Two years ago my parents and sister tentatively told me that we would be eating out as a family on Christmas Day. And my jaw hit the floor.
Out? As in… out of the house? As in… eating food cooked by somebody else?
Unacceptable. Unfathomable. Unnatural.
I am a festive purist, doggedly observing our traditions, chastising my family for not putting the tree up on the right day, for not buying the right kind of Christmas lights. So the thought of veering so far from our normal Christmas Day seemed appalling to me.
But, after I calmed down and begrudgingly got my head around the idea – it turned out to be one of the best Christmas Days we had ever had as a family.
And I have been convincing everyone I know to eat out on Christmas Day ever since.
Just picture the scene – no one has to be stressed about the cooking, there’s no prepping or peeling or chopping to be done on Christmas Eve, no washing up later in the day, all you have to worry about is breakfast and snacks.
Also, restaurants tend to go all out to make Christmas Day feel super special. There might be carols, a pianist, a glass of Prosecco on arrival. You’ll probably feel like you’re in a festive 90s rom com, and you will love it.
Kathryn and her family have eaten out on Christmas Day for the last five years. She loves it because it takes a huge amount of stress out of the day – particularly when she also has to fit in family visits too.
‘We’ve always started Christmas day with presents then breakfast, then gone to visit the in-laws, but it was just then such a rush to get back and get the dinner on,’ Kathryn tells Metro.co.uk.
‘I wanted to enjoy my day too and not stress about cooking.
‘Plus, we have a separate kitchen and dining room, so whoever was cooking was virtually isolated from everyone else – which isn’t fun at any time, let alone on Christmas Day.’
Kathryn lives right opposite a pub called The Fieldhouse, and she says that one year they booked in for Christmas dinner on a whim – and just kept going back.
‘I’m definitely not one for getting dressed up on Christmas Day,’ says Kathryn. ‘For me, it’s all about being comfy, so to be able to wander over the road in our jeans and Christmas jumpers was very appealing.
‘The food was amazing and the atmosphere fab, and it wasn’t expensive for Christmas Day – around £40 for adults and half that for kids. Then once we’d finished we just wandered back across the road and collapsed into a food coma in the sofa with no washing up.’
This year is the first time in five years that Kathryn and her family will be eating at home – after spending money on the house and building a nice new kitchen diner.
‘It was my decision to stay at home and enjoy our new kitchen,’ explains Kathryn. ‘We’ve not ruled out going over the road again next year though.
‘For us, it’s the convenience of the location which sells it, we are lucky to have a great pub on our doorstep.
‘I definitely wouldn’t bother if it meant getting all “poshed up” and driving for ages as the whole point is to make the day more relaxing, not less.’
Aside from being unyielding traditionalists, some people avoid eating out on Christmas Day because of the cost.
According to research by catering company Nisbets, a third of Brits believe dining out on Christmas day is too expensive, with a huge 90% of us choosing to stay in and cook ourselves.
This is despite post-dinner washing up being most disliked part of Christmas Day (32%) and nearly half (45%) of home-cooks facing some sort of family feud.
But the researcher also found that these fears were largely unfounded, and that eating out doesn’t actually work out as much more expensive than cooking at home.
The prices of ingredients for a Christmas dinner for two adults and three children (including a starter of soup and prawn cocktail, a dessert selection, cheese and a bottle of Prosecco) were tallied, the cost adds up to £135, or £27 per person.
When analysing the price of a three-course meal with a bottle of Prosecco in three pubs across the UK (excluding London), the average price was £32.80 per person.
That’s not much of an additional price to pay – particularly when you factor in the time saved on food shopping, cooking and clearing up.
Jake says that his family go out for an Indian every year on Christmas Day, and the low cost is a big factor in their festive tradition.
‘Nothing better than a Vindaloo at 2.30 pm on Christmas Day,’ says Jake.
‘The atmosphere is great and it’s just like a normal day – it’s always packed too.
‘It’s much easier than cooking at home and it’s stress-free, it’s just like going out for a normal meal with family.’
Jake doesn’t mind that he doesn’t get the day at home – he actually prefers being out for most of the day, with his family starting off at the pub, heading for a curry and only returning home in the evening.
‘It’s only like £25 for a five-course meal, so it’s cheaper than having a traditional Christmas dinner too – which means we have more money for alcohol!’
A solid, solid argument.
Christmas dinner at home can be magical. There is a real joy in cooking as a family, creating a festive feast and sitting down together in your own home. But it can also be a lot of work and a lot of stress.
It’s good to know that you’re not tied to doing Christmas at home. And options to eat out aren’t always extortionate. Christmas is what you make it – and it can be nice to mix things up.
Source: Thanks https://metro.co.uk/2019/12/24/better-eat-christmas-day-11955837/