Carol Wright has opened up about her festive plans and cooking for 18 people on Christmas Day, including her famous offspring and their partners.

The former TOWIE star exclusively told OK! of her plans for the big day: “I’m cooking for everyone at my house, as long as all is well!

"Last year I had it all ready for everyone and then we got locked down and then we all got Covid so I had all the shopping but we couldn’t use it.”

She continued: “Natalya was saying: ‘Mum I feel so guilty about the food, can’t we sell it?” But I said: ‘Who wants to buy bags of potatoes and parsnips?’”

As for how many people Carol will be entertaining in the Wright household on Christmas Day, Carol continued: “18, including the kids and their partners. 18 isn’t too bad, I’ve done 28 before!

“I think I take after my mum [Nanny Pat] because where she had five kids she was always cooking big quantities and she said to me: ‘If you’re going to cook for two you may as well cook for 20!’ And she was right!”

While son Mark is married to actress Michelle Keegan, daughter Jess tied the knot a few months ago with her husband William Lee-Kemp and the pair are now expecting their first child together.

And the 61 year old says she’s looking forward to a much more cheerful time celebrating after a “terrible time” with Christmas last year when many of the family were struck down with coronavirus.

Both Carol and her husband Mark Snr caught Covid in December 2020 and Mark ended up in hospital, while his brother Eddie – dad to former TOWIE stars Elliott and Leah – sadly passed away after a battle with the virus in March 2021.

“This Christmas is a lot different to last year. It was a terrible time. I want 2021 out the way and a fresh start for 2022. Hopefully we can get back to normal life next year.”

Carol says presenter son Mark, 34, was on hand to deliver food to his parents whilst they were isolating, and he also warned the pair that he didn’t think 2021 would be a normal year either.

She said: “My little Mark is always right and I don’t like to let him know that but he is.

“I remember last Christmas he dropped off some shopping for us and end of the drive.

"He shouted through the gates: ‘Mum I’m telling you this, remember these words, we won’t be back to normal until 2022!’ and I said: ‘Oh Mark stop being so negative, go away!’ and he was right.

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“He said to me: ‘I told you so didn’t I!’”

And when it comes to New Year’s Eve celebrations, Carol says she and her husband of 38 years will be having a quiet one after a worrying period this time last year.

She concluded: “Mark is a bit scared about doing too much and going out with this new variant after what happened to him last year so we’ll probably have a night in.”

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