Christmas Day with a Fussy Eater

I have always loved Christmas and everything about it. The decorations, the tradition and the food! I have two young children, so over the last couple of years I have looked forward to introducing them to all the wonderful things I love about Christmas.

I had visions of the perfect tree, beautiful decorations, perfect gifts (wrapped in spectacular fashion) and great craft projects to do with the kids. Hours were spent reviewing recipes and ordering the all-important organic-bronze-turkey from the local butcher that cost twice as much as a normal one. It was going to be a meal to remember!

My ‘perfect’ craft project was going to be a gingerbread house that the kids could help assemble and decorate. It seemed like a great idea at the time, but I grossly over-estimated a two and four year old’s ability to assembly a gingerbread house with icing, as it proved quite difficult for me. We ignored the little note that suggested we should let the house dry overnight before decorating it, and so our house collapsed under the weight of the sweets. The children were not the only ones in tears. Now I’m sure you’ll think I’m mad, as I plan to do another one this year, but I will assemble it the night before while my little people are in bed.

After Christmas morning arrived, gifts opened, house destroyed and squealing subdued, I went about preparing the much-anticipated feast. As I am American and my husband is Irish, our Christmas dinner is a mix of our holiday favourites, many of which are only prepared at Christmas time. It’s no small undertaking. But we sat down as a family to enjoy our dinner with much anticipation. Words can’t describe my disappointment as I found myself heating potato waffles while I dished up the Christmas pudding, as the only thing the children would touch was the ham.

So the question remains: What do you do with a fussy eater on Christmas Day?

My Advice: Put it into perspective. How would you like being served up a plate full of things you’ve never had before? Try to introduce some of the foods you prepare at Christmas during the course of the year to your children. This should increase the chance they will join in during the Christmas meal. If you have a particularly fussy eater that isn’t keen on anything that will be on the menu, there is nothing wrong with preparing a special plate in advance for them. Try to pick something you can throw into the microwave so you’re not using precious oven space! Besides, it’s their Christmas too, and no doubt in a few years they will be eating the same foods as you, except the sprouts of course!

Written by Lisa O Duinn – Author of ‘Toddler Reward Charts’ and ‘Good Habits Colour Book’ available at

First published 4kids Winter 2008