I read in the paper today that the average UK family spends £16.84 per head on Christmas dinner. £16.84? That seems a lot to me for a meal that is mainly vegetables. For our family of three that would equate to nearly fifty pounds – that’s a lot of food even for me to eat, and given B’s sparrow like appetite and my teen’s propensity to only eat Sainsbury’s Basics 9p a packet super noodles, I could quite easily see me having to eat about £47 of that on my own.
This Christmas Day we are going to be breaking with tradition for the first time ever, well the first time in my lifetime at least. Every Christmas until now has been spent with my mother, and until a couple of years ago my sister too, plus various other family members, depending on whether we are talking pre or post parental divorce.
This year however, my mother and her partner are going to Ireland with my sister, who has recently had her first baby, to stay with my sister’s in-laws. Clearly torn between her two daughters, she spent some time trying to convince me to make the trip too, but apart from wanting nothing more than to stay home with my tree and the supplies from Hotel Chocolat, I don’t want to take the girls away from their fathers at Christmas. They may end up not seeing them much, but I want to give them the option. My mother and sister aren’t so sympathetic, particularly when it comes to B’s dad, but regardless of how I feel about him I don’t want to be the woman who stops him seeing his daughter at Christmas. Perhaps when she is older, and we have been separated for longer, but not yet.
And so I turn back to the all important question of dinner. B suggests we get pizza delivered, but this doesn’t feel terribly festive to me. The teen – I’m going to call her A – inevitably puts the case for super noodles. I’m undecided. On the one hand it seems somehow wrong to not even attempt to cook a traditional pigs in blankets style dinner, and I do LOVE sprouts, but on the other hand, what is the point if no one is really interested? B will eat the pigs and push away the rest and everyone knows that by the time you’ve cooked Christmas dinner the last thing you actually want to do is eat any of it.
We discuss the options and decide we can do without turkey and all the trimmings this year. If we are going to be on our own for the first time, we really don’t need to worry about tradition. We are unlikely to be spending Christmas day alone again in the near future, so we should probably make the most of it and indulge ourselves… Super noodles anyone?