Christmas Day traditions are unique to every family (even if you don’t realise they are) and none more so than the food you serve up every year. And it doesn’t start with dinner.
Everyone thinks the only way to do breakfast on 25 December is the way they’ve always done it, whether that’s a full English, smoked salmon or just a handful of Quality Street. So we asked Britain what they’ll be eating come Christmas morning and the answers are as varied as they are surprising.
Smoked Salmon And Eggs
By far the most popular breakfast involves some form of smoked salmon. One person said: “We got fully into smoked salmon about four years ago and never looked back. Bagels and usually a glug of Prosecco.”
Another answered: “Scrambled eggs and salmon on toast and Bucks Fizz. I think it has to be sourdough bread for Christmas really – super fancy!”
Most respondents generally agreed you need fish, some carbs and some fizz for the perfect breakfast, but one family doesn’t bother with the fancy sides. “We have a bottle of Baileys and an entire pack of smoked salmon,” they told us.
Another woman told us she has ham and eggs, as that’s what her mum always had for breakfast growing up. “Everyone has their eggs differently, which can be a bit hectic around the hob – scrambled for me, boiled for my parents, fried for my brother.”
A Full English
Despite lots of us going for fancier options, there are many out there who go big and opt for a full English (brave if you ask us, given the amount of food to you’re going to eat at lunchtime). Who are these maniacs?
“We have a (smallish) full English breakfast, my mum’s fry up is amazing,” one said. “Anyone who eats anything else is just posh.” Pressed for what small means in practice, she added: “Chipolatas.”
Others have mini versions of a fried breakfast, aka bacon or sausage sarnies.
“My dad (who never, ever cooks) makes bacon sandwiches and ends up getting more praise than my mum, who makes a whole turkey dinner for 10 people for lunch (and Bucks Fizz, obvs).” And another said: “We have bacon sandwiches with the absolutely banging bacon that’s been cooked on top of the turkey. I don’t really understand how or why but it’s amazing.”
Some wise men and women plan their breakfast more strategically so that they can get more hours in bed (or not starve waiting for lunch). “We have chocolate brioche and coffee when we first get up – to sneakily get more precious mins in bed while kids open stockings – then Bucks Fizz and smoked salmon scrambled eggs on toasted muffins for brunch after mass present opening,” said one parent. Wow, we’re impressed.
Others have a two-course breakfast. “We always end up having Christmas dinner like 3pm no matter how early we plan it for so breakfast is a two-course affair – smoke salmon and then pain au chocolat.”
Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate
The best (and, we think, the most honest) answers were those that involved chocolate. If you can’t have a chocolate for breakfast at Christmas, when can you?
One person admitted: “Our family tradition is to share a packet of chocolate fingers with a cup of tea. No idea how it started, but I’d highly recommend it – you’re not too full for dinner!”
Another added: “A whole Terry’s chocolate orange. It’s a family tradition. First time round it’s quite a challenge to see the whole thing off but it really does set you up for the day. My mum thinks it’s quite grotesque.”
Why not double down and make that a chocolate orange Viennetta?
Some people were a little healthier on Christmas Day (who are these people?) and said they’ll be integrating fruit into their breakfast – one had brioche with fresh melon and of course the obligatory glass of Bucks Fizz, while another had strawberries and croissants.
Pâté On Toast
Pâté shouldn’t just be reserved for starters or afternoon snacks according to one person we spoke to. “We’re having pâté on toast for breakfast,” she said. “I’m giving a Jamie Oliver recipe my best shot... although might have to top it up with something else for Boxing Day as I’m catering for 15 people.”
... And The Unconventional But Sentimental
Lots of people we spoke to have family traditions behind their breakfast that seem a little unconventional at first glance, but make sense with the back story.
“We all have a big slice of posh pork pie with Colman’s mustard and pickled walnuts, in honour of my lovely dad-in-law who passed away a few years ago,” said one. “A slice of Christmas cake, a slice of cheese, a slice of pork pie and Prosecco,” said another. “It’s almost Bavarian. It’s essentially a compromise position for my mother’s love of pork pie, my dad’s love of cheese and my inability to resist a Christmas cake I’d been ‘ageing’ for months.”
Finally, huge props to the person who told us they’ll be serving up a genuine Scandinavian-style smørrebrød.“There’ll be at least two types of cracker bread, two types of bread (one spiced, one normal), red peppers, cucumber, two different cheeses (one creamy like Gouda, one bitter like Prastost) and boiled eggs,” she said. “All on one massive table.”