Roasted ham has, more or less, been with us since Day Dot as far as Christmas is concerned. It was embraced from previous celebratory traditions, such as Yuletide and the winter solstice, where the wild boar was considered a pagan sacrifice and would be served whole with an apple in its mouth on a silver tray.
It wasn’t until the 1950s where sweetness and spice were added, with ingredients such as cloves, dried cherries and honey being glazed over it.
It then became common to serve cold, especially in the southern hemisphere. Turkey comes in much later – around the 16th to 17th century – being popular with English royalty as a Christmas feast replacing the peacock (thank goodness for that!) and the goose in Germanic regions.
It was also in the 1950s that the turkey became affordable for all classes, hence its rising popularity as a Christmas Day feast.
The mince pie is another English Christmas tradition originating in the 17th century, when they were stuffed with lamb or another meat, unlike today’s with fruit, sugar and spices.
Fruitcake is yet another German Christmas tradition although their version, known as stollen and still eaten to this day, is a bread with dried fruit and coated with different varieties of sugar.