Here are the top 50 Christmas Day disasters to avoid this year

Here are the top 50 Christmas Day disasters to avoid this year
The Central Part of Christmas: Food

A study has revealed the top 50 most common Christmas disasters including cooking and running out of wrapping paper.

A study of 2,000 adults who celebrate the festive season found many of the things that go wrong are centred around food, with soggy vegetables at the top of the list, and undercooked greens in third place.

Other top mistakes made on December 25th were burnt turkey, forgetting to defrost a dessert and presents going missing or not arriving on time.

But looking back those who have made errors now feel nostalgic (21 per cent) and entertained (20 per cent), with 28 per cent claiming many of their fond festive memories are food based.

A spokesperson for bakery brand, St Pierre, which commissioned the research, said: “It’s safe to say the majority of us have experienced some sort of unplanned mishap at Christmas.

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“A lot of the list of disasters are food focused because it’s is such an important part of the occasion and it’s something everyone wants to get right to impress others.

“That said, it’s always useful to have something in the cupboard as back-up and there are clever ways to cheat your way to a ‘magnifique’ Christmas spread.

“No matter how bad it might feel messing up on Christmas Day, those who have experienced such a thing agree that it’s all part of making memories.”

The study also found people have typically hosted seven Christmases, experiencing two disasters each time, but 45 per cent are confident they’ve made fewer mistakes over the years.

More than a quarter (29 per cent) admitted such catastrophes create amusing stories to re-tell years later and hearing about other people’s mishaps makes 19 per cent feel
better about their own.

For 58 per cent, food is a central part of Christmas and 22 per cent have had a ‘practice run’ before hosting – with 42 per cent of them admitting the trial was better than the
real deal.

Keeping track of the time (35 per cent), chatting to others (29 per cent) and music being on (15 per cent) are among the scenarios which impact the success – or lack of – of festive dinner.

In order to avoid mishaps with Christmas dinner, 53 per cent write a to-do list and 51 per cent prep some elements the night before.

It also found nine in 10 of those polled, via OnePoll, believe food is an important aspect of Christmas and 21 per cent even have ‘back-up’ ready-to-eat items in case something goes wrong.

But assuming it all goes to plan, leftovers are typically enjoyed in a sandwich (53 per cent), bubble and squeak (29 per cent) or even given to pets (17 per cent).

It also emerged while 38 per cent think mishaps are simply part of the big day, 59 per cent prefer to stick to what they know to avoid mistakes.

Especially as the errors leave people feeling annoyed (28 per cent) and embarrassed (17 per cent).

Some of the most memorable Christmas disaster scenes from films and TV shows also feature food, including the Vicar of Dibley eating three festive dinners (41 per cent) and Mr Bean with a turkey on his head (35 per cent).

The forgotten puddings in Gavin and Stacey’s 2019 festive special (15 per cent) was also popular and relatable to seven per cent who have done the same.

St Pierre’s spokesperson added: “The festive season is about making memories with friends, family and unforgettable food.

“Good food is more than just a meal on your plate, it’s a get-together, it’s sharing, it’s family - and this is never more true than at Christmas.”

For festive recipes, inspiration and rescue plans visit


1. Soggy vegetables
2. Undercooked roast potatoes
3. Hard, under-cooked vegetables
4. Lumpy gravy
5. Burnt Yorkshire puddings
6. Running out of wrapping paper
7. Burnt stuffing
8. Presents ordered online not arriving on time
9. Food being served cold
10. Forgetting gravy when serving up
11. Burnt turkey
12. Christmas tree falling over
13. Not putting name tags on gifts and forgetting who it is for
14. Watery gravy
15. Forgetting to put food in the oven at the right time
16. Not having enough chairs to sit all guests
17. Christmas lights blowing a fuse
18. Having to cook when hungover
19. Forgetting to defrost a dessert
20. Waking up late, meaning dinner will be late
21. Forgetting Christmas pudding
22. Undercooked meat
23. Presents going missing
24. Oven breaking
25. Giving someone a gift intended for someone else
26. Forgetting to supply vegetarian/vegan alternatives for guests
27. Writing the wrong person’s name on a card
28. Power cut
29. Leaving presents at home when visiting someone else on Christmas Day
30. Breaking a Christmas present immediately after opening it
31. Arguments over politics at the dinner table
32. Forgetting to turn the oven on
33. Fridge/freezer breaking so all food is ruined
34. Not having enough plates to serve dinner to all guests
35. Pet cat climbing and getting stuck up the tree
36. Microwave breaking
37. Kid’s seeing me wrapping presents intended to be from Santa
38. Finding gone off bread when making a Boxing Day sandwich
39. Caught cheating at a board game
40. Not buying enough food for guests
41. Forgetting to defrost the turkey
42. Not having enough cutlery for all guests
43. Someone choking on the coin in the middle of a Christmas pudding
44. Dog eating someone’s Christmas dinner
45. Presents being stolen
46. Breaking down in the car en-route to a relative’s
47. Table centrepiece catching on fire
48. Christmas pudding catching on fire
49. The oven setting on fire
50. Dry sprouts

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