Christmas, classic memories and a change of direction…

One of the many things I like about writing this blog is that it serves as a great reference for me as to where the year has gone.   Mind you, I had a little look back just the other day and realized that my Christmas tree always tends to look the same! Which isn’t that surprising I suppose, considering I always hang the same ornaments from it, and use the same tinsel and lights.  However there is a slight difference this year, as for the first time in a long time, one of my set of lights failed me (or so I thought!) so I had to use these bright cherry red lights instead.  Of course having spent an age threading them through the branches I went to move the broken set from the floor, and they lit up immediately!  They are now draped around the fireplace, so all is good.  It reminded me of Christmas 1967 when my dad bought a very decorative string of lights from a market in Kingston.  He and mum had just set up the tree and were listening to the radio when an announcement was made asking anyone who’d bought said lights, should take them back to the retailer as they were a potential fire hazard!   I distinctly remember the smell of hot plastic!  I realise my star is a tad lopsided on the top of the tree, but I’m happy to leave it that way.  Perfectly imperfect… bit like me 🙂

Another addition to the tree is the ornament Lucy bought me, as she has done for the last ten years or so, but I thought this one was particularly sweet – not that dissimilar in size to her Chihuahua, Bear!

It’s been a busy fortnight since I last wrote, and I’ve worked some far earlier shifts at QVC than I normally do.  I’m very much a night bird, as the cancer medication I take makes it hard for me to sleep, so I’m not all that bright first thing in the morning!  That said, I thoroughly enjoyed presenting The Morning Show with Claire Sutton and then being treated to a whole hour with Tova Borgnine, who looks gorgeous at any time of the day!  I’d been up early the day before too to film a short promotional video for the Diamonique show I present every Tuesday.  We had been set to record this earlier in the year, but my operation put a stop to do that and then of course poor mum became ill…  It was lucky that the team managed to find a fabulous location in West London, and we set up cameras and lighting etc, using a great many of the gorgeous rooms as backdrops to the video. It made a really nice change to be out of the studio, and I was spoilt rotten by Rachel Avent my make-up artist, who worked wonders on my somewhat tired face earlier in the day!   I know it’s currently in the editing process but the finished article should be on our screens at the beginning of next year.  Exciting!

Something else that has been particularly exciting for me was being asked to record the latest ‘Inside QVC’ podcast with Will Gowing!  Over the last three months or so, Will has been taking time out to talk to many of our special guests like Thea Green of Nails Inc, Nikki Gerwirtz who founded Lola Rose, the delightful Tova Borgnine, and our CEO Rob Muller.  Julia Roberts, Jackie Kabler and more recently Ali Young have all talked openly about their lives not just here at the Q but when they were younger, their childhood, their families and careers.  For someone like me who is inherently nosy, I’ve found these podcasts fascinating.  So many things I didn’t realise about my colleagues, although we are all agreed on many things about working at QVC!   This week it’s Simon Wilson of Butler and Wilson who is under the spotlight, but then my time with Will will be ready to download over Christmas which is lovely.  If you’d like to catch up on some of the previous interviews just use this link: https://blogs.qvcuk.com/category/podcasts and if you get the chance to listen to mine, I’d love to hear what you thought, because you’re in it!  The blog is a huge part of my 19 years here at QVC, and the support you have given to me through this medium is mighty.  Obviously Will and I talked about my diagnosis of breast cancer and how the lifeline you gave me through your comments and your kind words of encouragement saw me through the darkest days.  It’s because of you I wrote my book ‘A New Kind of Normal’, and the 80 five star reviews you’ve written have humbled me hugely…  But I think it’s the support we all give each other here that means the most, and I’m so glad that in spite of all the other ways we can keep in touch on social media, this still works for so many of us.

In fact from next January 2020, the blog will return to being far more personal – yes still a bit of gossip from the Q – but less about the business side of things. Of course I’ll still keep you up to date about all we have to offer, it’s just that I’ll also be doing it on a new Facebook page that’s been set up where you’ll find me under ‘Alison Keenan QVC’.   I hope you can follow me there too, and it’ll be easier to keep you in the loop with TSV’s and special offers as and when they happen.

