Christmas is all about traditions.  The tree, the stocking, the sherry and mince pies left out for Santa on Christmas Eve.  And, of course, there’s the food - roast turkey, Brussels sprouts (whether you like them or not!), Christmas pudding and of course, the beloved Stilton.  

Even the order in which we open Christmas presents is steeped in tradition – some families open presents the moment they wake up.  Others wait until after the festive lunch.  I’ve even heard of some families who open one present on Christmas Eve and leave the rest for the next day.

While these traditions are well-loved and an ingrained part of family life, it’s sometimes good to shake things up a little.  We’re not suggesting that you go all-out different, but that you perhaps alter one element to see how your friends and family respond? 

If you’re not a big fan of turkey, perhaps your main meal is a good place to start.  We did a bit of research and found these alternatives to Christmas turkey which you may like to try.

Simply choose a different meat to roast

The easiest alternative to Christmas turkey is simply another good cut of meat to roast.  Visit your local butcher and ask their advice about the best roast for the number of guests you are cooking for.  Pork, beef and lamb are obvious choices, or perhaps ring the changes with a goose. 

Try fish instead

Baked cod makes a light alternative to Christmas turkey, or try a delicious whole salmon.  These can make a beautiful centrepiece to your festive table.

Ham for lunch

A ham doesn’t need to be left until tea-time (when all too often we’re still too full from lunch to properly enjoy it).  If you’re turning old traditions on their heads, bake your ham for lunch instead.  Try this spiced quince ham recipe from Red magazine, it looks utterly mouth-watering!

Go vegetarian

A vegetarian Christmas lunch doesn’t necessarily mean nut roast (though the Mary Berry nut roast recipe is rather special). This Chestnut, Spinach and Blue Cheese en Croute recipe from BBC Good Food looks spectacular and will whet the appetite of even the most ardent meat-lover.

Stick with turkey, but jazz it up

A turkey will feed a lot of people, so it’s a practical roast to make.  If you’re going to stick with Christmas turkey after all, why not jazz it up?  You could create this tasty gorgeous creamy gravy and cranberry sauce or place citrus fruits under the skin using this recipe from the British Turkey website.

Happy cooking!