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Tesco enlists experts to help Brits make Christmas

* John Whaite, Linda Barker, Arona Khan and Laura Jewell to offer insider Christmas tips at live demonstrations in London, which will be live streamed to YouTube
* The experts will respond with helpful advice to the nation’s questions live on Twitter #MakeChristmas


Nearly half of the nation feels under pressure during the festive period, with the majority of us spending just under six (5.89) weeks getting ready for Christmas, according to a new survey by Tesco.

Preparing the all-important Christmas meal is the festive activity Brits most need help with (72%), followed by sourcing and decorating the tree (33%) and wrapping presents (29%). When it comes to seeking advice, Mum’s the word, with over a quarter of Brits (26%) turning to their Mother in a time of need, followed by the internet (14%).
The survey also found that:

  • Household budgets are a concern for nearly a quarter of Brits at Christmas time (22%)
  • Others admit to succumbing to Competitive Christmas Syndrome, with 14% feeling pressure to create the ‘perfect Christmas’ and 17% worrying about impressing friends and family.
  • 25 – 35 year olds feel under more pressure during the Christmas period than any other age group, with 63% feeling the strain compared to just 30% of over 55s.
  • Nearly half of Brits (45%) confess they’ve had at least one festive flop in their lifetime, with a fifth of the nation admitting a Christmas tree mishap and 17% misjudging turkey cooking times and spoiling Christmas dinner.

The research comes as Tesco announces a helping hand for Brits up and down the country, with a festive live London event streamed on YouTube. The event kicks off at St. Pancras station on Tuesday 25th November, where renowned experts John Whaite, Linda Barker, Arona Khan and Laura Jewell will host live demonstrations to the public, offering quick and easy tips to help people have an amazing Christmas.
To help customers with their preparations, Great British Bake Off winner John Whaite will be cooking up a storm, revealing delicious recipes to surprise even the pickiest of guests. Interior designer Linda Barker will show how to make your Christmas decorations stand out, while international gift wrapping specialist, Arona Khan will be on hand to show customers how to wrap even the most awkward of gifts. Tesco’s Laura Jewell, one of just 319 Masters of Wine in the world, will give insider tips on how to choose wines that won’t break the bank over the festive period.
Workshops will be live streamed to YouTube, to make sure customers up and down the country benefit from the experts’ hints and tips. Brits will also have the chance to ask the experts for advice on Twitter throughout the day, or tweet in their own useful tips via the hashtag #MakeChristmas. Tweets will appear on a giant screen at the event and at busy train stations in Manchester and Glasgow.
Sharry Cramond, Proposition and Brand Director at Tesco comments “Christmas is a wonderful time of year, but we all know that it comes with some challenges. Our research shows that customers want a helping hand, whether that’s wrapping gifts or finding a delicious wine for Christmas day. Our experts at this week’s live event will be sharing fantastic insider tips on how to have a really amazing Christmas, with less of the stress. We’re with our customers every step of the way this Christmas!”  
The event is part of Tesco’s Every Little Helps Make Christmas campaign which aims to respond to the nation’s needs in the run up to Christmas, with fun and helpful initiatives. Tesco estimates the tips will reach over a quarter of a million people first-hand on the day, in addition to the online community watching the live stream on YouTube.
Tesco’s Every Little Helps Make Christmas Event takes place from 10am – 5pm on Tuesday 25th November at St. Pancras station concourse (by the Eurostar entrance). Sampling events will also be taking place on the 25th November at Glasgow Central and Manchester Piccadilly, where the public will have the chance to relax and enjoy delicious samples of Tesco Christmas food and drink.

Top tips

Customers can expect to receive top tips from the experts including:

Advice on gift presentation from wrapping expert, Arona Khan,
“If you’re looking for an original way to spruce up your gift, how about recycling offcuts of gift wrap to create the perfect finishing touch?  Take a triangle of paper and pleat.  Repeat if necessary with a second offcut of paper and secure in place using double sided tape. This flat decoration is ideal for presents that have to be posted or packed.”

How to dress up your door, from interiors expert, Linda Barker,
“Decorating for Christmas shouldn’t just be about the inside of your house – make sure you set the scene before guests even ring the doorbell. Hang a bunch of mistletoe or holly from the doorknocker, tie with a big gold ribbon and twist a few battery operated lights into it for an added festive feel. It’s a quick way to get your guests in the Christmas spirit from the start!”