So, here we are, with just a week to go before Christmas, and this year for me it will bring a mix of emotions.  I know from reading your comments on the previous blog, it will be the same for many of you too. We had a lovely Sunday lunch with my brother’s children Claire and James (here I am with them), but I missed my brother Peter…  I am lucky to have Colin, my children, and so many other members of the family though with whom I’ll share this time, but I realize for some of you Christmas can be a lonely and difficult time of the year.

I know also that for those of you who share the care of your children it may not be ‘your year’ to have them… I remember those times and they’re not easy either.  My feeling is that whenever we see those we love, we should make that time special.  And something else that has come through so clearly here on the blog is our shared belief that those we love are ALWAYS with us, because we keep them close through our memories and our words.  Hold onto that – I do.

Thank you for all my beautiful Christmas cards and good wishes.  I am hoping to send mine out to you later this week.  I will be with you on Tuesday with Diamonique, Radley handbags and something very special from Harry Slatkin, and then Percy and Reed at 11pm.  Actually we’ll be focusing on hair on Wednesday when the Babyliss Hair Curler is our TSV.  It’ll be interesting to see how they’ll style mine with it!  I’m with you again on the 23rd December and back on Boxing Day too, but keep in touch with me on Instagram, Twitter and of course my new Facebook page, and I’ll keep you up to speed.  All that remains for me to do is to wish you the happiest time this Christmas, and every good wish for the New Year.  May 2020 be your best year yet.

With my love, Ali xx

68 Responses

  1. Hello Alison, a very pretty tree, we have not put ours yet, in the next few days i expect. Your granddaughter is simply gorgeous, as is the photo of you in the Hobbs dress which i have by the way, bought at a good price. I have your book but have not got round to reading it yet, well done on the 80 5 *reviews, will leave one for you when i have read it. Can i ask is the pendant you designed still available, looked through and can’t find it. I’m sure it’s there somewhere though.
    My best wishes for Christmas to you and your family take care and yes the ones we love are always with you.
    Take Care
    Love Kathy. x

  2. Hello Ali, Super catch up, as always, & I loved the story of the melting lights! Honey obviously enjoyed her Nativity experience & nothing matches the magic of a child at Christmas.’Perfectly imperfect’ is a fantastic description & I like a star that doesn’t conform to the norm! We’ve got a very different tree this year, it’s a pre-lit one that’s tall, slim & doesn’t have any lower branches; the man at the garden centre back in September wasn’t too keen but we love it. For the past few years I’ve had a theme of decorations in crystal & gold, it’s now only crystal & we’ve got a gold tree in our room. For years I’ve told you how much I love this season, however, this year I’m going through the motions because our dear & exceptionally brave brother in law died on 1st December, five days after my sister brought him home. She’s broken & her situation has been made far worse by her daughter in law who has all the sensitivity of a breeze block. It’s definitely time for taking baby steps that allow her just to get through the day. Etty is a wonderful distraction, you asked her age, she’s 19 months, a bundle of love & says a new word every day. I too wish you the happiest Christmas with those you love & I look forward to your new style blog next year. Love from Jo x

  3. Hi I must apologise for my last blog writing Christmas instead of Christine in the last blog, think I am going mad. 😊
    I remember writing your block during the night when my husband and cancer, just hope you my husband stay clear of cancer.

    Like to wish you good health for years to come.
    Happy Christmas to you and your family. X X

  4. Hi Allison, thank you for your lovely blog. I always look forward to reading them. Your blogs are always so beautifully written. This one brought a few tears to my eyes. I will be one of those people that still miss my parents so much. I am 68 years old. Wishing you and your lovely family all the best for Christmas and the new year. God bless you. Antoinette

