Eamonn Holmes reveals Ruth Langsford gave him '42 presents on their first Christmas together'

Ruth Langsford and Eamonn Holmes talk exclusively to woman&home about Christmas apart, gift-wrapping Maltesers and a tinsel-covered crutch!

Ruth Langsford and Eamonn Holmes Christmas
(Image credit: woman&home/Nicky Johnston)

The champagne has been popped, the log fire is burning and the halls are well and truly decked. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at woman&home and Ruth and Eamonn are in great spirits for our festive photoshoot. 

Eamonn has been battling chronic back pain for most of the year, as he walks over aided by his crutch Ruth quips, "Can we wrap some tinsel around it?" 

This festive cheer is much-needed after last year. Ruth and Eamonn spent the day just the two of them with their 19-year-old son Jack—and for Ruth, having her mum Joan with them this year is something she’s particularly looking forward to. 

Meanwhile, the couple, both 61, are more than ready to make up for 2020’s low-key festivities this year. "I think we should have some drinks parties," Eamonn says, with Ruth adding, "It would be nice to do more because we couldn’t do it last year." 

So let’s hear how the magic happens in the Langsford-Holmes household.


Ruth and Eamonn on Christmas decorations

Ruth adores Christmas, just like her dad did, "he would always get the tree, he always did the Christmas cards, he bought and wrapped his own presents for my mum. That's one thing I miss every Christmas, he and I would always go shopping."

She explains, "I start Christmas early. I’m that person that when someone says, ‘Have you seen? It's ridiculous, such-and-such supermarket has already got their Christmas things in and it's only July,’ I go, ‘Oh have they? Which branch?’ "

"Christmas starts in January for Ruth!" adds Eamonn.

Ruth favors the more traditional decorations. "I like the whole red, gold, and green theme," she says. "And I have favorite decorations, things that we've had for years that you get out every year and it just says Christmas."

Ruth Langsford and Eamonn Holmes Christmas.

(Image credit: woman&home/Nicky Johnston)

Ruth and Eamonn on family Christmas traditions

Eamonn adds his own stamp on the festivities too. "Ruth has now granted me, in my own home, a room that I can decorate," he says. "Last year I bought these lights that you program from your phone and you can have them strobing, flashing, whatever color you want, whatever sequence you want."

Ruth adds, "Meanwhile, I'm prepping the turkey and veg and every time I walk past the sitting room the lights are a different color. Eamonn has regressed into childhood, the older he gets the more he goes back into his childhood at Christmas."

"It's about family for me."

Ruth Langsford

For Eamonn's family, the whole religious ceremony had a lot to do with what Christmas was all about. "Each chapel would have a manger and you would go and visit those in the run up to Christmas," he says. "You would light a candle and make a donation."

However, it wasn't all about the religious side of things. "There was a row every year on Christmas day when I was growing up," reveals Eamonn, "and it was always over the same thing—Top of the Pops. We'd be sitting down to Christmas lunch and then one of my four brothers or I would turn on the TV. My dad would say, ‘Can you not for one day in the year go without that cursed TV?’"

During their first Christmas together, Ruth surprised Eamonn with her Christmas obsession. "When we first met, I totally underestimated Ruth’s affinity with Christmas," he says. "Our first Christmas together, Ruth said, ‘let’s swap presents.’ I'd given her five or six presents and I was done, but she kept going—42 presents she got me—that's how much she loved me!"

For Christmas-mad Ruth, endless gift-giving is a family tradition. "We wrap stupid little things like a packet of Maltesers," she explains, adding that Eamonn is a very good, thoughtful present giver.

"He’s surprised me with things over the years that I’d never have thought to buy myself. It’s quality over quantity sometimes," she wagers. "Whereas I give out the quality presents and then give silly things, like a mug. Eamonn is a bit like, ‘why did you bother wrapping all this up?’ But to me, that’s all part of the fun," Ruth admits.

Ruth explains one of the accidental traditions their family has. "Something always gets left in the oven and forgotten about, then found two days later! My mum, sister and I always had a running joke," she says, "that when we looked at the family albums, we could always tell who was hosting Christmas that year because they’d have the sweatiest, reddest face and flat hair."

Ruth Langsdford and Eamonn Holmes Christmas.

(Image credit: woman&home/Nicky Johnston)

Ruth and Eamonn on Christmas morning

"Christmas morning Ruth is like a bunny, quivering and bouncing around," says Eamonn. "She loves preparing. Christmas day is her day, she’s got it mapped out."

"We open stocking presents in bed with tea, then we save some presents for after lunch," says Ruth. 

The mum-of-one can't help but reminisce about Christmas mornings when their son Jack was younger. "I loved when Jack was young and it was like, ‘Has Santa been? Are there snowy footprints down the chimney?’"

"We once found Rudolph’s collar," she adds. "There was a note from Santa that said, ‘Dear Jack, Rudolph appears to have lost his collar and I wondered if you could have a look and see if it's in your garden?’ And lo and behold, we went out at four o'clock in the morning with a torch, and it was hanging on a tree."

"I miss that," Ruth admits. "But hopefully with grandchildren around, we'll be able to do those things again."

Ruth and Eamonn on this year's plans

Eamonn reveals, "We have this issue now in that we’ve got a sea dividing us. We often have a dilemma of whether I go to Belfast, whether Ruth comes with me. But Ruth wants to be with her mum, my mother is 93 this year. You can't just flip a coin and say who we're going to spend it with. It's easier for us often to be apart."

Despite being in different places, Ruth explains, "Being apart for Christmas has never been a problem for us. I definitely wouldn’t be going to Belfast this year because I need to be with my mum. It's about family for me."

“I prefer to give at this stage of my life”

Eamonn Holmes

Eamonn adds that unlike Christmases in the past, he no longer expects presents. "I’m uncomfortable with receiving gifts now because truthfully, I've got everything that I want," he says. 

Explaining his reasoning further, he adds, "Recently, I've done a lot of work for food banks and drop-in centers in Belfast. I’ve developed a very big conscience for homelessness and I think at Christmas time, you should think about others. I prefer to give at this stage of my life."

Ruth echoes his sentiment, adding, "Also, when your own children start to have children, you can just watch them doing everything we did. It’s their turn, we don't need gifts, it’s about watching your own family grow and traditions merging together. Eamonn’s got a granddaughter now and this will be her first Christmas, it’s so exciting."

Ruth Langsford and Eamonn Holmes Christmas.

(Image credit: woman&home/Nicky Johnston)

The full interview with Ruth and Eamonn is featured in the December issue of woman&home, on sale October 28, 2021