It is a given that on Christmas Day, dinner tables across the nation will be lined with turkey platters, all the trimmings and Christmas crackers.
While some households will depart from tradition to gobble down some roast ham, goose or lamb, at least 76 per cent of British homes will stick true to the nation’s favourite Christmas dinner.
It is estimated that around 10 million of the succulent birds were consumed last year, according to British Turkey. And this year shows no signs of stopping.
But the giant cousin of the humble chicken is not a native resident of the British isles, which begs the question, when did we start eating turkey for Christmas?
Why do we eat turkey at Christmas?
King Henry VIII is believed to be the first king of England to feast on the bird, but Britons have Yorkshireman William Strickland to thank for the bird.
Turkeys were first introduced to England nearly 500 years ago, having been brought over the Atlantic from the New World in 1526 by Mr Strickland.
Prior to the American bird’s arrival, Christmas staples included feasts of geese, wild boar, cattle and even the odd peacock.
King Henry VIII may have been the first King to adopt the turkey, but Britons can thank King Edward VII for turning it into a festive mainstay.
Even the Queen herself is a noted connoisseur of the Christmas dish, according to former royal chef Darren McGrady, who served the British Royal Family for many years.
“It was the same meal every year,” he said. “They’re actually boring when it comes to festivities! They didn’t do hams or anything, just traditional turkeys.
“We did three turkeys for the Queen and her family in the royal dining room, one for the children’s nursery and then more for the 100 or so staff, so everyone had a Christmas lunch.”
And yet turkeys only began to feature on dinner tables up and down the country in the past 60 years or so.
A combination of poor refrigeration and costly price tags meant that not every family got to enjoy the bird.
In fact, up until the 1950s, feeding your loved ones a turkey for Christmas was still seen as something of a luxury.
In 1930 it took about a week’s worth of wages for the average family to buy one bird, according to British Turkey.
Thankfully today, low prices and widely available refrigerators mean that everyone can enjoy a turkey breast or leg with a side of gravy and vegetables.