Each year, Ada Nicodemou hosts a friends Christmas bash – either during the week leading up to the big day, on Boxing Day or on the few last days ahead of the New Year.
And her Home and Away co-star Lynne McGranger already knows what she’ll be bringing along. “My Caesar salad,” she says with a throaty laugh. “That’s all I can make, I surround myself with people who can cook.”
“You don’t need to bring anything,” Ada demurs. “But you always want to so, okay, bring a salad.”
Having met on the Summer Bay set more than two decades ago, the duo quickly became firm friends, sharing a dressing room, a love of books and sense of fun. And several Home and Away Christmas traditions to boot.
“And we still don’t get sick of each other,” Ada says. “We see each other outside of work, we’ve gone on holidays together. We have lunch together, we go for walks together. Jimmy (Stewart, their co-star) is in the dressing room next door. And he’s like, ‘You two just don’t shut up, do you?’”
“I hope he can’t hear what we’re saying,” Lynne adds with mock horror.
Another pre-holiday highlight for the duo is the annual Home and Away Christmas party. Along with the rest of the tight-knit cast and crew, the pair chip in for catering; the lunch itself filled with rousing singalongs of their favourite Christmas songs and a few Santas in attendance.
Rather than giving each other presents, Lynne brings a box for people to pop in small gifts and necessities for children in need. “It’s a nice thing to do because we’re very blessed and spoilt,” she says of the Home and Away Christmas tradition. “You get to an age where you don’t need stuff.”
“Friendship and honesty is the gift we give,” adds Ada of what they’ll personally exchange come the holiday season.
As for Christmas Day itself? They’ll spend it with their individual families.
For Ada, this year it will be at her brother Costa’s house. While the siblings will supply a smorgasbord of seafood, their mother will buy three hams – one to eat on the day, one for Ada and another Costa. “I just love the bone,” she says, her eyes lighting up with anticipation. “The best part of the meat is there.”
“She’s part chihuahua,” Lynne chuckles, adding that her home will be the place her family gather this year. “What my family will do is I’ll get some meats in. Pete, my brother-in-law, and my sister always win stuff at their local club so they’ll bring in kilos of prawns. Everybody brings something. My son-in-law makes great pork belly and I’m there with the Caeser salad.”
Swimming in the pool will be high on the agenda for both women as will the wind down towards the evening with games. But while Lynne says hers are the more traditional boardgames, Ada says her family will always indulge in a rousing round of Dirty Santa – where you can steal the most coveted items depending on what number you draw in choosing presents.
“That’s the best part of the day for me,” she chuckles. “We’re all quite competitive in my family so we’re always trying to steal our presents back. I make sure I wrap mine in different paper so nobody knows who brought what. I love that game!”