PLANNING AND PREPARING

Festive-season yarns with Shane Jacobson

Actor, comedian, writer, father, and BIG4 ambassador. Shane Jacobson sure is a busy man.

But at Christmas time, Shane pauses for a bit of R&R, and here he shares his tips, memories, and thoughts for all things silly season.

From the humorous to the serious, and everything in between, Shane’s Christmas holiday insights are sure to entertain.

Christmas holidays and the beach are a common pairing for many.

What’s your hot tip for getting the most from the Christmas break?

As soon as it looks like the sun is going to shine for more than a minute, just start the barbecue.

Then once the sun has remained out for more than five minutes, you put sausages on. And from there it doesn’t matter what happens next because you’ve got the sausages on.

It's all good as long as the barbie is on.

What does Christmas mean to you?

Surrounding yourself with family and friends or loved ones to me is what Christmas is all about. There’s a lot of talk around the big guy in the red suit that comes down your chimney, for which my kids can’t wait for every year, but for me and my wife and my family it’s all about catching up with each other and friends.

Take it easy, Santa. It's family time now.

Do you have any tips for coping with difficult family members at this festive time?

I often get asked what to do with difficult family members, and I don’t have a lot of great advice, because in my family, it’s me.

The problem is you’re asking for a cure but you’re talking to the disease!

Difficult family member? Shane points the finger at himself.

How do you best hide disappointment if you’ve received a less-than-desirable Christmas present?

Knowing you’ve been thought of at Christmas really is the gift.

However, if you’re a kid and you get a present that you’re not happy with, then you have to do what I used to do as a kid, which is you do what your parents tell you to do, which is just smile anyway. And you might get a chance to swap it with someone else later on.

Shane's big tip for kids receiving gifts: Smile no matter what.

How do you avoid being the bearer of less-than-desirable Christmas presents?

I think research is key in anything you do. Go broad!

What are your Christmas holiday traditions?

One of the small things that just means Christmas to me is having a leg of ham in the fridge over the Christmas period. You can get up and decide to have ham on toast and then you have a ham sandwich. And every afternoon if you want a snack, you just cut off a piece of ham.

My mum always had a leg of ham in the fridge for Christmas. We’d get a big one at the start of Christmas, which gave us fresh ham that went all the way through the break. I still do it – and I wrap it in a wet towel; that’s how you wrap it in the fridge. It’s how Mum did it.

Ham: A staple at Christmas for many people.

And there are lots of barbecues. Any friend who I have not really seen all year, we start to fill the dates right across Christmas and into early January. We catch up with friends and have barbecues to the point sometimes our kids say, “Are we having a barbecue again today?” and “Who is coming over today?”.

That’s the bit I love. The great thing about Christmas is a lot of businesses close down, so everyone’s schedules are a little bit freer once you get past the main day. It’s a great opportunity for everyone to ring up people and say, “I haven’t seen you for six months, let’s catch up”.

Catching up with family and – being a father of four kids – obviously being around the kids for Christmas is what we all look forward to.

Spending time with family and friends is an integral part of Shane's Christmas break, as it is for many of us. Credit: BIG4 Sandstone Point

What is your favourite Christmas memory?

The first time I got a bike – I don’t think you ever forget that. Although the truth was, we couldn’t afford a bike when I was a kid. I got to turn an old dragster into a homemade BMX with the extra bits I got for Christmas.

That will remain the best Christmas present I ever got because I went from dragster to a BMX!

Bikes: Putting smiles on kids' faces for countless Christmases.

Any closing thoughts on Christmas?

I challenge anyone on planet earth to look good in those ridiculous Christmas cracker paper hats. It’s Christmas, but for some reason you get a hat that’s shaped like a crown, which has completely no reference to Christmas.

That’s why our family insists on wearing them, because it’s just so ridiculous. So, I still get a kick out of the fact that everyone has just accepted ‘well we just put one of these on’, which we all do, for no particular reason.

Shane's challenge: For anyone to look good in one of these 'ridiculous Christmas cracker paper hats'. Credit: christmasstockimages.com

Do you have any Christmas traditions that you’d like to share? Please let us know in the comments section below.

From Shane and all the team at BIG4, we wish you a safe and enjoyable Christmas break. We hope to see you at a BIG4 park soon.

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