Lottie Ryan still laughs at memory of her dad’s Christmas tree frustrations

Lottie Ryan on Christmas family traditions with her dad Gerry and the new Italian rituals

Lottie Ryan at the launch of The North Portal in aid of the Jack and Jill Foundation

Amy Donohoe

Lottie Ryan has opened up about her family Christmas traditions, including how she used to laugh at her dad – the late TV and radio presenter Gerry Ryan – getting frustrated over unknotting the lights.

“I come from a home where Christmas was huge. The build-up was almost as important as the day itself,” the RTÉ and podcast host said.

“It was a time for both immediate and extended family to come together for a dinner, present swapping, cousins to see each other, we used to have Christmas jumper parties.

“I have the most wonderful memories from my childhood, you can’t put a price on them, you’ll have them forever. The traditions my parents gave me, I want to pass as many traditions as I can onto my child.

“I’ve two favourite Christmas memories. One was putting up the Christmas tree, it was a big deal.

"My dad would get so frustrated trying to undo all the knots of the lights, and inevitably, it turned into a family fight.

“As an adult now, I look back on it and it makes me laugh. When I talk about it with my siblings, they always laugh because it was just so ridiculous and funny.

“Every year we’d sit at the top of the stairs in my family home, waiting for one of my parents to go down to check if Santa had come.

Lottie Ryan with husband Fabio Aprile and their son Wolf

“The anticipation, I can still remember the feeling in my belly, waiting. We’d all be screaming ‘Did he come? Did he come?’ Then we’d knock each other over to get down the stairs.

“I used to spend Christmas Day just in my family home. Now I’ve to divide my time between my home, my mother’s home, and Fabio’s family home.

“It’s a new tradition in the sense that I want Wolf to see the Italian side of Christmas as well,” she added.

Lottie was doing some celebrating of her own this week after Spotify Wrapped released their 2023 results, with Lottie topping the charts with both her podcasts, ‘Jen and Lottie do…Parenting’ and the official ‘Dancing with the Stars’ podcast with Lyra and Brian Dowling.

“I was a little bit emotional; it’s been a long journey for myself and Jen [Zamparelli]. We’ve put a lot of energy into it, when you see the work pay off and that it means so much to other people,” Lottie said.

“It’s something close to my heart and Jen’s, we’ve put so much of ourselves, it’s a real labour of love. It’s hugely rewarding.

“We’ve even had people reaching out to us that aren’t mams but have mates who are.

"They’re listening for the craic, but it also gives them an insight of the lives of their friends with kids, it makes them understand them a bit more.

“It’s not just the parents, the idea was that your relationship with so many people changes when you have kids, like your mates, your partner, it’s to give everyone an insight as to what’s going on with a little bit of humour.

“We don’t kill each other, we’re a very good balance. I think we read each other very well. It’s great to have somebody like that in your everyday life, especially when things are getting overwhelming.

“It’s great to have somebody that looks out for you, somebody over your shoulder telling you to look after yourself or they’re just there to make you laugh.

“I know it’s really cheesy, but we actually really do love working together,” Lottie added.

Jennifer Zamparelli and Lottie Ryan on their podcast, Jen & Lottie Do Parenting

The RTÉ star was reflecting on her favourite Christmas memories, old and new, as she helped launch a new way for Santa to visit this Christmas.

Along with Glenveagh, Lottie is supporting the Jack and Jill Children’s Foundation Home for Christmas Appeal with The North Portal, a digital portal children can activate for Santa as not all homes have chimneys.

“I love the idea of The North Portal. Every time it’s activated by parents, there’s a charity donation to Jack and Jill, and the kids get their digital certificate. It’s a nice way for my family to start a new tradition,” she said.

“There are many different scenarios where you might not have a chimney. Personally, I live in an apartment.

“This is something myself and my husband have asked each other, how will we answer that question when our son asks us because we don’t have a chimney.

“This is a way to unlock and spread the magic of Christmas while supporting an amazing charity, the Jack and Jill foundation.”

For each portal activation, a donation of €1 is made by Glenveagh to Jack and Jill, with the aim of raising up to €50,000.

Once The North Portal is activated, children will receive a certificate from Santa promising a visit on Christmas Eve and a definite spot on the Nice List.

The donations will contribute towards funding up to 55,000 hours of in-home nursing care for families across Ireland.

To activate the North Portal and get your very own certificate from Santa, visit here.

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