The holidays are upon us and we find ourselves staying home as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

It's been a long year and you deserve a bit of cheer.

Bell Media Ottawa staff are sharing their favourite movies, books, songs, food and other holiday traditions to enjoy this season.

Happy holidays! 

CTV Ottawa

Graham Richardson – Chief News Anchor, CTV News at Six

Favourite movie: "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, in all of its retro 80s glory."

Favourite book: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

"For several years, I have reread the original in a comfortable chair by the tree. It is a story that transcends time, unfortunately, about the extremes of the 'haves' and the 'have nots'. There is redemption, generosity and, ultimately, hope. Good themes for 2021. It remains contemporary nearly 180 years later."

Favourite holiday song: "Very tough here. It has shifted over the years. Sarah McLachlan’s version of River is excellent. In the last few years, it has been the Mavericks Christmas album (Hey! Merry Christmas!), and Chris Isaak’s twangy take on the holidays."

Favourite holiday food: "A little single malt by the fire as the snow comes down. I appreciate scotch is not food, but too bad!"

Patricia Boal – Co-Anchor, CTV News at Six

Favourite Holiday Movie: Love Actually.

"We watch it every Christmas Eve after church, typically, while doing some last minute wrapping."

Favourite Holiday Book: "From days of reading to the kids, Peef The Christmas Bear by Tom Hegg. Love this story!"

Favourite Song: All I want for Christmas is You by Mariah Carey. 

"Or the version from Love Actually sung by uber-talented 10-year old Olivia Olson."

Song Runner Up: "Silent Night as sung by candlelight by everyone together at our Christmas Eve Church Service. A very important tradition for my parents. We will miss that, and them, very much this year."

Favourite Food: Peppermint Bark.

"My daughter and I make it together every year. Typically, the first bit of baking For the Christmas season."

Favourite Holiday Special: "The classic 1960s animated version of The Grinch. Perfection."

Mariah Carey
(Image credit: Brent N. Clarke/Invision/AP, File)

Matt Skube – Anchor, CTV News at Five; "Chief Elf Officer"

Favourite holiday movie: "Elf, clearly!"

Favourite holiday book: "The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsberg. I also try to re-read the Alchemist by Paulo Coelho every year."

Favourite holiday song: "O Holy Night by NSYNC."

Favourite holiday food: "Turkey dinner!"

Elf 2003 film
(Image credit: New Line Cinema)

Megan Shaw – Anchor, CTV News at 11:30

"My favourite holiday traditions include coffee or hot chocolate by the fire on Christmas Eve and, of course, spending quality time with loved ones (even if that means doing so virtually this year)."

Christina Succi – Co-Anchor, CTV News at Six Weekends

Favourite holiday movie: Home Alone or The Holiday

"Home Alone is a classic that still, even all these years later, makes me laugh. Simply put, Joe Pesci is gold. The Holiday tugs on your heart strings in a different way."

Favourite holiday book: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

"An important message that never ages."

Favourite holiday song: "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) by Michael Bublé & OBVIOUSLY All I Want for Christmas is You by Mariah Carey.

Song Runner Up: "I only listen to the above on repeat."

Favourite holiday food: Lindor Chocolates or Shortbread cookies. 

Saron Fanel – Multi-skilled Journalist, CTV Ottawa

Favourite holiday movie: "The Holiday."

Favourite holiday book: "The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra"

Favourite holiday song: "Let It Snow by Boyz II Men ft. Brian McKnight"

Favourite holiday food: "Pumpkin Cheesecake, tiramisu and chocolate toffee."

Rosie Edeh – Co-host, CTV Morning Live

Favourite holiday movie: "Jingle Jangle (New on Netflix, instant classic)"

Favourite holiday song: "This Christmas by Donnie Hathaway."

Favourite cookies: "Shortbread."

Josh Pringle – Digital Multi-skilled Journalist, CTV Ottawa

Favourite holiday movie: National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.

"I’m sure it’s on a lot of people’s lists, but it is a must watch movie over the holidays!"

Favourite holiday song: "Wonderful Christmas Time by The McAuley Boys."

Favourite holiday food: "All of it!!"

Kimberley Johnson – Multi-skilled Journalist, CTV Ottawa

Favourite movie: A toss up between “All I want for Christmas” and “Love Actually”. 

"All I want for Christmas - most people have never even heard of this gem, but it’s got Thora Birch, Leslie Nielsen, and Kevin Nealon, and it’s a classic 90s creation. Love Actually- My husband and I watch it every year on “our Christmas” which happens the Sunday before the 25th! It’s just for us before the chaos of the week begins."

Favourite drink: "Mulled wine! So warm during the holidays."

Favourite holiday song: "O Holy Night by Mariah Carey. That whole album is pure Christmas perfection."

