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The endurance cyclist on speed-wrapping, a festive case of chickenpox and a very special Christmas jumper


What epitomises Christmas in London for you?

The lights โ€“ I love it when the streets are lit up with Christmas lights and displays.


Whatโ€™s your earliest Christmas memory?

Itโ€™s not my earliest, but the most distinct memory from my childhood was the year I had chickenpox. I was covered head-to-toe in them while we visited my grandparents. I was miserable and turned into a proper Scrooge, hating every moment of it. So, to try and get me back into the festive spirit, my grandfather snuck outside on Christmas Eve to ring bells outside my window and stomp around. I was completely convinced that reindeer had just landed, restoring my belief in Santa and Christmas.


What smells and tastes do you associate with the festive period?

Orange and cloves. We used to make orange and clove ornaments as kids.


Do you prefer Christmas pudding, Christmas cake or a chocolate yule log?

Mince pies!


Whatโ€™s on your Christmas list to give and receive from The Royal Exchange?

I travel a lot with work and have recently been eyeing up the Mont Blanc trolley suitcase. A trip to Fortnum & Mason is also on my to-do list. The chocolates and teas always make great stocking stuffers for family back home in Canada.


Whatโ€™s your Christmas gift-wrapping style?

Simpleโ€ฆ and usually done in a rush the night before!


Do you have any special, unique or unconventional Christmas traditions?

On Christmas Eve my family all get a new pair of pyjamas and a tree ornament.


Do you have a Christmas jumper?

Yes โ€“ my grandma made it for me years ago. Itโ€™s a white hand-knit wool jumper with a Christmas tree that really lights up.


Whatโ€™s your favourite Christmas film?

Home Alone.


Do you have a favourite Christmas song?

No one song, but I always put A Charlie Brown Christmas by American jazz pianist Vince Guaraldi on at this time of year.


What signifies the start of the festive season for you?

Picking up our Christmas tree. I always love going to pick one out, coming home and decorating it, while enjoying a glass of mulled wine.


What do you think is the best way to help others at Christmastime?

There are so many charities that help support those in need over Christmas and I highly recommend doing a bit of research around causes that are important to you. But even little things like donating some festive treats to your local food bank or offering to buy someone in need a meal can be a big help.


Laura Scott is an ultra endurance cyclist and creative strategist. She started cycling seven years ago after challenging herself to complete the Paris to London bike ride. She is now a regular long-distance cyclist and once cycled 2200 miles of the TranAm Bike Race with a broken shoulder