The se­cret to a stress-free Christmas

Huddersfield Daily Examiner - - FRONT PAGE -

IT MAY be the most won­der­ful time of the year, but let’s face it: Christmas brings a lot of stress.

Be­tween buy­ing presents and en­ter­tain­ing vis­it­ing fam­ily, things can get hec­tic. At no point is it worse than when it comes to pre­par­ing the tra­di­tional din­ner for all the fam­ily.

The prepa­ra­tions have to be­gin way in ad­vance with the need to source a prize turkey, as well as all of the veg­eta­bles and other ac­com­pa­ni­ments that go with the fes­tive feast.

When you con­sider how much time and ef­fort has to go into Christmas din­ner, it’s per­haps no sur­prise that re­search sug­gests more and more of us are choos­ing to dine out on De­cem­ber 25, en­joy­ing a far more re­lax­ing meal pro­duced for us. Sur­veys con­ducted by on­line meal-book­ing agency OpenTable, Christmas Day res­tau­rant reser­va­tions have seen dra­matic in­creases in re­cent years.

With the huge num­ber of high qual­ity restau­rants avail­able lo­cally, it should come as no sur­prise that so many peo­ple are be­ing put off cook­ing at home, es­pe­cially with the huge amount of pres­sure to make sure ev­ery­thing goes off with­out a hitch.

It is much eas­ier for an es­tab­lished res­tau­rant to cater for spe­cial­ist food re­quire­ments, such as those fol­low­ing veg­e­tar­ian, ve­gan, gluten­free or dairy-free di­ets, so this may well be an­other rea­son why din­ing out is be­com­ing so pop­u­lar.

And with prices ris­ing at su­per­mar­kets up and down the coun­try, many are re­al­is­ing it may even be cheaper to head out to your favourite eatery.

The sur­vey also hints at an­other rea­son be­hind this sharp rise in reser­va­tions – the de­sire for a non­tra­di­tional Christmas din­ner.

Only a quar­ter of those polled are ex­pected to opt for the roast with all the trim­mings, with the rest choos­ing from a wide range of al­ter­na­tives such as In­dian or South Asian (15 per cent), Ital­ian (11 per cent) and French cui­sine (11 per cent).

An­other ex­pla­na­tion for our in­creas­ing de­sire to es­chew the home-cooked Christmas din­ner in favour of a trip to a lo­cal res­tau­rant is how com­mon the habit of eat­ing out reg­u­larly has be­come.

A re­cent UK-wide study found that Brits eat out on av­er­age 1.5 times per week – and a lot of the time, don’t even re­quire com­pany to do so!

Not so long ago, the thought of din­ing alone would be an in­cred­i­bly daunt­ing prospect, with most peo­ple pre­fer­ring a mi­crowave meal for one to head­ing out on their own.

How­ever, it ap­pears the stigma sur­round­ing solo reser­va­tions may well be lift­ing, with more than 87 per cent of the sur­vey re­veal­ing they would have no prob­lem with or­der­ing a meal out on their lone­some.

With the ma­jor­ity of peo­ple lead­ing hec­tic life­styles dom­i­nated by fast-paced ca­reers, so­cial­is­ing and dat­ing, 42 per cent of Brits would be happy to eat alone to en­joy some qual­ity time to them­selves.

So what­ever the size of your party, this year avoid the Christmas stress and take the fam­ily out for a de­li­cious meal.

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