Christmas Stats and Traditions

Last Christmas saw the UK consuming approximately 10 million turkeys.

It is estimated £22bn is spent by UK households at Christmas, with the average household spending £796. Of this, £159 is thought to go on food and drink and the rest on gifts (£596) , cards, trees and decorations (£41). Source: YouGov

The majority of families (76%) around the UK will serve up a succulent roast turkey as the centre piece of their festive meal this Christmas.

Turkey is a relative newcomer to the Yuletide table - it was a luxury right up until the 1950's when they became more widely available.

In Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol (1843), Bob Cratchit had a goose before Scrooge bought him a turkey.

Prior to the turkey tradition Christmas fare included roast swan, pheasants and peacocks. A special treat was a roast boars head decorated with holly and fruit.

A survey has revealed on average, British women do not attempt their first Christmas lunch until the age of 34. Nearly half of women polled said they felt a real sense of achievement when finally dishing up the Christmas dinner and 28% of British men admit that their partner's dinner is better than their mother's. Source: Food Network

Henry VIII was the first English king to enjoy turkey, although Edward VII made eating turkey fashionable at Christmas. Indeed turkey was a luxury right up until the 1950's when refrigerators became commonplace. However, traditions for many countries around the globe vary enormously where the centrepiece can range from pork chops to curried goat!

Norway: The big festive feast takes place on Christmas Eve. Most people around the coastal regions eat fish - concoctions of cod and haddock and a variety called lutefisk. Inland they go for pork chops, specially prepared sausages and occasionally lamb.

Sweden: The Christmas feast consists of a smorgasbord of caviar, shellfish, cooked and raw fish and cheeses.

Ukraine: The people here prepare huge broths brimming with meat for Christmas Eve rather than Christmas day.

Czech Republic: Tradition dictates that the tree is not lit before Christmas Eve then they have a big dinner of fish soup, salads, eggs and carp. Scarily, the number of people at the table must be even or it is believed the person without a partner will die next year.

Germany: The Germans tend to have a game feast on Christmas day, usually wild boar or venison.

Jamaica: Christmas dinner usually consists of rice, gungo peas, chicken, ox tail and curried goat.

Italy: Christmas dinner in Italy can last for more than 4 hours. Most families will have 7 or more courses including antipasti, a small portion of pasta, a roast meal, followed by 2 salads and 2 sweet puddings - then cheese fruit, brandy and chocolates.

Austria: A typical Christmas dinner would consist of braised carp served with gingerbread and beer sauce.

Poland: The traditional Christmas Eve supper consists of 12 non-meat dishes, representing the months of the year and featuring fish such as pike, herring and carp. Other typical Polish dishes are fish soup, sauerkraut with wild mushrooms or peas and Polish dumplings with various fillings.