For some it might be The Nightmare Before Christmas but the resort remains popular, says Colin Burns, branch manager of Hays Travel in Washington, Tyne & Wear

Okay, some of you might shoot me down but I’m going to say it anyway: I have Yorkshire puddings on my Christmas dinner.

Now, I thought this was perfectly normal, but the reaction I got from our Annie in the shop was: “Urgh! That just makes it a Sunday dinner.”

“No it doesn’t,” I countered. “Well, at least not if Christmas Day is on a Wednesday. Get out of that one, Annie”.

I didn’t dare to tell her that I also like a Yorkshire pudding with jam or lemon curd for my afters.

This prompted a debate in the shop about the merits, or not, of having this northern delicacy as part of my festive menu, whether or not you should cross your sprouts ­before cooking (absolutely), ­whether veg should be soggy or crispy (definitely crispy) and to boil your roasties or not (boil every time).

“Our customers also have their traditions; some spend time at home with family, others want to get far away.”

Excess all areas

As it’s the time of year for party ­invites, people up and down the country are calling each other asking the same question: “What exactly does smart-casual mean?”

We all have traditions that make Christmas for us and our families. Eating and drinking to ­excess is a personal favourite of mine.

Our customers also have their traditions. Some spend time at home with family, others want to get far away. One customer the other day said he wanted “to get as far away as possible from the pigs in blankets, or as you might call them, relatives sleeping in the spare room!”.

“Many customers have been shocked to discover availability is limited and prices are much higher than they expected.”

We’ve had a lot of enquiries from customers wanting last-minute deals for travel over Christmas and the New Year. Many have been shocked to discover availability is limited and prices are much higher than they expected. “That’s just ­stupid,” they’ll say. “Who wants to go away for Christmas?” Erm…you.

One such customer, a lady in her late 50s and a regular of mine, was booking a break to ­Benidorm with her friend. “Ee, we’ll be in The ’Dorm for Christmas Day,” she said excitedly. “Aye, we can wear our Santa suits with the short skirts,” her friend replied. “We’ll send you a picture, shall we?”

After a short, stunned pause I said: “Yeah, that’ll be good. On Christmas Day I can look at the ­picture of your legs, then at my turkey drumsticks and have a game of spot the difference!” I got away without a black eye and the ‘ladies’ jet off this week.

Christmas customs

Another great Christmas tradition is the pantomime. Last Sunday, many Hays Travel staff were lucky enough to attend an exclusive performance of Snow White at The Customs House theatre in South Shields. Hays Travel sponsors the panto every year and this special showing is another event on the Hays social calendar. It’s a great opportunity for John and Irene [Hays] and hundreds of staff to take their children and grandchildren to a great afternoon’s entertainment.

“Last Sunday, many Hays Travel staff were lucky enough to attend an exclusive performance of Snow White in South Shields.”

Whatever you do this festive season, whether home or away, with a rowdy or relaxed family, and whatever you eat and drink, enjoy yourself in preparation for a stress-free turn-of-year peaks. And if you don’t normally have Yorkshire puddings on your Christmas dinner, try it…you won’t be disappointed.


SHUTTERSTOCK_Benidorm

Christmas in Benidorm

The world is a big place and there is loads of choice for where to spend Christmas. I like to stay at home with ­family, but here in the ­Washington branch of Hays Travel we have booked a pretty wide variety of destinations, ­including ­holidays in the UK, the ­Mediterranean and the Far East.

But, if it were a competition for the most popular destination, there would be one clear winner. For some it might be their idea of The Nightmare Before Christmas, but dozens of our lovely customers, many of whom are solo travellers, head for good old Benidorm. And why not? With ­everything from turkey to tapas and ­champagne to sangria, for them, It’s a Wonderful Life!

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