  5. Dearest Ali. Lovely blog as always.
    Oh my, Honey is SO like her beautiful mummy. She’s a little sweetheart. She’ll be so excited for Xmas, as are my 2 munchkins.
    We’re looking forward to Adams first Xmas with us. His little face when he came in and saw the tree all lit up in the corner, absolutely priceless. We decided we would do the big tree in the living room and they both have a little tree in their bedroom. They “decorated” their own trees and they look, emmmm, magical! Lol. Adam is doing so well. Every day he gets just a little bit more confident. He’s still very shy, and likes to stay in the background, but he takes everything in. Meli is amazing with him. I honestly believe he wouldn’t be able to cope so well if it wasn’t for her.
    I have other news regarding that little lady. In the last 6 weeks or so, she’s been walking in the house without her walker. Only very short distance at a time, but she’s doing it. Determined little monkey is actually doing it. I can’t believe how far she’s come.
    It’s going to be a tough few days for you Ali, but know that you are in our thoughts and sending you all the love. You have your lovely family around you and I’m sure Honey will be keeping everyone entertained.
    Much love.
    Una, Graeme, Meli and Adam xx

  6. I love reading your blogs and your tweets, you have a way of writing that makes everyone feel included, which is very special. I hope you have a lovely Christmas and that all of your family have a very happy and healthy 2020 xxx🙏✨

  7. Hi Ali,
    How beautiful your Christmas trees look. Christmas is a time indeed for reminiscing and thinking of those who are sadly no longer with us. But though it can be a sad time for so many we can also smile at our memories of bygone times. I had to smile when you said of the Christmas lights your father bought and how they were faulty. I remember one year when I was quite young, we had a real Christmas tree. My mother ( who was not always the most patient person) got so fed up of the needles dropping, threw the tree out of the window, smashing it in the process! It was just as well we lived in a bungalow at the time. My father was quite the inventor and used to make me such weird and wonderful toys . He made me a dolls push chair out of an old scooter. I though it was wonderful. Well nobody else had one like it. One year he came home with a holly tree. Don’t ask where he got it from! He decorated it with tinsel and lights. It was the most beautiful tree I’ve ever seen. Oh how I miss those times.

    I can’t believe it is Christmas next week. We always have a quiet time, just me and hubby as we were unable to have children. We are luckier than a lot of people who have no-one at all as it can be a very lonely time. We try to make the best of it but I am always glad when things get back to normal. Makes me sound like Victor Meldrew now.
    Well time has run away again. Although like yourself. I’m not a good sleeper and am in and out of bed half the night.
    Hope you have a lovely time with your family over Christmas and New Year.
    Love and best wishes from Tina S (S. Wales) xx

  8. Merry Christmas to you lovely Ali and your lovely family. Im sure you will have a lovely time, especially with adorable Honey. Your memories of your dear mum will be with you too. Happy 2020 to you. Keep up your lovely blogs – yours are always my favourite to read. Lots of love xx

  9. Alison I was one of the many people who read your book and left a five star review because it totally deserved it. You painted yourself as a very real woman, not a polished version who ‘appears’ in some ways to be different from the rest of us.

    Your book was raw, funny, and very heartwarming. It doesn’t surprise me that you have a large support network from the QVC family, you’re very accessible.
    Wishing you and Colin and everyone who is dear to you a wonderful Christmas and a fabulous 2020!

  10. Hi Alison hope you have a lovely Xmas with your family best wishes for 2020 to you all love the pictures of Honey I will try and send some pictures on Twitter of the girls waiting for a new tablet to come so using my old one and its temperamental . Anyway see you on the other side love Loraine xxxxxx

  11. Hi Ali just finished reading your blog. Your tree looks wonderful wish l had the room for such a big tree. You mention in your blog about people we love and miss over Christmas. It’s a very hard time for us because as you know we lost our lovely twin son Terry but it’s something we have to live with. We know he’s around us always and having his twin Des being the spit of one another it does help as well as sadden us. We always raise a glass to those who are not with us every year. I know they can hear us. The picture of Honey after her nativity is lovely she’s getting so big. Bet she’s a comfort to you. So much joy in the grand children you seem to enjoy them more because we have more time with them. Look forward to seeing you on the Q in the next couple of weeks. You always bring a smile to my face your always so jolly and funny. Have a lovely Christmas and wonderful New Year. Lots of love Viv 🎅🎅🎅

