Wonder Woman' wife Sarah…

Martine McCutcheon stars on our Christmas Digital Cover

We usually spend Christmas at…

Our house. We tend to alternate between my family and my wife's family. Christmas in our household is like… The busiest day of the year. It's wild, frantic but always wonderful.

We wake up on Christmas morning at…

5am! The kids can't help themselves. We let them do their stockings on our bed and then we head downstairs with anyone else who happens to be in the house.

READ: Jasmine Harman shares her tear-jerking Christmas tradition at home

READ: Gary Barlow says Christmas is 'bloody chaos' with wife Dawn and children

For breakfast, we eat…

Bacon sandwiches. We are normally still stuffing sandwiches in our faces while we run out of the door to get to the Christmas Day service at church.

For Christmas lunch, we eat…

The usual. I love stuffing. I tend to keep plate number one to a little bit of everything and then plate number two tends to be reserved for the best stuff. Turkey, stuffing, bread sauce, roasties, pigs in blankets, cranberry sauce, and gravy.

We usually leave all the cooking to…

My wife if it's at our house… who is amazing. If there are loads of us, then various jobs will be allocated but Mrs Walker is like Wonder Woman at Christmas and conquers a perfect turkey.

RECIPE: Gordon Ramsay's alternative dessert to Christmas pudding 

After our big meal, we like to…

Chill out and play games. The kids have got into the habit of putting on some sort of concert or play which is always great fun but means we always miss the Queen's message.

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Dan and his family always perform a Christmas panto at home

My favourite Christmas film is…

A toss-up between Elf and Die Hard.

We normally open presents at…

Ridiculous o'clock. 90 per cent of them are done pre-breakfast.

The best Christmas present I've ever received was…

A shell suit. I had wanted one for an entire year and I remember unwrapping it on Christmas Day to pure noisy polyester joy. I've still got it somewhere in a cupboard. It was black with pink, green and white stripes… truly horrendous. My worst one was a bottle of ketchup and Back To The Future 3 VHS – ten years after it came out! My auntie had run out of ideas.

READ: Prince William and Kate's royal photographer reveals how to take the perfect Christmas photos

There's usually an argument about…

What time the kids have to go to bed. We tend to be argument-free but once tiredness, exhaustion and gluttony combine, things can go south.

My most memorable Christmas is…

The one I spent in Afghanistan with British troops. I love a family Christmas but that was an amazing experience which made me appreciate the sacrifice of others and how hard it must be to be so far away from loved ones.

The quirkiest Christmas tradition we have is…

The family panto. Same script every year, Cinderella, but a different theme and all the characters switch around. Everyone knows the punchlines so it's all wonderfully predictable but brilliant. There is a full dressing-up box and the ugly sisters are always played by two of the more senior gentlemen.

We end the day by…

Having some more food, rifling through the Miniature Heroes and playing a massive game or Empire.

If I had to pick just one thing I love about Christmas, it would be…

A toss-up between the Christmas Carol service at our church or pigs in blankets.

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