If there is one song guaranteed to get you whistling and in the feel-good festive mood it is Irving Berlin's White Christmas. This year, to mark the launch of their Christmas window display, Fenwick Bond Street brought the song to life by inviting the stars of the Dominion Theatre’s White Christmas musical - including Aled Jones, Waterloo Road’s Tom Chambers and Coronation Street’s Wendi Peters - to serenade shoppers.
We're dreaming of a white Christmas
With Aled singing from the store's balcony, which hasn’t been opened since 1945, and the chorus below sprinkled with artificial snow, the rendition soon stopped traffic in London’s Mayfair. Now with our exclusive video, you too can enjoy the magical scene.
Aled Jones on his perfect Christmas
We caught up with singer and ITV presenter before his performance harnessed to Fenwick's balcony (in his words, "just another Wednesday") to discover what he loves about Christmas.
What are your strongest memories of Christmas?
Music - from primary school through to cathedral choirs and all my life through “that” song. I suppose I have been a part of everyone’s Christmas - but I don’t mind it because I love it and I love Christmas music. And it’s why this is the ideal show for me.
What will everyone be singing in your house?
It’s definitely not Walking in the Air because my kids know better than that. They pulled that one on me in Homebase once. They started singing along and I soon marched them out. I get tuned in immediately, all I have to hear is the bells. I was in another department store that used to play it all the time. I can remember going bright red at the till and saying to the assistant, ‘I will come back later’.
Does it make you cringe?
Not now. I think if it did I would be in the Priory rocking gently. It was tough when I was at college, all my mates taking the mickey, but most people know me for that so I have been very lucky. I had recorded 12 albums by the time I did Walking in the Air. The composer wanted me to do the advert for Toys R Us and all of a sudden that escalated into a single. This Christmas my 30th album is coming out, that’s ten more than Madonna, and ten more than Queen. I was a little machine when I was a kid.
What is your favourite part of Christmas?
Seeing it through my kids' excited eyes. Halloween is bad enough, but my God, when Christmas comes it’s mental. It’s a time when you want to close the front door and be with your family. I don’t put any pressure on that one day - so long as you’ve bought enough batteries then stuff everything else. I don’t care if the meal is burnt, it’s just a time to be together. I love all the traditions, goose, turkey, port and mince pies, but the real magic is when everyone sits down, and you have Christmas dinner, pull the crackers, and you look at your mum and dad and think ‘I hope I never turn into you, wearing those daft paper hats’. But then secretly we all do.
Complete the sentence…All I want for Christmas…
Is a day off. I am going to be singing my little heart out every day but Christmas Day through to January 3. Every time I say that now my mouth goes dry and I think what have I done? But I get to sing White Christmas 137 times during that period. I don’t get to do it on a balcony but I do today!
What is the best present you have ever received?
It's a choice of two. My first bike, and I once got six foot snooker table - I probably played with that more than any other Christmas present.
Would you like to do the X-Factor?
They would never want me, I’m too middle of the road. I’m not edgy enough. Sam Bailey is a good mate of mine, it was a great platform to show that amazing voice of hers. I would be so scared of mentoring someone like that though, it is such a transient world. I always listened to my radio dad, Terry Wogan, who told me to spread myself as thinly as possible as it makes it much more difficult for people to get rid of you. Look, I’m doing musical theatre. I did Joseph for a year, it was the largest show in the world at the time, straight after Phillip Schofield. I always feel weird saying I did a musical after Phillip Schofield.
Tom Chambers on his perfect Christmas
We also caught up with the winner of Strictly Come Dancing 2008, and star of Waterloo Road and Holby City, about what makes the festive season special.
Where will you be spending Christmas this year?
I will be at home in Marlow with my wife Claire, my son William and my daughter Olive. Usually we go to my parents, I have three sisters and a brother so if they all bring their partners and children there's 24 of us. We always go to midnight mass a little bit squiffy, so we can sing to our hearts' content without anyone worrying. Christmas Day will be smoked salmon blinis and bubbles, and a late lunch with the fire lit.
What does the holiday mean to you?
It means lots of family time, laziness and overindulgence. It doesn't matter what time of day it is to start eating and drinking - it can be 11 am. It also means taking time out. Letting your shoulders drop, watching Christmas TV and putting your feet up.
What is your first Christmas memory?
Leaving the mince pie and sherry out for Santa and writing him a letter asking for a remote-control Knight Rider car - didn’t get it, it was a bit much.
What's the worst present you've ever received?
Every year it’s from Aunty Penny - really bad towels that don’t dry you and once, when I was 12, I got a face that you put on your wall that spits water.
Do you re-gift?
Not really at Christmas but I will re-gift a goody bag. Occasionally you get really good ones - mainly aftershave.
What was more nerve-wracking, this or the Strictly Come Dancing final?
Strictly, it was a heart-in-your-throat moment.
And are you competitive with Aled about dancing?
No, we’ve already had this conversation, he was kicked out in the semi-final [of Strictly] and I got to the final. Julian Clary pipped him to the post. Anyway I am more competitive with myself. I have a seven-minute dance routine to learn for the show that I still keep getting wrong. Strictly dances were only 90 seconds – and now there is singing as well.
Complete the sentence…All I want for Christmas…
Is some peace and quiet; a beach, light blue sea and a Pina Colada, or one of Jamie Oliver’s Mojitos.
By Claire Brayford