  12. Dear Ali
    I would like to thank you for your wonderful book i have mentioned to you before i have chronic long term health issues and im also a carer to my daughter and your book gave me so much strength and you inspired me.I have just read it again as ive had further health problems and will be undergoing immune therapy every month for life and I automatically turned to your book and now i feel strong and positive.You are a very lovely genuine lady you are one of those remarkable people who even through the TV screen brings so much warmth comfort and good humour.As someone who also has lost a parent thinking of you over this ‘first Christmas without your dear mum but she will be with you in your heart.Have a very merry Christmas and a Happy Healthy New year xx

  13. Hi Ali, here we are again, Christmas, but at least I have made it through another year. Just wanted to say that you are looking so good Ali and I am so pleased that you are looking healthy & well. It looks like you are going to have a lovely time this Christmas with all your family & friends around you, even though it seems to have crept up from nowhere! I must admit I am finding it a bit of a struggle as unfortunately I am back on chemo as a last resort. My oncologist has prepared me to expect months now rather than years. But, Christmas is my favourite time of year so I intend enjoying every single second as best I can. So , Merry Christmas to you Ali and everyone on here, hope you make as many happy memories as possible that will last you a lifetime, enjoy! Sending you love & very best wishes Karen . Xx

  14. A very happy Christmas to you and your family Ali. It will be mixed emotions for you I’m sure. At least Honey will keep you all cheery. Christmas is a hard time of year. Not possible to be with my family as, for once, they will be together in England but just too difficult and costly to join them. Still, I have my dogs. I hope Santa is good to you. Kxx

  15. Hi Alison, loved Honey’s video bless her describing her “antlers”. Christmas is a special time especially at her age, it’s what It’s all about. We decided to buy another artificial tree by which we do not have to fix all the branches on! I think John was quite relieved that he didn’t have to drag them all out of the loft. We are spending Christmas Day with our daughter and her family and Boxing Day afternoon we are going to our son Gerry’s for tea.
    Have a lovely time Ali with your family and I wish you all a happy and healthy 2020! Merchexx

  16. Hi, Ali, I just want to wish you and your family a very happy Christmas and new year 2020. I hope you all keep well and avoid this nasty flu which has seen me bed bound over the past 14 days.I believe my fellow Yorkshire fellow Glen has gone down with it.My GP ordered diorolyte sachets to combat dehydration which I highly recommend to anyone not able to eat or drink..Had to resort to antibiotics for my secondary chest infection.
    Luckily I ordered my Xmas gifts early, bare essentials tsv last month for both my daughters .Plus bought other gifts early.
    I must be feeling improved tonight as I have just managed to buy a pair of on sale velvet trousers using sale 15 code extra discount to wear Xmas day.
    Happy Xmas to one and all, Tricia .

  17. Hi Alison I enjoyed reading your blog as usual. I just wanted to say I lost my mother last year and I know how sad the loss is especially at Christmas. I was told “A Mothers love can never be broken” and I believe this is true. I hope this gives you some comfort too. Have a lovely Christmas. Take care Shelly xx

  18. Dear Alison, I am writing this, unusually for me, at 12.30pm in the room if mums new palace of a nursing home listening to her snoring in true contentment
    ..finally got mum moved yesterday despite her now having CDif and MRSA but the nursing home agreed to take her because she’s getting more I’ll in hospital..a relief to us all that she is now getting amazing care and a few tears were sged yesterday . My sister and I decorated a xmas tree for her room and all her homely bits were in place ready.
    I still have no voice, work 10 now and still waiting for the microscope probe to see what’s gone wrong..but I am feeling better.
    Your blog highlighted how precious life is, we’ve been told mum doesn’t have a long life ahead, but we knew that and treasure her ever day.
    Your tree looks amazing..mine looks the same as the last 2 years as when I decorated the lounge I bought new baubles to match…so getting my monies worth!!
    Mums awake so I’ll finish now. But sending you and your wonderful family much love, peace and happiness for Christmas and 2020. Mary xxxxx

  19. Dear Ali, what a lovely blog. The Christmas tree looks lovely. Honey did make me laugh. She is gorgeous. I hope you enjoy Christmas despite it being very different for you this year. Love Elaine x

  20. Alison I was one of the many people who read your book and left a five star review because it totally deserved it.  You painted yourself as a very real woman, not a polished version who ‘appears’ in some ways to be different from the rest of us.
    Your book was raw, funny, and very heartwarming.  It doesn’t surprise me that you have a large support network from the QVC family, you’re very accessible. Wishing you and Colin and everyone who is dear to you a wonderful Christmas and a fabulous 2020!