Ways to create canapés without the fuss GBBO champion, John Whaite,
“Christmas is a time for togetherness, so don’t spend hours in the kitchen cooking from scratch, I’m a big advocate of shop bought shortcuts. Pick up some ready-made pastries shells, fill with a quiche filling, and bake for quick and delicious canapés.”

Nifty time-saving tips from Tesco’s wine expert Laura Jewell,
“Forgotten to chill the wine? Don’t panic. Half fill your sink with cold water and top up with ice – this is the fastest way to chill wine and works much quicker than putting it in the freezer, as many people presume.”

Join the conversation at #MakeChristmas.

Live streaming on will start from 10am
Visit for further information.


Notes to editors

About Linda Barker
Interior designer Linda Barker was instrumental in awakening the public’s interest in home design, launching her television career in 1994 and becoming one of the best known designers in the UK.
She continues to work as a designer in the private and corporate sectors alongside her work in TV and has a successful online business retailing interior design accessories: Really Linda Barker.
Linda has worked with a number of high profile brands and has designed and developed an extensive range of products including wallpaper, rugs, lighting, kitchen storage, scented candles, china, curtain accessories, textiles and gift wrap.
As the author of more than 15 books on interior design and home crafts, her global book sales exceed two million. Linda has also written for magazines including Your Home, House Beautiful, Saturday Telegraph magazine, and the Daily Express Sunday magazine, and Period Ideas magazine.
Among her many awards are ‘Designer of the Year’- House Beautiful magazine, ‘TV Personality of the Year’- Your Home magazine, ‘Yorkshire Woman of the Year’. Linda regularly performs live craft and home decorating demonstrations, appearing at the Ideal Home Show, RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, The Scottish Home Show, and more.

About John Whaite
John Whaite is a British baker, cook, chocolatier He gained a diploma in patisserie from the revered Le Cordon Bleu School of Culinary Arts, and has published two cookbooks: John Whaite Bakes and John Whaite Bakes At Home. He is resident chef on ITV’s breakfast show, Lorraine.

Food has always been John’s passion. He grew up on a dairy farm where he learned about British produce and the importance of supporting local food producers and artisan crafters. His parents also owned a fish and chip shop, where John started his first job - as potato peeler - at just 10. Even earlier than that, he was always keen to make ’a living’ from food, selling bags of pick and mix to his peers at school - without the teachers knowing, of course.

Gaining a first class degree in Law from the University of Manchester after declining a place to study at Oxford University, John decided to hang up the gown and don the apron, a decision spurred on after he won the third series of the BBC’s The Great British Bake Off.

About Arona Khan
Harpers & Queen called her the world’s first gift wrapping consultant while in Japan she has been described as the world’s foremost gift wrapping expert.   Presenter of three DVDs and the author of Wrap it Up (out of print), Arona Khan has spent many years developing her expertise and techniques around the United Kingdom, across the United States, in Europe and Japan.

Arona is the presenter of three training DVDs; Increased Sales All Wrapped Up for retailers, Arona Khan’s Quick and Easy Guide to GREAT GIFT WRAPPING which is popular with consumers and retailers as is Arona suggests: Make hampers & gift baskets work for you!

Retailers and private clients travel to the UK from countries including Cyprus, Hong Kong, South Africa, India, Pakistan, Ireland, Nigeria and Sweden to attend Arona’s training courses while her seminars and demonstrations regularly attract large crowds at trade and consumer shows, in-house events and conferences.

Arona has made many appearances on television and radio. Her work has been featured in numerous national and trade newspapers and magazines in the UK, Europe, North America and Japan.

About Laura Jewell
Laura is just one of 319 Master of Wines in the world, she joined Tesco in September 2010 to head up the wine product development team. With her team, Laura is responsible for the development of the entire Tesco wine range which consists of 1,400 wines.

In 2014 Tesco was awarded Supermarket of the Year for the first time in the 10 year history of the Decanter World Wine Awards Retail Awards. As well as this the IWSC awarded Tesco Retailer of the Year and IWC awarded the Tesco Finest range the Own Label Range of the Year at its annual awards ceremony.

At the 2014 International Wine Challenge, Tesco was awarded Direct Merchant of the Year and Own Label Range of the Year.


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