A Smaller Christmas

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Just as special.

The prospect of a smaller Christmas – only being allowed to cater for a small number, if Coronavirus restrictions aren't lifted in time for the festive period – might sound less than perfect.

If you’re a generous host who wants the freedom of laying on a medieval-scale banquet for extended family, friends and half the street if you so choose, then a limited number of people smacks of a miserly, Scrooge-like imposition. Bah humbug!

But with 2020 turning out to be a year like no other..., maybe now is the time to fully embrace a more intimate Christmas Day and Boxing Day – a case of quality over quantity in every respect.

And at the East of England Co-op, we want to help you to see the positives, think of some alternatives and celebrate this special time of year in a scaled-down (if need be), but no less special way.

Let’s talk turkey

So, let’s start by apologising to the traditionalists and putting the cat among the pigeons – or turkeys.

Instead of a full-blown turkey for your Christmas lunch, why not consider just having a crown or something completely different; an alternative showstopper to the usual for the family to gobble up?

Who could resist mouth-watering roast sirloin of beef, or a juicy gammon joint as the main centrepiece of the table?

With fewer mouths to feed, these are great choices and just as tasty – some would argue more so – without necessarily having to pay a king’s ransom for the pleasure of being able to feed the entire neighbourhood.

Plus, think of all that freed-up space in your fridge and not having to live on turkey sandwiches for a whole month just to feel that you’ve got your money’s worth.

Cooking with love

With fewer people to impress, you may feel less inclined to take shortcuts and instead and instead want to go the whole hog...

Peeling veg suddenly becomes more appealing when there ain’t no snow-capped mountains high enough.

Ask anyone if they’d like to ditch the climbing gear and pass on parsnip ‘Pyrenees’ or skip on Himalayan-scale sprouts and carrots that can fill canyons and they’ll probably bite your oven-mitted hand off.

Veggie hell suddenly becomes a greens nirvana and you’re far more likely to apply some TLC when the thought of prepping doesn’t fill you with absolute dread. Think honey-glazed parsnips and pancetta-wrapped sprouts.

Pop into your local East of England Co-op store to pick up a great range of fresh produce for a love-infused Christmas meal.

Don’t sweat the small stuff

On the other hand, if all you want for Christmas is to spend as little time as possible stressing out and slaving away in the kitchen – and, let’s be honest, with fewer people grilling you about your cooking methods – maybe this is the year to take every shortcut possible.

Roll on the frozen, home-style roast potatoes, pre-chopped veg and ready-to-go gravy granules – plus tasty party nibbles for six that can be popped straight into the oven.

From Co-op Halloumi Bites to gluten-free Tempura Prawns, Mozzarella Sticks, Chilli Cheese Bites, Vegetarian or Duck Spring Rolls, Breaded Goujons and Cauliflower Popcorn Sweet Chilli Dip.

There’s something for everyone – and available in packs of 10 or 12, there’s plenty for your party of six to indulge more than once.

We mustn’t forget those must-have condiments, often an after-thought until everyone’s seated at the Christmas table.

Whether you are six or 16, there will always be one who prefers plum sauce to cranberry with turkey, mustard over horseradish for beef to spice things up, or gets all in a pickle if you wheel out apple sauce for the gammon.

Pop into your local East of England Co-op and, at selected East of England Co-op stores, you can support your Sourced Locally suppliers, giving you more choice about local provenance.

For the icing on the cake – or brandy butter on the Christmas pudding – just relax, enjoy and make special memories with your loved ones.