MARTINE McCutcheon has opened up about her heartwarming Christmas Eve tradition – and why her family open presents before the 25th.
The Love Actually actress, 46, is looking forward to spending time with her loved ones this weekend, which include husband Jack McManus and their seven-year-old son Rafferty.
While most people will get to see what they've been given on Sunday, Martine and her family will be opening a few of them a day early.
When asked if she has any Christmas traditions or rituals, the singer opened up about what they get up to every year during the festive season.
Speaking exclusively to The Sun, Martine said: "We always light a candle for loved ones on Christmas Eve and we are all allowed to open one present at midnight…
"We are such kids that we can’t wait!”
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The star has already done lots of Christmassy things, but cannot wait to enjoy tasty food and play games with her family.
Martine continued: "I am so excited – we love Christmas! Rafferty is SO excited for Santa to come this year.
"I just love love love how magical Christmas is, and the delight on his little face when he wakes up.
"Christmas for us, is lots of food, lots of singing, and lots of festivities in our house.
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"One big thing is that we play a lot of games – anything! We split up into teams and we’re all very competitive.
"If my Mum wins, she tends to sing ‘We are the Champions’ at the top of her lungs!
"We’ve already been to lots of Christmassy places and have loved playing in the snow, so we’re feeling very festive!"
Although the EastEnders actress is looking forward to quality time with her family, she does have a few things in mind of what she'd like under the tree.
She confessed: "I would love some new pyjamas, some silky ones in a dusty blue colour, and obviously every girl loves jewellery!”
The mum-of-one has been very busy in the lead up to Christmas.
Earlier this month she looked incredible as she stepped out in London today to film something very special.
She recently joined forces with Vodafone to enable theatre performer Tanja Bage to be able to sing again.
The mum-of-two had to have her voice box removed in 2020 following a throat cancer diagnosis.
But with the aid of a smart instrument called an Electrospit she was able to perform a Christmas Carol for her sister.
The Electrospit was used with high speed 5G network and Martine’s vocals.
Speaking about the campaign, Martine told us: "The campaign is a lovely campaign where Vodafone’s 5G network enabled Tanja to sing with some amazing tech.
"The tech is an instrument placed round the neck called an electric spit that takes sound in and allows the user to shape that sound into words and sing!
"It’s usually connected to an instrument, like a synth or a keyboard – but this time, we used my vocals.
"These were then sent in real time over to Tanja, who was standing on the doorstep singing for her sister Mia."
Martine was quick to say yes to help out when she heard about Tanja's brave story.
"When I heard about the campaign, I just had to do it. It really resonated with me – it’s such a lovely thing to do," she said.
"Tanja is completely inspirational, and I’ve struck up a strong bond with her – I think we’ll be friends for life.
"She has always loved singing and acting and went to a performing arts college, carried it through to university and has also been involved with lots of amazing theatre.
"Her story is phenomenal, and I am so glad to have been able to take part in this gorgeous surprise.
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"Her sister was so overwhelmed, I’m glad I got to see on a screen from where I was singing the live reaction… although it was emotional and nearly stopped me singing!"
- Vodafone’s 5G Christmas Carol. Martine McCutcheon helps to deliver first-of-its-kind magical Christmas carol thanks to Vodafone 5G. #TogetherWeCan
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