Carey Mulligan reveals why she only spends £10 on Christmas presents

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Kayleigh Dray

Carey Mulligan is a critically acclaimed actor, with a bevy of awards and accolades under her belt.

But, while she may tread the red carpet with the rest of Hollywood’s most glamorous stars, she and her husband, Marcus Mumford, will not be spoiling their one-year-old daughter, Evelyn, this Christmas – nor will they be splashing out on expensive gifts for anyone else in their families.

Before you jump to any Scrooge-esque conclusions, however, the celebrity couple have a very good reason for their frugal festivities.

Mulligan, who was born and bred in Buckinghamshire, is an ambassador for War Child and the Alzheimer’s Society. As such, she is all too aware that Christmas is a difficult time of year for many – particularly for children in war zones “who don’t wake up and have Christmas stockings and presents at the end of the bed”, and those, like her 90-year-old grandmother, who suffer from Alzheimer’s.

“In our family we only buy presents for each other that cost less than £10 and then make a donation to War Child,” she told the Radio Times.

Carey Mulligan rallied for the British government to save the children of Aleppo in Syria

Carey Mulligan rallied for the British government to save the children of Aleppo in Syria

When asked whether or not it is “still OK” to celebrate Christmas, considering all that’s wrong in the world, Mulligan advised: “You strike a balance.”

The 31-year-old continued: “You can’t give in to despair. There are so many things that we have to be grateful for.”

Mulligan will be guest-editing Radio 4’s Today programme on Wednesday 28 December – and, as part of the show, she will be broadcasting an interview with her grandmother.

She said: “I’m taking Radio 4 to interview Nans on her birthday, which is two days before Christmas.

“We always tell her we love her, although her dementia has got to the point where it’s impossible to know what she understands.”

Watch ‘Santa Forgot’, the Christmas advert from Alzheimer’s UK, below:

Earlier this year, Mulligan penned a poignant essay about the devastating impact her grandmother’s dementia has had on her family.

“Nans rarely communicates verbally and most of the time her eyes are closed,” she wrote in the piece, which was published in the Huffington Post.

"Sometimes it feels like she’s not there anymore and that we just can’t reach her - and those are always the hardest visits.”

Despite this, Mulligan insists that her grandmother’s illness does not – and will not – take anything away from who she is.

“She is very much still there,” said the 31-year-old, “and there is so much more to Nans than the dementia. For every visit that ends in tears of sadness, there are visits where we weep with joy.”

Carey Mulligan on the red carpet

Carey Mulligan on the red carpet

Mulligan was recently appointed the UK’s first global Dementia Friends Ambassador, by the Alzheimer’s Society and Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt.

The programme is the biggest ever initiative to change people’s perceptions of dementia. It aims to transform the way the nation thinks, acts and talks about the condition.

Find out more on their website here.


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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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