Christmas 2022: Eat Your Way Through A British Christmas Dinner

There’s a long history behind how Christmas is celebrated in Britain and many modern traditions can actually be traced back to ancient habits that evolved over time. The earliest days of Christmas were rooted in religious belief and the first real note of the day was when St Augustine of Canterbury baptised 10,000 Saxons in Kent on Christmas day in the year 597. And in 601, Pope Gregory the Great wrote to him asking to absorb all mid-winter and pagan rituals into a celebration of Christmas.

Through the medieval and Tudor periods, it was more characterised by a wide class divide. The rich celebrated with an excess of food and the lower classes usually observed an advent period before the main 12 days of Christmas where they would abstain from meat, eggs and cheese in order to save up for the main day. 

It was the Victorian era that really shaped the way Christmas is celebrated today with the traditions of giving cards, putting up trees, pulling crackers and singing carols. But it was also during this period that a lot of the Christmas familiars like a roast turkey (at that time it was also goose).

Today there are a few staples that embody the quintessential Christmas table. Pick and choose which ones you’d like to try this year!

1. Turkey

The centre of the feast it’s a must-have for the Christmas meal. Some people also opt for roast chicken, glazed ham, or roast beef but for a truly traditional experience, carving the turkey is essential.

2. Roast Potatoes

Crispy on the outside and fluffy in the middle these perfectly browned potatoes are one of the most popular side dishes and are sure to be gone in minutes. 

3. Stuffing

This can be served inside the turkey or as a side dish and is usually a mix of bread herbs and a sauce to make it moist. 

4. Pigs in Blankets

Another quintessential meat dish for Christmas, sausages wrapped in bacon and often cooked alongside the turkey are a great little flavour bomb to add to the meal.

5. Yorkshire Pudding

Made from a simple batter and then baked in hot oil until they puff up into golden balloons, this is a side that is much loved across the UK.

6. Gravy

Usually made from the pan juices after you cook your turkey, chicken or beef, the flavourful drippings are thickened with flour, herbs and seasonings to make a delicious sauce.

7. Cranberry Sauce

Usually runnier than its American counterpart, British cranberry sauce is a balance of sweet and sour to offset the savoury and meat-heavy dinner. 

8. Brussel Sprouts

A love-them-or-hate-them addition, Brussels sprouts make a delicious crisp veggie dish when cooked correctly. If not they can be a bit bitter but are still a mainstay of Christmas.

9. Christmas Pudding

A dessert made from dry fruits and served with brandy butter, this cake is usually doused in more brandy and set on fire before serving. 

10. Mince Pies

Contrary to the name, they’re not a meat dish but small tarts filled with raisins, cranberries, and sultanas, as well as chopped nuts and spices such as cinnamon, sugar, and nutmeg. The perfect way to end a meal.