Undoubtedly, this Christmas was a little bit different for all of us; but what about those who have always had it a little bit different?

In the United Kingdom alone, approximately 10 million turkeys are reared and slaughtered each year for Christmas. The typical size for this bird ranges from 6kg to 7kg and can serve up to 15 people with plenty still left over for turkey pies, pasta bakes and other makeshift recipes! This tradition dates back to as far as the 16th century and is still very common today.

Despite the prominence of meat at Christmas, not all Britons engage in this tradition. Around 8 million people in the UK classify as non-meat eaters: being either vegetarian or vegan. This large population still may have purchased turkeys this Christmas for their meat-eating family members but likely have not taken part in the consumption themselves.

Christmas tables may not have been as crowded as usual this year due to current COVID-19 restrictions, so there may not have been a need for the Yorkshire’s or parsnips but the traditional turkey most likely made an appearance. However, what about those who didn’t see a turkey for dietary reasons rather than due to restrictions?

I spoke to Olivia Rose - a 14 year old student who has been voluntarily vegetarian for 21 months – about her celebration of Christmas as a vegetarian;

‘The typical Christmas dinner tends to consist of foods such as turkey, pigs in blankets and other roasted poultry alongside assorted vegetables. Since you don’t eat the meat options, what alternatives do you eat?’

“For Christmas dinner I had potatoes, vegetables and my meat alternative which is Quorn pieces.”

‘If you family and friends are/are not also vegetarians, how does you feel seeing them eat/not eat these Christmas staples?’

“I am the only person in my family who doesn’t eat meat, I try to ignore the meat as it doesn’t really bother me what other people eat.”


‘Approximately 10 million turkeys are eaten across the UK at Christmas, what do you feel about this statistic as you don’t contribute to this large number of consumers?’

“I think it’s horrible how many are eaten but everyone has their preferences and we have to respect that.”


As vegan and vegetarian societies continue to grow, it is likely to see a decrease in the levels of meat consumption at widespread festive periods such as Christmas. With this potential decrease it is likely to see a wider range of alternatives and ideas for meat-free Christmas’s.