PEI

Gathering restrictions mean some Islanders will do Christmas dinner differently this year

What's your plan for Christmas dinner? With perhaps a smaller guest list due to COVID-19, will you still be serving a turkey, or will you try something different for this very different Christmas? We asked you, via Facebook.

Turkey is off the table for some because they're planning smaller get-togethers

Will your turkey be smaller this year, or will you opt for a different meal for this very different Christmas? (Julie Van Rosendaal/CBC)

What's your plan for Christmas dinner? With perhaps a smaller guest list due to COVID-19, will you still be serving a turkey, or will you try something different for this very different Christmas?

On Thursday, P.E.I. Premier Dennis King and Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison announced the province will ease the "circuit-breaker" restrictions, allowing households to add up to 10 more visitors though the 10 people should be as consistent as possible. Anyone travelling from out of province must still self-isolate for 14 days. 

But some Islanders traditionally have very large Christmas gatherings for 20, 30, even 40 people. 

We asked you, dear readers, about your plans for Christmas dinner.

Then on Sunday, check back on cbc.ca/pei for a couple of mouth-watering recipes from two well-known Island chefs: John Pritchard of Pure Kitchen Catering and Jamie Power, executive chef at Slaymaker & Nichols in Charlottetown.

CBC News received almost 400 comments and suggestions on this thread. Here's a selection. 

Your suggestions

"We're doing tacos and saving the turkey for when the whole family can be here," commented Jennifer Jones. 

Why not Mexican for Christmas? Jennifer Jones is subbing tacos for turkey this year. (Mario and Miriam Burke)

"No turkey this year," wrote Maureen Paquet of Summerside, who says her family has ordered a large fresh chicken instead. 

"Will be making my famous homemade seafood chowder this Christmas," shared Coleen Sampson of Charlottetown. 

Jamie Singleton said he usually has a Christmas meal at his grandmother's with three dining tables full of guests eating at staggered times — but he is planning a small meal with immediate family only this year.

"Scalloped potatoes and ham! Can't wait!" Singleton commented. 

Junior Peter-Paul said he would be trying something different this year, having roast moose and salmon. 

"We have planned to drop off nibbles to each home while wearing our masks or social distancing. Gramps and Gamma and our other greats' health are a priority," wrote Jena Kyle Dudley. "It also helps to have internet so we can share video calls."

Many people said they hoped to get takeout food rather than cook at all.

"Pizza joints will be open, I hope," wrote Lawrence Hale of Charlottetown.

"We are planning on Chinese food instead," said Cheryl Miller. 

"Since we can't do off-Island for Xmas like we normally do, we're just going to get takeout since [there's] only two of us," said Chris Pearce of Charlottetown.

Turkey or bust

Many of you wrote that it just wouldn't be Christmas without turkey, so turkey it will be.

Leftovers for days is OK with many of you, who said you're looking forward to turkey soup, sandwiches and casseroles. (CBC)

"This is my fiancé's and my first Christmas on the Island and first Christmas away from all of our family. We will still be making our turkey with all the fixings and spending it quietly with our pets and video chatting with family back in Ontario," said Shannon-Sidney Wood. 

Leanne Greene said, "We will be having our usual Christmas dinner, just on a smaller scale this year."

"Looks like it will be turkey sandwiches until February at my house," commented Tim Gillespie.

"We are not changing anything. We just won't have so many for dinner and leftovers are good in soup," wrote Daryl Hale.

"Make the same amount of food and turn the extra into casseroles!" said Mariève MacGregor of Charlottetown. 

Let's call the whole thing off

Some of you are so done with 2020 and disappointed about not having visitors from out-of-province that you've cancelled Christmas. 

Table for one? No thanks! Many of you said if you can't have Christmas your way, then just forget it. (Shutterstock)

"My only family member is my son in Halifax. Since he isn't coming, we will eat nothing and drink to excess. Just get the day over with," commented Catherine Dominey Phillips.

Ashley-Dawn Edwards says she lives in Nova Scotia but typically comes home to P.E.I. to spend Christmas with her parents.  

"Guess I am not doing that, so nothing, because Christmas isn't Christmas this year. I'm just going to curl up in a ball and sleep for the entire day," Edwards said. 

"Me too," commented Judith Burdett. "No big family Boxing Day potluck. Only the second time in 40 years that I haven't been able to go home (and P.E.I. will always be home). I know I'm supposed to be making the best of it, and I will, but it really is just so sad."

No changes here, some say

"I'll be having family dinner as always, no government is going to tell me what I can do in my own home — Merry Christmas," commented  Matt Wadden. 

Anyone travelling from off-Island must self-isolate for 14 days, so many who usually come home to P.E.I. for the holidays will not come this Christmas. (John Robertson/CBC)

"Don't plan to change a thing," wrote Kerry Dawn. "A special time to get together with family. It's not like we are mingling with the public."

Brad Leadley of Summerside said he would never tell on his neighbours if they had more than the recommended 10 guests. 

"Not changing a thing," wrote Devin Mackay. 

More from CBC P.E.I.

About the Author

Sara Fraser

Web Journalist

Sara is a P.E.I. native who graduated from the University of King's College in Halifax. N.S., with a bachelor of journalism (honours) degree. She's worked with CBC Radio and Television since 1988, moving to the CBC P.E.I. web team in 2015, focusing on weekend features. email sara.fraser@cbc.ca

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