Favourite holiday food: My mom's butternut squash soup.

(Image credit: Universal Studios)

Michael Woods – Digital Multi-skilled Journalist, CTV Ottawa

Favourite holiday movie: Love Actually

"A cheesy choice, I know. But it’s a highly rewatchable feel-good holiday movie that has become an annual tradition for us."

Favourite holiday book: The Story of Santa Claus by Scribbler Elf (by Tim Paulson)

"A beautifully illustrated origin story, explaining how Nicholas Claus journeyed to the North Pole and became Santa Claus. We read it every year growing up."

Favourite holiday music: A Charlie Brown Christmas - Vince Guaraldi Trio

"Nothing says Christmas like curling up by the tree with a cup of hot chocolate and the jazzy soundtrack to the Peanuts Christmas special on in the background. A true classic."

Favourite holiday food: Chocolate crinkle cookies

"My mom makes these every year. They’re my favourite Christmas dessert."

Charlie Brown Christmas
(Image credit: Lee Mendelson Film Productions)

Ted Raymond – Digital Multi-skilled Journalist, CTV Ottawa

Favourite holiday movie: A Christmas Story.

"It’s the ultimate presentation of Christmas nostalgia and the childhood struggle of longing for that perfect gift. He really did shoot his eye out!"

Favourite holiday book: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

"I remember doing a live reading of this at Christmas time for the theatre group I was in back in Kenora, Ontario (I read the Ghost of Christmas Past section), and it's held a special place since then. Yes, it's been retold in many ways but you can't beat the original."

Favourite holiday song: Santa Claus is Comin' to Town by Bruce Springsteen.

"This version was on the Christmas mixtape that my parents would play every year as we were setting up the tree, so it's always been the 'definitive' version of this song for me."

Favourite holiday food: Eggnog.

"As Homer Simpson once said, 'We only get 30 sweet, noggy days and then the government takes it away again.'"

Michael Mersereau - Camera/Editor, CTV Ottawa

Favourite holiday movie: Bad Santa 

"Crude but hilarious! Billy Bob Thorton portrays a Santa Claus you love to hate!"

Favourite holiday book: ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas (A Visit from St. Nicholas) by Clement Clarke Moore

"A classic. ‘Nuff said!"

Favourite holiday song: The 12 Days of Christmas by Bob and Doug McKenzie

"Because you just can’t resist a beer in a tree!"

Favourite holiday food: My mother’s tourtière pie.

"Growing up I didn’t like it and called it “Torture Pie”, but it grew on me! By the way, it goes great with salsa."

Newstalk 580 CFRA

Chris Holski – Senior News Writer, Newstalk 580 CFRA

Favourite holiday book: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

"Ebenezer Scrooge has been interpreted as a caricature for so long that people overlook the very human reasons he grew so miserable. The importance of overcoming bitterness to become a better person is as important a message today as it was in 1843.

Favourite holiday movie: “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.”

"If Die Hard can be a Christmas movie, so can the George Lazenby 007 film. People like Elf, but does it have a fistfight while barreling down a bobsled track? Didn’t think so."

Favourite holiday song: “Song for a Winter’s Night” by Gordon Lightfoot.

"Sarah McLachlan’s cover ended up in the 1994 version of 'Miracle on 34th Street,' which canonizes the original as a Christmas song for me!"

Favourite holiday food: Perogies.

"A Holski Christmas Eve tradition which has grown to include more and more people as the years go by. A family team of three makes more than 160 from scratch. It takes hours and is worth it every year."

Maddy Eisenberg – Traffic Reporter, Newstalk 580 CFRA

Favourite holiday movie: "Elf and The Holiday."

Favourite holiday book: "Harry Potter series (obviously)."

Favourite holiday song: "My guilty pleasure, cringing admitting it hahaha, but Justin Bieber’s version of Mistletoe."

Favourite holiday food: "Every Chanukah, my family makes brisket. It’s my great grandmother’s recipe. This year, my partner and I made our own for the first time and had a dinner, just the two of us. Hoping to get everyone back together next year."

Andrew Pinsent – Regional News Reporter, Newstalk 580 CFRA

Favourite holiday movie: Home Alone

Favourite holiday book: How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss

Favourite holiday song: Santa Claus is Comin' to Town by Bruce Springsteen

Favourite holiday food: Eggnog

Home Alone
(Image credit: 20th Century Fox)

Stephen Ellsworth – Technical Producer, Newstalk 580 CFRA

Favourite holiday movie: It's a Wonderful Live (1946).

"I feel it really gives an emphasis on what matters most during this time of year. Not taking the little things for granted. Spending time with the ones you love. It really hits home for me."

Favourite holiday book: How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss. 

