Scott Cam has hosted Australia’s most popular renovation reality show, The Block, on Channel Nine since 2010. The television and radio personality grew up in Bondi and became a qualified carpenter before getting his start on Backyard Blitz and appearing on Renovation Rescue. The 2014 Gold Logie winner is the author of two books, brand ambassador for Bisley Workwear and Mitre 10, and an ambassador for the government’s Australian Apprenticeships program. Cam and his wife Ann have three kids, Charlie and twins Sarah and Bill.
“Christmas for us is a big family day. We generally go up to the block I have near Mudgee in the bush. We’ve got big outdoor barbecue pits with pots hanging from chains over the fires and a corrugated iron outdoor kitchen. On Christmas Day, we do a hot lunch because I don’t trust prawns that far from the coast on a warm summer’s day!
We’ve got a good swimming hole that we’ll head out to in the morning, before preparing some slow-cooked pork and generally a shoulder of lamb. I’m not bad on the bush cooking!
Every year, my grandma would give me the most memorable Christmas presents. For my birthday, I always got half a case of Foster’s cans from her. At Christmas time, exactly a month later, she’d give me the other half of the case. She’d ask the bloke at the bottle shop to cut it in half for her. That was a nice present.
The gifts I really treasure are the things my kids made when they were younger. We had a big construction box – as we called it – where all the old toilet rolls, tissue boxes, paddle-pop sticks and sticky tape would go. The kids would make Christmas things from that along with a card. I’ve still got them all.
There was one made from paddle-pop sticks that had two flat sides and a box in the middle – so on the bedside table, I’d have a clock on one side, put change in the middle and something else on the other side. It was quite clever.
While we spend a lot of family time in the bush, one of the best things we’ve given ourselves for Christmas was a trip to New York when the kids were younger. It was the first time I’d been overseas – I was 43 – but the biggest thing for the kids was being terrified that Santa wouldn’t know where they were. I said, ‘He’ll find you, he knows where you are.’
That family time in New York – with the snow and being minus 22 – was wonderful. We had a friend I’d met in Perth who lived over there and we caught the train from Grand Central Station to his place for Christmas Day. It was very similar to what we have. He had his mum and his wife’s family for a big Christmas lunch. Apart from the snow, you’d have thought we were in Australia.
One of the worst presents is the old socks and undies combo – there isn’t a lot of effort that has gone into that. And who wants a pair of socks, really? My wife, Ann, goes down to the shops and buys them for me by the dozen and they’re all blue. So, when you get a couple of pairs of socks for Christmas, you go, ‘Yep, thanks, that’s just terrific…’