Why Do We Eat Turkey on Christmas Day?

Written by: Luke Ward
Reading time: 1 min
Last updated: July 23, 2021

87% of British people believe that Christmas would not be the same without a traditional roast turkey.

Why We Eat Turkey on Christmas Day

Christmas is full of old traditions, like eating turkey on Christmas day, sending out Christmas cards, hanging tinsel around the house.

But why do we eat turkey on Christmas Day and how did it originate?

Here are the facts and history of exactly why we eat this delicious bird on Christmas!

Where This Tradition Started

Where This Tradition Started

Turkeys were first bought into Britain in 1526, before this time, for Christmas meals people used to eat geese, boars’ head and even peacocks.

Turkeys were eaten instead of cows and chickens because the farmers needed their cows more for their milk, and needed their chickens for the eggs, which back then were more expensive than they are today.

So instead of killing off one of their livestock for Christmas, they’d have a turkey as it was something different and they could save their livestock to produce more milk and eggs.

King Henry VIII was the first person to eat a turkey on Christmas Day, however it wasn’t until the 1950’s that the turkey was a more popular Christmas meal choice than the goose.

The good thing about Christmas Day and turkeys is that Christmas is a family time, and turkeys are family size!

87% of British people believe that Christmas would not be the same without a traditional roast turkey.

Christmas Turkey Facts

Christmas Turkey Facts

Today in the UK, we eat around 10 million turkeys every year for Christmas time.

25% of British people buy their turkeys months in advance.

A survey shows that the top three most popular ways to serve leftover Christmas turkey are: sandwiches, soups/stews or salads.

20% of British people admit to paying more for their turkeys for ‘extra quality’.

Leave A Comment


  1. Simon December 11, 2020

    And because we are cutting down vasts amount of rain forests for vegans the plant will suffer the most…!!!

  2. Lourence November 22, 2020

    i really hope soon people will stop eating turkeys, we have so many delicious plant based based main meal that we can cook !!

    1. Debbie November 26, 2020

      I feel so sorry for all those live plants we eat. They are people too!

  3. Emma November 11, 2020

    this is really helpful when I am learning new things