"A classic by Dr. Seuss. Not much else to say."

Favourite holiday song: Feliz Navidad by José Feliciano.

"So much fun to sing along to. After a year like this, we need something that brings joy and puts a smile on our faces. This song does exactly that for me. Every single time."

Favourite holiday food: Stuffing.

"It hasn't always been my favourite. But ever since my Grade 10 Hospitality class made it 10+ years ago, it's my hands-down choice. For those wondering, I prefer it on the side of the turkey."


Stuntman Stu – Co-host, Mornings with Stuntman Stu and Angie Poirier

"Growing up Jewish, the holiday didn’t fully register until Christmas Vacation came out! My Dad loved this movie and would quote certain scenes with me and seeing that Oscar snubbed film always brings back memories of my Mom’s homemade latkes and lightning the menorah!"

Angie Poirier – Co-host, Mornings with Stuntman Stu and Angie Poirier

Favourite holiday movie: "Home Alone. Our whole family watches it multiple times every year."

Favourite holiday book: "The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams, to remember the magic of toys."

Favourite holiday song: "Kenny and Dolly Once Upon a Christmas the FULL album! The soundtrack to tree decorating and cookie decorating my whole life."

Favourite holiday food: "My mom’s famous Christmas tourtière."

Kenny and Dolly Once Upon a Christmas
(Image credit: RCA Victor)

Janel Steeper – Producer, Mornings with Stuntman Stu and Angie Poirier

Favourite holiday movie: "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. It’s a classic. What more is there to say?"

Favourite holiday song: All I want for Christmas Is You – Mariah Carey

"Growing up on Christmas morning we would ALWAYS put on her Christmas album when opening presents in the living room and it would play all day."

Favourite holiday food: Eggnog

"Is it a food? I don’t care—it’s alarming how much I can drink and pairs well with adult beverage ;)"

Connie Bernardi – Program Director, MAJIC 100

Favourite holiday movie: "I was going to go with Die Hard (it is SOOOOOO is a Christmas movie) but instead, I’m going to go with 'Family Stone'. It’s a heartwarming-funny-makes-you-ugly-cry comedy drama about a family at Christmas and most importantly the casting is EVERYTHING (Claire Danes, Diane Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Dermot Mulroney, Craig T. Nelson, Sarah Jessica Parker, Luke Wilson & Brian White)."

Favourite holiday book: "It used to be the Sears Christmas Wish Book and now it’s all about the LCBO’s Food & Drink Holiday Issue."

Favourite holiday song: "Mariah Carey 'O Holy Night'. Her voice is just so amazing and incredible and this version gives me the chills every time."

Favourite holiday food: Torta di Mandorle

"My Zia Antonietta makes this every Christmas and has been for as long as I can remember. It’s delicious and goes amazingly well with espresso. I look forward to it every year and have to hold myself back from inhaling it all in one sitting. I could learn how to make it myself but that’s what my sister is for!"

Recipe here:


Sophie Moroz – Co-host, The Morning Pickup with Sophie & Jeff

Favourite holiday movie: "It’s a tie between The Santa Clause with Tim Allen and A Muppet Christmas Carol."

Favourite holiday book: ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas (A Visit from St. Nicholas) by Clement Clarke Moore.

"I love the classics."

Favourite holiday song: "I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas by The Drifters, Sleigh Ride by the Ronettes and Underneath the Tree by Kelly Clarkson."

Favourite holiday food: "Spiked Nog (I prefer a liquid holiday diet)"

Mary Anne Ivison – Host, 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Favourite holiday movie: The Muppet Christmas Carol

Holiday Song: "Any song off Brett Eldredge “Glow Deluxe” Christmas album – Frank Sinatra vibes – OR Pentatonix 'Hallelujah'."

Holiday Food: "CARBS OF ANY SORT (stuffing, bread, pie, bring it)"

TSN 1200

John "JR" Rodenburg – Co-host, TSN Mornings / Program Director, TSN 1200

Favourite holiday movie: "How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the TV cartoon version."

Favourite holiday song: "Music from the Nutcracker. It became a tradition that we play it while opening gifts."

Favourite holiday food: "Sorry. Boring. Turkey with home-made gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes, a nice colourful palate of vegetables (corn, carrot and peas work)."

How the Grinch Stole Christmas
(Image credit: Cat in the Hat Productions)

Steve Lloyd – Host, In the Box

Favourite holiday movie: National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

"'The hap, hap, happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap danced with Danny F*#%ing Kaye!' To this day, my father and I can’t say Danny’s name without his middle name."

Favourite holiday book: "The credits of Christmas Vacation"

Favourite holiday song: "Mary’s Boy Child by Boney M"

Favourite holiday food: "Shucking oysters and downing them with a little vodka and Tabasco sauce."