MUHAMMAD Ali, Winston Churchill, Freddie Mercury and the Roman gladiator Spartacus are among the figures from history that people in South Tyneside would love to spend Christmas Day with.
With the big day almost upon us, we headed out onto the streets of King Street, South Shields, to ask shoppers to draw up a festive wish-list.
For most, it was their families that remained at the heart of the celebrations.
Few drew on Christmas as a religious festival, with most citing it as a chance to gather their nearest and dearest around them.
Retired power station worker Nick Price, 64, from Stanhope Road, South Shields, said his ideal Christmas gift was a Lottery win – but not for selfish reasons.
He said: “I’d give all the winnings to my family to ensure their lives would be much easier, and they would want for nothing.
“I was just watching the film Spartacus starring Kirk Douglas on TV the other day, and I shed a tear when he was on the cross and he saw his son, when he never thought he would.
“I think Spartacus would be a great person to spend Christmas Day with.”
Carer Paul Dix, 49, already has his ideal festive gift –- a ticket to see American singer Robin Beck in concert in Blyth, Northumberland, next year.
Mr Dix, from South Shields, said: “She came to fame in the late 1980s through the hit single First Time, which was used in a Coca-Cola advertisement.
“She’s playing a lot of small venues around the country, and I’ve got a ticket.
“As for who I’d most want to spend Christmas Day with, that would be my wife, because she’s the person that means the most to me.”
Voluntary worker Sue Pullen, 58, of The Lonnen, South Shields, was unequivocal on who she’d love to be sharing her turkey with – the late Queen singer Freddie Mercury.
She said: “He was such a showman and a great singer. He was just too good for this world.
“I’m sure he would be fascinating to spend some time with. As for a Christmas gift, I’d wish for some sunshine.”
Sue’s partner, John Jackson, 67, would rather pull a cracker with heavyweight boxing legend Muhammad Ali.
He said: “In his prime, he had everything. He was the best boxer ever and he was so bright and funny. I’m sure he’d have a lot of interesting stories to tell.
“As for ideal Christmas gifts, I’d go for a ticket to somewhere really warm this winter, maybe the Bahamas.”
George Tingley, 52, a sales assistant at the British Heart Foundation charity shop in King Street, had a more personal wish.
He said: “If I could choose to be with anyone this Christmas Day it would be my three children, but they are away in Scotland.
“I’m not bothered about being with someone from history. For a present, I don’t want anything more than friendship.”
South Shields shopper David Clarke, 58, has a very special wish this yuletide.
His wife, Mary, has been receiving treatment for cancer this year, and he wants her to make a full recovery.
He added: “Thankfully, she is getting better.
“One person I’d want around the table at Christmas is Churchill. I’d ask him how he won the war.”