Whether you’re a Christmas crazed obsessive who’s been planning décor themes since June or a leave-it-till-the-last minute panicker with a side order of Scrooge, one thing we can all agree on is that Christmas is all about the food. Whatever comestibles you’re looking forward to most this season – Champagne for breakfast? Your mum’s nut roast? Christmas cake with a side of cheese? – there’s only one way to eat this Christmas and that’s your way.
Stir It Up
The good news is the same as the bad news where Christmas cake is concerned. If you didn’t stir one up sometime in October and inject it lovingly with brandy every week since, it’s game over for 2017. But Christmas cake is still Christmas cake whether it’s delivered by Abel & Cole/bought naked from Waitrose and slathered in homemade royal icing/made by your mum. The only real divider being whether you eat it Yorkshire-style with a slab of Wensleydale (don’t knock it till you try it) or solo with a cup of tea.
Festive Ocado slot booked on release day and organic KellyBronze on order? Keeping it real with a nervous trolley dash on Christmas Eve? However you choose to source your festive food, an emergency trip to the corner shop for batteries, tin foil or prosecco is inevitable. See you there.
The Sweet Stuff
You might be #sugarfree the rest of the year but Christmas week turns even the cleanest eater into a Quality Street junky. Add on mince pies, booze and the accidental demolition of a gingerbread house or two and you’re on a sugar high till January.
Dig out the Twiglets and pour yourself another Snowball, we all love a bit of Christmas Past. Festive food nostalgia always makes for the best Christmas traditions so whatever yours are (pickled gherkins, candied orange slices, shortbread Scottie dogs, caviar blinis) now is the time to indulge. And make some new ones for your children while you’re at it… Christmas Coco Pops for the win.
The Night Before Christmas
The days of boozing it up in the pub with your mates from sixth form might be long gone but the perfect moment of anticipation that is Christmas Eve remains a seasonal highlight. Nowadays it’s all about leaving mince pies and sherry out for Santa, last-minute present wrapping and trying to exhaust the children so they sleep in beyond 4am. For many of us it’s also the first opportunity to pause in weeks so crack open the Bolli, pop some M&S canapés in the oven and watch Christmas TV by fairylight.
It’s all well and good having aspirational breakfast plans of the smoked salmon and scrambled eggs variety but your children will probably still insist on the same bowl of Weetabix they have on the other 364 days of the year, with a selection box chaser. Go with it and crack open the champagne.
The Main Event
There’s no meal easier to get right/wrong than Christmas dinner. And anyone who values their own sanity knows outsourcing this element of the day to a willing relative is the only sensible way to go. Even the main event is a divider with most people adamant that turkey is non negotiable, a smattering of veggie/vegan defectors and a loud minority who’ll tell anyone who’ll listen the aforementioned bird is dry, overrated and not even that traditional. Then there’s the sprouts (love/hate), bread sauce (so wrong it’s right?) and debate over whether Yorkshire puddings constitute an acceptable accompaniment (always yes). And we haven’t even got on to what you should serve for pudding/starter. What we can definitely confirm is that crackers are essential, paper hats must be worn and anyone under the age of seven will be totally non-plussed by the whole thing.
The Best Bit
You finished eating a couple of hours ago and everyone’s given up on the forced joviality of family charades and accepted that snoozing through the Doctor Who Christmas Special is the only way to go. You’re a few glasses of wine in and the kids have disappeared upstairs to unearth the hidden iPads. Someone emerges from the kitchen with a slice of turkey, someone else mentions how great that might be in a sandwich…next thing you know you’re tucking into a plate of leftovers, cheeses and random pickled items like you haven’t eaten since dawn. Perfection.
New Year, New You
Ah, the joy of festive gluttony…the brilliance of that bit in between Christmas and New Year where no one knows what day it is…the anticipation of a champagne fuelled New Year’s Eve safe in the knowledge you’ll be tucked up in bed before midnight. Make the most of it because come 2 January it’ll be green juice, Beck’s Blue and jump squats all the way. Until the 6th at least.