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Christmas dinner... On Christmas Eve??

(44 Posts)
surreygirl1987 Wed 02-Sep-20 11:31:17

Hi all. I've never 'done' Christmas myself - always been at my parents' or in-laws and just fallen in with them. But now we have a little family of our own and get to choose exactly how we want our Christmas to be - yay!

I'm not much of a cook and am intrigued by people who have had the traditional Xmas roast on Christmas Eve instead. That idea actually really appeals to me... I don't think I've ever finished a Christmas lunch on Christmas day as too much chocolate! If you do your main Christmas dinner or Christmas Eve instead, what do you do for food on Christmas day instead? I've read of some doing a buffet? And what are the pros and cons of doing it this way round? I'm on mat leave with my second child at the mo so getting ahead thinking about Christmas plans while I have loads of time! Thanks! smile

OP’s posts: |
Themostwonderfultimeoftheyear Wed 02-Sep-20 11:47:11

We do a buffet on Christmas Day if it is just us and DS and the traditional dinner when we see family around Christmas. The massive benefit of a buffet with young children is you get to enjoy watching them play with their toys rather than being in the kitchen and they don't have to be torn away from their toys.

This year we hope to be with family though so will do the main meal on the day (but get from somewhere like M&S so very little cooking) and a buffet on Boxing Day.

BiddyPop Wed 02-Sep-20 11:49:01

We don't cook the dinner on Christmas Eve, but we do most of the prep work then. Peel potatoes and veg, make the stuffing, (boil the neck for stock some years), brine the turkey if doing that, etc.

Our buffet meal is 24th - cured and cooked meats (parma ham, salami, braseola, etc), fish (squid rings, prawns, smoked salmon), olives, carrot and pepper sticks, cherry tomatoes, hummus (and usually another dippy thing), breadsticks and slices of crusty bread, cheese etc.

We have a decent breakfast on 25th, and then dinner in the evening. So we have mass and family visits to do in the morning and early afternoon, although we usually pop home before the last one to get the turkey into the oven (on a timer, just in case we get delayed).

Once we do get home, we throw a packet of M&S party food into the oven (something interesting that all 3 of us will enjoy), get the rest organised and light the fire, before everyone gets a drink and we head into the sitting room with the M&S bits. We open presents at a relaxed pace, topping up drinks, and making an occasional foray into the kitchen to check the dinner or turn on the veg or whatever the next stage is. The M&S food is effectively our starter, we are generally hungry enough by the time we eat to enjoy the dinner, and then DH and I usually have proper pudding later once DD is in bed (she doesn't like the fruit) and we have digested the turkey a bit.

For us, it's about slow eating of things we enjoy, (and having lots of nice things but not going overboard on the amounts of anything), and having a slow day - which is very rare in our house!

SnuggyBuggy Wed 02-Sep-20 11:52:56

My DPs sometimes do, they deliberately cook enough so they can have lots of leftovers on Christmas day.

Weenurse Wed 02-Sep-20 11:53:03

We have German tradition of roast and presents Christmas Eve.
Then leftover brunch Christmas Day.
I love it as DC can go to partners Christmas Day

Peach1886 Wed 02-Sep-20 11:58:51

I am thinking of doing that this year - years ago I knew an Austrian family and I think having the main meal and presents on Christmas Eve was traditional for them, and it has appealed ever since.

I like the idea of having the whole of Christmas Day to relax at home, or go out walking or play with DS and his new toys...and then we'll have a buffet of all our favourite stuff in the afternoon so I can spend minimal time in the kitchen.

Will be interested to see what everyone suggests smile

TheTurnOfTheScrew Wed 02-Sep-20 12:04:31

We do this on the odd year when DH works Christmas Day but not Christmas Eve. We serve a buffet on Christmas Day. It's really nice actually to be able to relax a little more on Christmas day and just grab a bite as and when. You can take time seeing visitors and opening presents without yo-yoing in and out of the kitchen, and actually enjoy some of them in the afternoon - I love getting time to crack open a new book.

NoWordForFluffy Wed 02-Sep-20 12:18:47

We do a buffet on Christmas Day (though the roast is on Boxing Day) and have been for a few years now. My in-laws join us if they're around, and seem to enjoy the buffet idea too.

The kids get to stay at home and play all day and it's more relaxed than a roast.

ellentree Wed 02-Sep-20 12:21:52

We make a yummy meal that we can freeze, still something special, and have that on Christmas with pre prepared and frozen potatoes and some veg. Very minimal kitchen time and still a good meal! We have the roast on Boxing Day normally as Christmas Eve is a buffet after church (though doubt that will happen this year)

Aroundtheworldin80moves Wed 02-Sep-20 12:25:57

We often BBQ on Christmas Day. One year we took the Mickey a bit and had Turkey Dinosaurs with potato smiles.
The last thing we want to do o Christmas day is cook. We want to enjoy playing with the children etc.

