On the First Day of Christmas…

2 Dec
I know, I know…it’s crazy early to be writing about Christmas. But it is Advent, and we’re now into December…and my childminder put her tree up today so my toddler thinks it’s getting festive…and..well…I just love Christmas! I love getting together with family and friends, celebrating and feasting together, and generally brightening up the gloom of mid-winter. What’s not to love?
Well, quite a lot really. I don’t love all the consumerism and stress associated with it. I don’t love all the angst and waste and general greediness as people try to celebrate the “perfect” Christmas (whatever that is!). And I definitely don’t love the idea of my son growing up with the idea that Christmas is all about consuming and spending and taking. So I thought I’d do a series of posts over the next few weeks on how to have a low-impact Christmas (ahem, set to the tune of The 12 Days of Christmas). With a tiny bit of thought and effort, it’s easy to green your Christmas (and green is a festive colour after all!).
So, on the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me..a partridge in a pear tree. Actually no, it was a turkey in a pear tree instead.
Turkeys are synonymous with Christmas. Ever since Mr Scrooge treated Bob Cratchit to one, we’ve been enjoying turkey on Christmas day. 10 million turkeys are eaten every Christmas and the vast majority are reared in pretty dire battery conditions. So the first thing you can do to green your Christmas is to try to only buy a turkey reared in humane, free-range conditions. Turkeys are sociable birds and need space to flock together properly.
Ideally, the turkey should be from a local supplier (to keep food miles down) and be organic too. You can buy turkeys from local farmers through your butcher or even from the farm directly. Free-range and organic turkeys are also available in most supermarkets. Though, realistically, when you’re feeding the hordes, cost can be an issue. So just buy whatever best suits your budget and your conscience.
Of course you don’t have to have turkey. You could serve goose, which was traditionally served long before turkey became ubiquitous (“Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat”). Or something like venison. Where I’m from, the ham and spiced beef are as important as the turkey so we have had turkey-free dinners in the past.
You could even do the greenest thing and have a meat-free Christmas (any vegetarians or vegans reading will be thinking, er, that’s not so radical…). In our household we try to keep the amount of meat we eat low, and organic/free-range/local where possible. So at Christmas I don’t feel so bad about sitting down to a Christmas dinner of turkey, ham and spiced beef.
Little known turkey fact: Did you know that male turkeys are called stags? They’re called toms in the US but stags in Europe. Turkey chicks are called poults. I  know this seems like useless info but you never know, it could pop up as a pub quiz question some day!

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