Secrets of your Christmas Dinner - Tonight

Christmas is going to look a bit different for most of us this year, but for five days only between the 23rd and the 27th of December the current coronavirus restrictions will be relaxed and you can meet with a limited number of family and friends.

So with this small festive window to enjoy time with their nearest and dearest, are people thinking this is the year to go all out with the centrepiece of Christmas Day- their dinner?

Turkey farmer Paul Kelly certainly thinks so. His free range turkeys sell for up to £140, but this year he’s had a surge of interest from new customers, and is two weeks ahead of where he would normally be on orders. He says that’s not the only reason for the extra demand:

Millions of people go away at Christmas on holiday, they’re at home and a lot of people would normally go out to a restaurant and a pub, they’re not doing that this year. So there is a lot more turkeys that will be needed. There could well be a shortage of British turkeys this year.

Paul Kelly, Turkey Farmer

But Paul does at least think even if there is a turkey shortage the prices won’t be any higher, as they were set some months ago.

Someone else who’s been working round the clock to ensure our Christmas food gets on our plates is carrot farmer Rodger Hobson. The last time Tonight met Rodger was in 2018, when the UK had been experiencing extreme weather- from heatwaves to flooding- which played havoc with that year’s crop. This year the weather has been much more carrot friendly, however they’ve had something else to contend with- an infestation of vegetable- loving aphids. The carrot yield could be down 20% this year… but thankfully we should still have enough to go round at Christmas.

The carrots in general, are shorter, and smaller this year. But fortunately, every bit as tasty.

Rodger Hobson, farmer

And what about your Christmas dessert? Waitrose Executive Chef Martyn Lee starts planning their Christmas food offerings at least 18 months in advance. And when it comes to Christmas pudding he has a novel suggestion for how to cook it… on the barbecue. 

If you think about what we might traditionally do with the Christmas pudding, we would serve it on a plate hot, we would pour brandy over  it and we would set fire to it. All I'm doing is doing that in a slightly different way.

Martyn Lee, Chef

However not everyone is fortunate enough to have the money to splash out on a big Christmas dinner, or the family to enjoy it with. A charity called Christmas Dinners usually arranges big Christmas get togethers for young care leavers across the country who don’t have relatives they can spend the big day with. They come together for a few hours to enjoy a meal and some festive fun. This year of course they can’t do this… so instead the charity has arranged for meals and presents to be dropped off at people’s houses.

For people to feel like they've got people around them, that care about them, and that Christmas is still a special time to celebrate, I think it's really important this year more than ever.

Nancy, Christmas Dinners

If you are worried about being alone at Christmas this year, or just need someone to talk to, here are some organisations who might be able to help:

MINDCRISIS AT CHRISTMASCOMMUNITY CHRISTMASAGE UK

ITV Tonight’s ‘Secrets of Your Christmas Dinner’ with Jonathan Maitland is on ITV this Thursday (December 10th) at 7:30pm.