BumpkinSpiceBatty Wed 02-Sep-20 12:35:38

We do the full dinner on christmas Eve. Then we go for a long walk to look at all the lights before we go home and start getting ready for bed.
it means we just reheat leftovers the next day andcan spend it playing with the kids.

tbfitwasntme Wed 02-Sep-20 12:44:15

I can see the appeal of wanting to eat on Christmas eve and just have a chill day on Christmas day. At the moment I cook absolutely everything on Christmas eve (apart from the Yorkshire puds, roasties and gravy) and then store in the fridge until the following day so we can eat when we're all ready and actually hungry, stick everything on plates and heat in the microwave.

sashh Wed 02-Sep-20 12:47:33


Forgive me, I'm curious, you say you go to mass that you have cooked meat on the 24th, isn't the 24th a day of abstinence?


If you are not much of a cook, and you have 2 small children I'd take a look at a frozen dinner, you can get joints to roast from frozen (I can't see 2 adults and 1 toddler eating a full turkey) and frozen veg.

It's your family and you can make your own traditions, if that's pizza or curry it doesn't matter, just enjoy time with your family.

WinWinnieTheWay Wed 02-Sep-20 12:49:00

I would be up for this. I'd be happy to have rib of beef instead of turkey too, but my husband and children would be aghast.

Natsku Wed 02-Sep-20 12:49:02

We have the main meal on Christmas Eve (but we also open the presents on Christmas Eve too, but not until after we've eaten so appetites aren't ruined by chocolate). We just eat the leftovers heated up on Christmas Day because its a day to do no work, just relax and enjoy ourselves.

BiddyPop Wed 02-Sep-20 12:57:38

We cook the meat on 25th after having been to mass in the morning.

What we do on 24th is peeling and chopping potatoes/veg; making stuffing;
Boiling the neck and goblets of the bird for stock for gravy (if we are bothered That year)
Brining the bird in a large bucket of salty, seasoned water (if we are bothered that year),
Making cookies for Santa etc.

But there is no abstinence on 24th - you might be mixing it up with Good Friday before Easter Sunday?
We don’t light the fire (so Santa doesn’t get a burned bum🤣),
But we do open a bottle of wine and we do have meat and other treats as part of our evening buffet dinner.

Kittykatmacbill Wed 02-Sep-20 13:05:57

I do all the food prep on Christmas Eve so everything can get slotted in to the oven at specific times.

thelegohooverer Wed 02-Sep-20 15:48:31

We prep on Christmas Eve so it’s mostly a matter of juggling oven timings on Christmas Day. Leftovers on the 26th which is is a lovely long, lazy day.
The 26th is absolutely my favourite.
If you have leftovers on Christmas Day, what do you on Boxing Day? Is it just back to normal?

SecretWitch Wed 02-Sep-20 15:53:18

We have our big main meal on Christmas Eve and then order in a Chinese take away on Christmas Day.

Backtoschoolnotsoonenough Wed 02-Sep-20 15:59:28

When I left exh he refused to let me see the dc on xmas day. Supposed to be 50/50..
Not to be deterred by his ever continuing abuse I hatched a Cunning Plan..
Santa posted a letter to my dc that he knew they would not be at my address on the 25th so he would indeed make special arrangements to come the eve of the 23rd instead. So he did.
We had Xmas dinner on the 24th and our presents. Had an amazing day.
Had fajitas on the 25th with adult dc.
And imagine exh was too fuming to eat at all!!.
Never done it since but it was lovely!

JMG1234 Wed 02-Sep-20 16:01:42

In recent years, I've cooked the turkey on Christmas Eve then had a free oven to cook everything else on Christmas Day. I also cook stuff like red cabbage and bread sauce in advance and reheat.

I was against it at first but you don't notice the turkey is cold once you've poured some hot gravy on it (my mum puts her turkey in the microwave for a few seconds but she likes her food to be mouth-blisteringly hot).

I also find that my interest in cooking Christmas lunch is inversely proportional to the amount of Prosecco I drink on the day, and by the second class, my standards have dropped considerably.

NoWordForFluffy Wed 02-Sep-20 16:10:26

See, I'd never cook the day before. A well-rested turkey takes as long to rest as everything else takes to cook, thereby leaving the oven empty.

JMG1234 Wed 02-Sep-20 16:42:00

Fair point. We eat our Christmas dinner around 1pm so cooking the turkey the day before saves me getting up too early to sort it all out. Each to their own though, resting does free up the oven as you say.

My friend always goes out for Christmas dinner which sounds quite lush though I'd probably miss sweating over hot veggies really.

Titsywoo Wed 02-Sep-20 16:46:40

We have done our big meal on xmas eve for the last few years. I really enjoy it as we have a big lunch with family and friends and some more come for drinks at 5ish then we go outside as we have a big light show on our house in the evenings in Dec and xmas eve is a big night (100's turn up). After that's over we count the charity money from the show and have a few more drinks and a tidy up.

On xmas day we watch lots of TV after opening presents and everyone has whatever they want for lunch. Last year DH had pizza, DD had a cheeseboard and me and DS had beef wellington (the Cook one so just bung in the oven - no prep on xmas day allowed!). It's lovely and relaxed.

lachy Wed 02-Sep-20 17:22:47

At the moment DH is working on Christmas Day, so not sure whether we will do a dinner, I'd prefer to do a buffet, and a roast dinner at the weekend.

DD is 4, so I don't want to miss her excitement by being stuck in the kitchen.

Which reminds me....I must do my Tesco Trolley 🛒 Trick

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