Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas is back

Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas (Channel 4, 8pm)

As a nation, we seem to love watching people make things.

How else can we explain the popularity of such shows as The Great British Bake Off, Sewing Bee, Pottery Throw Down, Handmade: Britain’s Best Woodworker, All That Glitters: Britain’s Next Jewellery Star, Portrait Artist of the Year, MasterChef and all the many other similar competitions out there? You might even suggest that The Repair Shop, thanks to its make do and mend attitude, continues the theme.

Another to add to the list is Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas. It has been known to feature contests, but it has a less stressful, cosier feel to it, and pops up annually to get viewers in the mood for the festive season. It started out as an offshoot of Kirstie Allsopp’s 2009 series Handmade Home, in which she (with help from various experts) decorated her then new Devon house with craft items she made herself.

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In the years since her first dabble into the world of the handmade, crafts have really risen in popularity, with thousands across the country taking up knitting, crochet, sewing, baking, woodwork and more. During lockdown, their appeal grew even more, as the public searched for ways in which to spend their time that didn’t involve leaving the house – thanks to numerous online tutorials, they were able to pick up new skills in no time.

But for Kirstie, crafting isn’t just for pandemics, it’s for life.

“I think it’s always interested me, but I never thought I was capable of doing it,” she says of the crafting world.

“So I would buy it. I’d see something that was made with love and care, and I would purchase it. I never really thought I was capable of that.

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“I was a very early advocate of the immaculate Christmas, making a big effort with that kind of stuff. But it was a surprising discovery for me that I was capable of making things myself.”

However, she does admit defeat in some areas, but thinks that a fear of failure shouldn’t put people off trying new things.

“The ones that I can’t get good at involve knitting, crocheting, cross-stitching – I just can’t feel my way towards them,” she admits. “But a lot of the crafts are made much, much more difficult on the show by the time aspect, and by having the cameras there.

“There are times when you see me throwing a wobbly, but the truth is, I’m throwing a wobbly at the process of being filmed while under this kind of pressure. That is what gets to you – because you are doing this flower arrangement, for example, and someone will say ‘Kirstie, can you talk about what you’re feeling now?’”

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Hopefully she’ll be keeping her cool during this programme, in which she confronts her fear of making pastry while creating a choux-inspired wreath. Other masterclasses to look out for include Christmas crackers made from pasta (hopefully they can be eaten afterwards), a boozy hot chocolate and turning odd socks into fun festive friends.

Kirstie AllsoppKirstie Allsopp
Kirstie Allsopp
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