Is Christmas dinner still Christmas dinner if you’re eating out on Christmas Day?
I don’t know about your family, but round these parts Christmas tends to be planned out by mid-October. That’s been the case since 2007, when we moved back North to be nearer to family.
But year, my little clan (me, Flea, and her Dad) will be heading to a local restaurant for Christmas lunch, followed by a long walk on the beach.
It’s the first time in 14 years that we haven’t done Christmas lunch at (someone’s) home – but we’re not alone.
According to a recent survey, the number of families eating out on Christmas Day has risen by 240% over the past five years, and 10% in the last year along. This year, it looks like one in ten of us will be eating out.
So why are we eating out at Christmas for the first time this year?
Reason 1: 2019 Sucks
I am confident that I am not the only person who has found this year really, really, REALLY tough. The slow-motion car crash that is Brexit feels like it’s never going to end. And on top of that, I’ve had to deal with moving house and getting a mortgage, which was ridiculously painful and problematic.
Oh, and I work on the Internet. People are mean, on the Internet.
So yeah. I would love to end the year somewhere that other people will be nice to me, and take care of me, and bring me cake.
Reason 2: Family Christmases can be a LOT
While it’s lovely to spend the day with family, there are some downsides. It means Flea never really gets to enjoy a lazy Christmas Day at home. If we visit my brother, he has cats, and this means poor Teddy gets left at home all day.
As mentioned, it’s been a tough year. And nobody supports you through a tough year like your family. But I suspect I’m not the only person with a family that doesn’t mind telling you when your ridiculous problems are your own fault.
I’m feeling a bit fragile. On balance, I feel like I could skip being the only unmarried person at the table this Christmas. See also: the only person without a steady job. Also: the only person who seems to struggle parenting a teenager.
Reason 3: Enjoying our Home
When we first viewed the show home that led to us buying this house, it was just before Christmas. Ever since then, Flea and I have been planning how we’ll decorate for the festive season.
I am excited to deck the hall(s) and bring out all our decorations, and a big tree, and all that sort of stuff. It’ll just be nice to be here, and enjoy our own new build home, basically. Also, this is the first Christmas in over 25 years that I’ve not been in a draughty period house that I can’t keep warm.
Reason 4: I Can’t Cook
I could enjoy our new house all day, and we could both lounge in our pyjamas, but we’d struggle for food. Because I can’t cook. This means that eating out on Christmas Day is a necessity if we want to eat good food.
We’ve looked at a few options but booked a local restaurant that Flea loves, and which offers an alternative to a roast dinner if that’s not your thing. So Flea gets to enjoy a fresh steak, I get to enjoy turkey and posh trimmings, and we both get to enjoy tiramisu for pudding.
Reason 5: It’s the 1st Time We’ll be Eating Out on Christmas Day
I guess overall, though, I just wanted to try something different. It might be that we LOVE eating out on Christmas Day and I want to do it every year. Or it might be that we feel it’s too loud or too quiet or something completely different.
I know that Christmas dinner is an event in itself for lots of families, and eating out means no second helpings of turkey, no crackers, no stupid Dad jokes, and no relatives falling asleep in front of the telly after drinking just a bit too much… but I do sort of want to try it, just once.
Stuff the Opinions (not the turkey)
People may be surprised if you’re eating out on Christmas Day. After all, many of us spend Christmas Day at (someone’s) home. But just because it’s unusual, or your family has always done Christmas in one way, doesn’t mean you can’t try something different. Lives change, situations change and what you need from this year to next might change, too.
Just enjoy Christmas your way. If that involves going to your Mum’s house for dinner for 30 and a massive box of Quality Street, then fantastic! If you want to go somewhere hot and have a barbecue, more power to you. And if you want to swank it up and eat at a nice restaurant, my friend, that is entirely your right.
Anyone who has an issue with any of this has forgotten the true meaning of Christmas. It’s about spending time with people you love (not necessarily ALL the people you love) and giving thanks for the season. Oh, and remember this is also a season all about peace and goodwill, and what’s more peaceful than never having to decide who does the dishes?
I’d love to know if you’ve ever tried eating out on Christmas Day, and how you found it?