  21. Hello Ali
    I’ve just been reading your blog and looking at your lovely photos. I always love putting my tree up and reminiscing over past years and where some of my ornaments came from. My favourites are two cross stitched ornaments my children now 43 and 46 made me and although falling to bits are my pride and joy! I also have a Santa which was my mums and she died 44 years ago! Holly is certainly growing up fast. She is the image of Lucy and you – lucky little girl. It has been so cold here with freezing fog and frost. Today is a little brighter. I’ve barely been out for the last three weeks having been poorly with a bad reaction to a pneumonia jab! My arm swelled considerably and got infected which needed antibiotics from GP. Never known anything “floor” me for so long. I never moved from my bed for 4 days which is unheard of for me. Now she is treating me for a UTI so I am feeling well and truly sorry for myself. Today is my birthday and I feel so blessed to have been thought of by my family and friends. No night out for me this year but family are calling this evening which is lovely. I hope you and your family have a lovely Christmas although it will be difficult for you. Your mum will be shining down on you I’m sure. All that is left to say is Happy Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year. Take care as always and sending love and hugs. Judith xx

  22. Hi Alison …. it was by chance that I cane across your writes on twitter which lead me to your blog page on qvc …… I am a avid fan of qvc and spend way too much money as I’m sure we all do this time of the year
    You sound as if you have a beautiful family which are so important this time of the year as many don’t have what we are blessed with
    I was amazed to read that you have breast cancer I myself are just going through the same think trying to be positive at all time but as you look amazing I didn’t know what you as many others are going through with this horrible thing ……where would we be without family support
    I would just like to say have a lovely Xmas and best wishes for the new year

  23. Message to Karen Jenkins 📣 I often think about you & so it was lovely to read your post. Enjoy your Christmas, whether merry or peaceful, & carry on confounding the medics!

  24. Hi Ali, lovely blog as usual. Love your tree, it must hold many happy memories for you.
    I know this is your first Christmas without your mum and that is always the hardest, but I, like you believe that those we have loved and lost are always with us in our memories. I always like to remember the really happy times spent with my mum, dad and brother and whether they bring a tear or a smile they are all valuable memories.
    How cute is your little Honey? She is so gorgeous! I’m sure she makes you smile every day.
    We don’t see our little Charlie as much since he started full time school but we hope to see him between Christmas and New Year. He was a shepherd in the school nativity. Would have liked to see him but like most schools tickets were limited to parents only.
    His mum was telling me about his new game where he is Father Christmas. He makes them pretend to be asleep, no peeking or you won’t get any presents, then he places presents under the tree. When it’s morning and they can wake up he shouts cock-a-doodle-doo! They are so funny aren’t they?
    I intend to spend part of the holiday supporting my friend who lost her husband to cancer earlier this week. Death is no respecter of Christmas is it?
    Anyway Ali I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas and wish you all the best for 2020. Love Sue xx

    1. Dear Sue, happy New Year to you, and thank you for your lovely comment here on the blog. It was hard without mum this year, but we saw as many as a family as possible and enjoyed our time together. I’m sorry that you don’t see as much of Charlie anymore. It’s the same story with honey who started full-time school last September. I was only able to go to her nativity play because Lucy had to work, and the other ticket was for her dad. Loving Charlies game where he was Father Christmas – I hope you all enjoyed your time together over the holiday. I am very sorry to know about your friend who lost her husband so close to Christmas. Any time is devastating but it’s just the anniversary that makes it harder. I wish you every happiness in 2020, I look forward to hearing from you again here on the blog. Thank you for your support over this last year, love Ali xx

  25. Hi Ali, popped by to wish you and your lovely family family a wonderful Christmas. Honey is absolutely adorable, I’m very jealous. I love your Chihuahua as I am a big fan of the breed, having had three of them myself. I now have only one and a Pomeranian, my spoilt babies.

