'Succulent roast ostrich is served': Christmas dinner with Jacob Rees-Mogg

YULETIDE greetings! There are many wholesomely Christian traditions to which we Rees-Moggs subscribe. If you too want a decent, honest, British Christmas, take heed. 

Vintage aperitifs

Before settling down for your meal, it is important to awaken the palette with an aperitif. Why not browse your wine cellar for a vintage bubbly, perhaps one of your ‘77 Dom Perignons? Keep the cheap £150 plonk for guests.

The bird

The centrepiece of your meal. Ostrich is a delicious bird, and far superior to most festive fowl. If for some reason you do not have a dear friend able to source exotic game from the colonies, then content yourself with something more pedestrian. Pheasant, or peacock perhaps.

Side dishes

Any Christmas meal relies on its sides. Like Wales, Scotland and the other one, they are the less important items which help complete the union. I favour boned capon in aspic – a castrated rooster carved and set in gelatin. Positively scrumptious and very popular in the Victorian era, which I firmly believe we are still living in. 

Don’t neglect your staff

Christmas is a time of cheer, so your servants should be allowed to let their hair down. Metaphorically, of course, as they must at all times sport the short back and sides stipulated in their contracts. So I’m happy to give them an extra 15 minutes for their lunch hour – Christmas comes but once a year, after all!


While the anarchic Mary Berry and Prue Leith have started a regrettable trend for modern cakes, we prefer to stay traditional. A simple Queen Victoria sponge is the perfect dessert to round off a festive feast, before settling down for a good imperial Christmas film like Lawrence of Arabia.

Parlour games

After the meal it’s time for parlour games. I shall never forget the joy we all felt last year when young Sixtus successfully guessed The Confessions of St. Augustine during charades. Marvellous fun and a cracking good read, especially in the original Latin.

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Your guide to having a slightly rubbish 1980s Christmas

NOSTALGIC for the Christmas of your childhood? Here’s how to recreate limited entertainment options and other disappointments of the era.

Restrict yourself to terrestrial channels

Have you got zero interest in watching Graham Norton doing a sucky interview with Tom Cruise? Stick to the main four channels and only flick over to Jonathan Ross arse-licking Simon Pegg, or something tedious about cathedrals on BBC2, or Channel 4 repeating My Beautiful Launderette. This is exactly how the 80s were.

Do not use any modern convenience food

Christmas is much easier with pre-washed vegetables or fresh gravy you can simply reheat. Ditch these and instead exhaust yourself peeling endless carrots and potatoes. Then serve the turkey with a watery, terrifyingly salty beef Oxo cube, because there aren’t enough juices to make gravy.

Get your kids 1980s toys

Being pestered for a PS5? Get them an old handheld Pac-Man game off eBay. It was so amazing in 1982 you played it until your fingers almost fell off, which may explain those twinges that could soon become arthritis. Or insist they the play The Game of Life, the most boring ‘game’ ever invented.

Do something weirdly un-Christmassy

Several decades ago, ‘Christmas’ activities could include ‘Let’s go for a drive in the car!’ – round some uninteresting local B-roads. Strange bloke behaviour was rampant in the 1980s, so it wasn’t uncommon to visit relatives and discover your uncle had chosen Christmas Day to insulate the loft.

Only watch films made in 1975 or earlier

It used to take ages for new films to be released to TV, so you’d be stuck with old stuff. Instead of fresh fare like Frozen 2, make your kids watch Doctor Dolittle with Rex Harrison, Where Eagles Dare and Holiday on the Buses. If all of the above makes them turn out a bit strange, you’re just handing on the 1980s to a lucky new generation.