Penelope Cruz's favourite thing about Christmas is the long dinner, which often goes on until 5am on Boxing Day (26DEC).

The actress has given up Christmas in her native Spain and now brings her family to Los Angeles, where they celebrate the big day with her boyfriend TOM CRUISE and his extended family.

Cruz says, "We have long dinners like the ones we have in Madrid. These holiday dinners finish at 4am or 5am.

"I don't like discos or places where I can't talk to people."

In recent years, movie maker Pedro Almodovar has been a Christmas visitor.

She adds, "I love to mix my family with my friends. We have so much fun and stay so late, they have to throw us out of the restaurant."

24/12/2003 01:12