For most of us, Christmas is a time of celebration and spending time with our loved ones.
But spare a thought for some of us...for not even on Christmas Day can we escape the clutches of the office.
Instead of a slap up meal round the dinner table with the family come the 25th, it’s a the familiar surroundings of the office instead.
Around a million people across the UK will be working on Thursday – mostly nurses, police, carers and members of the clergy – but plenty of newspaper reporters like me too.
So for those who simply can’t avoid having to work, is there anything which can take the gloom away from an office-based Christmas Day?
Are there any quick and easy alternatives available to us that can replicate something similar to a roast dinner that has been loving prepared by mum?
Is the ready-meal roast with all the trimmings, the ready-made answer to the problem?
To save you the trouble, I was tasked with visiting six of the main supermarkets to see what quick fix they can offer, with a distinct lack of turkey dinners on offer. Here’s what I thought...
Sainsbury’s beef, turkey, or pork dinner PRICE: £1.75
What’s on offer: Two cuttings of meat, roast potatoes, one yorkshire pudding, carrots, peas, gravy.
After selecting the beef dinner, I was upset to find that the beef on offer was limited to two of the thinnest slices you could imagine.
The process of cooking the dinner is strange too as you are instructed to take out one single yorkshire pudding for nine minutes while you wait for the rest of the meal to cook.
After that minute of cooking,the yorkshire pudding still remains flimsy and paper thin.
Anyone would also guess that there is a tac-tic to mask the taste of the beef and potatoes by bathing the dish in thick, sticky gravy.
Marks and Spencer’s Pulled Pork roast dinner
What’s on offer: Pork cutting, mash potato, broccoli, carrots.
If you are thinking of going upmarket and treating yourself this Christmas then Marks and Spencer is as good it gets.
Despite being the most expensive of all six, Marks and Spencer were a step above when it came to the food on offer. The pork was also a generous size and not just ripped apart with one swipe of the knife.
Morrisons Homestyle Chicken Dinner
What’s on offer: Chicken with roast potatoes, carrots, peas and stuffing
A solid performer, this meal had a good quantity of chicken with a generous helping of roast potatoes and vegetables.
Despite being at the lower end of the price scale, much of the food was edible but the gravy lacked consistency and thickness.
All in all, a major disappointment for any northern eater!
Lidl Chef Select Roast Chicken Dinner
What’s on offer: Chicken breast in a rich chicken gravy, with roast potatoes, peas, carrots and stuffing
A real heavyweight effort from the German-backed food giant. A nicely put together dish, this meal featured a lovely piece of chicken breast in a rich chicken gravy. Nicer presentation, strong flavours - the roast potatoes were light and fluffy with the peas, carrots and stuffing nice extras to a well constructed dish.
Booths Birdseye Traditional Beef Dinner
What’s on offer: Three slices of 100 per cent silverside beef, two Yorkshire puddings, potatoes, peas and carrots
Billed as the frozen food favourite’s “best ever recipe,” this particular dish features promises of 100 per cent British beef, crispy potatoes and extra gravy, but much like Blackpool FC on Saturday, there was just no defence for a sub-standard effort. Tasteless, average and bland.
The beef was as meaty as a vegan food convention and the potatoes a spectacular failure.