When Ronan and Storm Keating returned from their winter trip to the Maldives earlier this month for Storm’s 40th birthday, they couldn’t wait to get the Christmas countdown underway with their four-year-old son Cooper and their daughter Coco, who will turn two in March.
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"Christmas Eve is our favourite night of the whole year," Storm says as they prepare to deck the halls and "flick the switch on Christmas" at their family home, just outside of London. This year, the festive season will be even more magical as they will be welcoming extra special arrivals: "Storm’s family is coming to visit from Australia, and we’re so excited!" says Ronan.
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"After the last two years that we’ve all had, being together is the most important thing and that’s what we’re treasuring this year."
Fashion designer Storm may have swapped her Yuletide traditions of cricket, water fights, the beach and throwing a "snag on the barbie", for a cold and cosy "quintessential Christmas", but she has brought some Aussie traditions with her that Ronan, 44, now can’t see Chrimbo without.
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"Storm has something called a rum ball – something her mum used to make and her grandmother before her. She brought that tradition here."
The couple will celebrate Christmas with Storm's family
Made with rum, coconut, biscuits, condensed milk and cocoa, he says: "They’re amazing! I eat loads of them. A bottle of wine and a rum ball and I’m set up for Christmas!"
So, what’s Ronan’s festive tradition? "I bring the falling asleep in front of the television, watching James Bond on Christmas Day!"
With movies, mulled wine and Irish coffee flowing, a typical Keating Christmas sounds wholesome and enchanting, and this year there is extra sparkle as the family has had some festive magic sprinkled over their home by décor connoisseur Balsam Hill.
"Christmas morning is all about kids underneath the Christmas tree," says Storm. "We have all our beautiful decorations and a magnificent nine foot tree thanks to Balsam Hill. At least I can save time putting the lights on this year as they’re built in!"
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All luxury artificial Christmas trees, garlands, wreaths and decorations by Balsam Hill. Visit balsamhill.co.uk.
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