    You probably won’t remember, but a few blogs back I asked about Karen Jenkins. Oh dear, Karen, if you read this I am so, so sorry to hear your news and can only send you a big, warm hug straight from the heart xxxx.

    Thank you Ali for the link to the podcasts, I’m going to enjoy listening to them.

    Enjoy your Christmas Ali and I wish you continued good health in 2020.

    I hope you manage to have a lovely Christmas Karen too, I will definitely raise my glass to you on Christmas Day.

    Merry Christmas everyone xxx

    1. Dear Gail, thank you for your lovely comment and I hope that you and your family enjoyed your Christmas together. I love the sound of your little dogs – they all become part of the family to don’t they! We had Bear Bear, Mitten and Diesel here together at one point which was a bit of a menagerie! I do remember you asking about Karen, and I made a comment at the bottom of the blog that week. It is heartbreaking to hear her news, but wonderful to hear her so positive. Thank you for adding your message to ours. Here’s hoping that 2020 will be a good year for you, and one where you will be able to keep in touch with me here on the blog. With love, Ali XX

  26. Hi Ali,

    I know this Christmas will be a difficult one for you Ali, but I really hope you will manage to enjoy the Christmas festivities with the rest of your lovely family.

    My best wishes to everyone in Ali’s Army. Extra special wishes to those who are facing difficult and challenging times ahead.

    Love Sue Radford x

    1. Dear Sue, happy New Year to you and thank you for your sweet message. I hope you enjoyed Christmas – we did and spent it with his many family members as possible. It was different without mum, and sad at times, but we made the best of it. Thank you for all your support this last year and here’s hoping 2020 will be a good one for you, love Ali xx

  27. thanks for my xmas card alison arrived on friday 20th december hope you got mine merry xmas and happy new year to your family when it comes.

    1. Hi Martin, I’m glad that your card arrived, and yes I did receive yours too. I hope that you had some time off over Christmas and I wish you and your family a Very Happy New Year. Love Ali xx

  28. Hello Ali
    Hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy Healthy New Year
    You look stunning as always
    Your granddaughter is so adorable and funny
    They keep you smiling don’t they
    I know my grandson does
    Lots of love Rose XX 👍🎅🎄

    1. Happy New Year Rose! Thank you for your lovely comments and I’m delighted to know that you also have a grandchild who keeps you smiling and feeling young! Honey is an absolute sweetheart and I love being a part of her life. I look forward to hearing more from you this year, and I hope 2020 will be a good one for you. Love Ali XX

  29. Hi Ali ,hope you’ve had a lovely Christmas and are looking forward to New year, we spent Christmas day with Simon and family, a very long but happy day, everyone including Charlie the labbie ate and drank from morning till late night, I sure think we need to do some serious cutting down now ,we don’t do anything for new year that’s a quite time for us, then it will be time for decorations to be packed away for another year and look forward to planning holidays, see you soon on a xx lots of love linda f x

    1. Dear Linda, lovely to hear that you had a good Christmas, and I hope you are able to rest and recharge over New Year! I’m loath to take my Christmas tree down it’s been so pretty this year, but I will have to do it either tonight or tomorrow morning. Thank you for your kind wishes and I hope 2020 will be a happy and healthy year for you. Thank you for your support here on the blog, love Ali xx

  30. I’ve just been diagnosed with breast cancer, I am having my op this Friday so feeling a little overwhelmed . I must purchase your book, “A new kind of Normal”. My mum passed in Sept this year so Christmas was difficult.

    Here’s hoping 2020 will be kind to everyone who are going thro challenging times.

    1. My dear Tricia, I am so sorry to hear your news, and understand completely how overwhelmed you must be feeling, especially having lost your mum so recently too. I’m sure Christmas was difficult too… I pray you had family and friends to support you. I wish the same for you now, and I do hope you will find comfort in reading the book. At least they know what it is, and you are being treated so you are on your way to recovery. Stay strong, and please do keep in touch with me here, Love Ali xx

  31. Hi Ali, just want to say that I do indeed remember you leaving a comment at the end of your blog re Karen, and it was rude of me not to thank you at the time.

    😘 to you and
    😘 to Karen

    xxx

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