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How to make Christmas dinner for £5 a head

Friends and family sitting round a table enjoying Christmas dinner. (Getty Images)
A cheaper Christmas dinner doesn't mean you have to sacrifice taste. (Getty Images)

When it comes to the most important festive traditions, the Christmas dinner is right up there with presents, seeing family and the Queen’s Speech, or rather the King’s Speech this year.

Prices have been climbing and energy bills have been biting with the cost-of-living crisis, meaning a lot of people will be looking for ways to spend less this year.

But you still make a great Christmas dinner for just £5 a head, you just need to be careful – and follow these tips and tricks for saving on food this festive season.

Read more: Should you charge your guests for Christmas dinner? How to handle the festive dilemma

Check out the offers

Supermarkets have definitely noticed that we’re all feeling the pinch, and quite a few are promising Christmas dinner deals that come in at a fiver per person or even less.

Tesco is offering an eight-item Christmas dinner for £25, including frozen roast potatoes, a small frozen turkey crown – which serves five to six – plus pigs in blankets, Yorkshire puddings and more.

Elsewhere, Asda is promising a £22 deal that feeds a family of five, although you need to have the Asda Rewards app in order to get the special price. Even Poundland, which has never been a traditional supermarket, is promising a £25 frozen Christmas dinner, whilst Heron Foods says it can feed a family of four for £15.

These offers can help you work out exactly how much you need to spend to get the basics in but they don’t include mince pies or Christmas pud, so you may find yourself splashing out on essential extras, like dessert staples or stuffing, for example.

It might also be wise to get moving. If you have a big enough freezer, you can buy some items now and avoid finding yourself forced to upgrade to pricier products if they sell out.

Man with shopping list in supermarket looking at items. (Getty Images)
Look out for supermarket offers and get more for your money. (Getty Images)

Embrace the festive frozen section

Perhaps you have more than five people to feed, or you want more flexibility than those Christmas dinner deals. You can still make your own festive feast, and still keep the cost to a fiver a person – and frozen food is the way to go.

Retailers are reporting increased sales of frozen festive food, as bargain hunters search for cheaper options that provide more for less.

Frozen food stays fresh until you need it, so if you find you have more vegetables than you need at Christmas, you can keep it for a Sunday roast in January, and they won't go to waste.

Bear in mind though that this year, farmers have urged people not to stockpile frozen turkeys after reports of a shortage in free-range options due to bird flu led to more customers buying mass-produced poultry.

Read more: When to buy a turkey so you don’t miss out this Christmas

Go big on veg

It’s so easy to be unhealthy at Christmas; drinking too much, eating too many chocolates and devouring mince pies (not that there's anything wrong with that). But Christmas dinner itself can be quite a healthy meal, with lots of different vegetables and a good turkey protein, or equivalent.

So if you need to make your meal go further, then remember that extra carrots, sprouts and parsnips are cheap, healthy and still give a table and loaded plates that festive ‘wow’ factor.

You could also use the nutritious and cheap veg to whip up a soup as a starter, adding to the sense of plenty and making sure your guests are getting even more than their five-a-day!

Roasted Root Vegetables: Carrot, Turnip, Rutabaga, Parsnip, Shallot. (Getty Images)
There's no need to hold back on the Christmas veg. (Getty Images)

Make some savvy switches

Turkey is the traditional Christmas centrepiece, but really, you just want to enjoy a festive-looking table and meal, with a central meat (or veggie or vegan options) for a roast dinner.

So with the price of turkey going up this year due to shortages, you could scoop up a chicken for a fraction of the cost instead.

The same goes for Christmas pudding. There are some excellent, affordable options out there. The Iceland six-month matured Christmas pudding, that serves four and costs £2.25, tastes amazing and it will still feel very Christmassy.

A few savvy switches can save pounds and still let you serve up a cracking Christmas dinner this year.

Read more: Your ultimate Christmas dinner shopping list

The more the merrier – and cheaper

It's very hard to feed just one person a Christmas dinner for a fiver – and even two for a tenner is pretty difficult if you want all the trimmings – but the more people you have around the table, the cheaper it can be per person overall.

If 10 of you come together for Christmas then at £5 a head, that’s £50 to spend on the meal, which gives you a bit more room to manoeuvre and can help you afford some of the more luxury Christmas essentials.

For example, Asda’s large British turkey crown serves 8-10 for £18.50, which you could couple with two packets of its extra special 12 pigs in blankets at £3.50 each, so £7. Two boxes of sage and onion stuffing come in at £1.10, which leaves you £23.40 to spend on mountains of vegetables, potatoes and maybe even a festive tub of chocolates.

If you do host a larger gathering, try to make sure you’re not left footing the entire bill or you won't end up saving any money! Consider a shared table lunch, where you all bring one or two different dishes, or even check out our guide on whether you can charge your guests for Christmas dinner, instead.

Watch: Cheapest supermarket to buy your Christmas dinner: 10 festive foods ranked in price