Roast potatoes, golden turkeys with stuffing, cranberry sauce and fruitcake, Christmas is a time for overindulgence and many Brits are dreaming of their Christmas Day feast after a whirlwind year.
Britain has spent most of 2020 in lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, and even when lockdown was lifted, social distancing measures and friends and family bubbles remained in place.
Christmas is around the corner, while things may be a bit different, it doesn’t mean that people can’t enjoy the celebrations.
The festive period is known to be the most expensive time of the year, with all the Christmas presents, food, Boxing Day shopping and New Year around the corner.
So, here’s some tips for cutting the cost of your Christmas dinner this year.
Don’t buy more than you need
While it sounds boring, but making a budget and sticking to it will help you keep costs low.
Make a list of all the things that you need, everything till the last detail should be on this list, then have a look around, compare prices and decide your options.
We can go overboard during the festive period as people are in a giving spirit, but remember that buying too much doesn’t only mean a waste of your money but it also means you will likely waste the food if you can’t finish the leftovers.
Don’t buy a bird twice the size of what you need. Remember there is a lot of food already on the table and once people work through all the starters and side dishes and veggies, they will not have much space for the main and dessert.
Shop around and compare prices at different stores
To get the most bang out your buck, have a look around all the stores you normally shop at, but don’t be afraid to consider alternative stores, such as budget retailers like Aldi and Lidl.
Another tip is to avoid buying branded food only, most grocery stores have their own brand ranges, which are much cheaper and have similar quality. Everything from vegetables to the cooking oil and condiments.
Buying house brands will not only save you cash, but it means you can use that extra money to splash out on a centre piece like Turkey, dessert, drinks or even add it to your present budget.
Stay away from prepackaged vegetables and ready made dinners as these tend to be overpriced.
Instead, have a look around in your local stores and market stalls as they tend to have much cheaper deals and better quality as they are fresh.
Swap the posh starters for something more pocket friendly
While you may want to impress with a swanky lobster starter or smoked salmon, try something equally as classy like salmon pate with some grilled sourdough or calamari.
You can also kick off your dinner with a vegetable starter like cauliflower cheese soup with hazelnuts and crispy sage.
Alternatively you can skip the starter completely and dive straight into the main menu.
Make your own gravy and dessert
Doing anything DIY is bound to save you money, whether its home make-overs to making your own sauces.
For gravy, try to make it as soon as you are done roasting the turkey, you can move the bird to a board and use the roasting pan.
Put the roasting pan with all of its spices and fatty juices from the meat on the hob, stir in some flour to thicken it up and cook on medium heat for about a minute.
Afterwards add in about a pint of stock until you have a smooth gravy, bring it to a boil for 10 minutes and you’re done.
Ditch the ready made Christmas pudding, fruitcakes or whatever you plan to have for dessert. Consider buying the ingredients and making your own version — you can even make it fun and involve the family and friends.
Ditch the expensive decorations
While this is not about cutting costs in the food department, we all know that Christmas is nothing without the decorations. From the table cloth to the cutlery and the wine glasses.
Consider using the stuff you have already at home, if you are truly missing something that is vital for your Christmas dinner, try looking for it online as you are bound to find a good deal.
Amazon, eBay and even the online websites of high street shops all have discounts around the festive period, alternatively considering borrowing from friends or family members.
When you it comes to storing the left overs or packing to-go bags for guests, consider using recyclable Tupperware.
Try to recycle old decorations or give them a make-over and keep things to a minimum at the table, it will not only save you money but also means you don’t have to clean it all up.
Watch: Challenge to get Christmas turkeys on the table