some Christmas sandwiches:

more Christmas sandwiches:

Christmas sandwiches

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What's the gen on these here Christmas sandwiches, then?

This is the Frequently Given Answer to that question.

the 21st Century fad of pre-packaged Christmas sandwiches

In the U.K., food retailers have taken to creating novelty sandwiches called "Christmas sandwiches", which they sell during the holiday shopping season. They have Christmas-themed packaging and they contain "traditional" Christmas ingredients, such as turkey, cranberry sauce, sausage, bacon, stuffing, and so forth — usually the sorts of things that one will eat for a "traditional" Christmas dinner.

The Christmas sandwich that I most widely encountered in the early years of the 21st century was the one sold by food manufacturer Ginsters, simply because Ginsters sandwiches are sold at so many outlets, from corner shops to motorway service stations. But all of the supermarkets and sandwich chain shops are now in on the act, too.

So are the newspapers, and in recent years the launch of various supermarkets' range of Christmas sandwiches has been heralded by a flurry of newspaper coverage in the first half of November.

Packaging is pretty much, with the exception of gimmicks like Sainsbury's "Snow Globe", standard year-round sandwich packaging; with simply the colours changed (from the usual "low calorie"/"economy"/"normal" or "meat"/"fish"/"vegetable" colour schemes) and sometimes some added Yuletide decorations like holly leaves. Most go for the Thomas Nast Santa red colour, although Sainsbury's and Marks and Spencer both buck the trend with one sandwich each in Old Father Christmas green.

Other gimmickry has included donating part of the price of the sandwich to charity (variously done by Marks & Spencer, Pret á Manger, The Coöperative, Spar, and Ginsters over the years), sandwiches with special packaging that plays Christmas songs (Tesco in 2005), and oddball fillings. An example of the latter was Chocolate and Cherry, sold by Tesco in 2013. It was slated by people on WWW chat sites, much to the delight of the newspapers, even though sweet-not-savoury and dessert sandwich fillings such as Marshmallow Fluff, Peanut Butter and Jam, and Fluffernutter are a mainstream thing, as is chocolate sandwich spread that sits unobjected-to in supermarket aisles all year around.

Christmas meals themselves usually being high-energy, high-fat, and high-sugar affairs, the sandwiches do tend to follow suit. (Of course, the sandwiches do not taste anything like an actual Christmas meal.) Rare is the Christmas sandwich that is low in these; and several people over the years have compared them disfavourably to fast foods from the likes of Burger King and McDonalds to whom they turn out to be nutritionally inferior on several points.

Also rare are vegetarian or vegan Christmas-themed sandwiches; or sandwiches featuring any Christmas fare other than variants of turkey, cheese, and ham such as (to name but some and not even anything particularly esoteric) goose, salmon, roast beef, or Yorkshire pudding.

I have found no sandwich sporting any halal or kosher certifications; which is not entirely unexpected given the target market. Interestingly though, supermarket managers believe that Christmas sandwiches sell well enough to stock even in stores that otherwise cater to a largely non-Christian customer base. (One such is the Aldi that I bought sandwiches from here, which is located in a part of a city with a high concentration of Muslims and visibly targets that with its other lines of stock.) Perhaps head offices do not give local store managers the option of not stocking them.

Historical perspective

Albeit that pre-packaged sandwiches sold by supermarkets and other outlets is a relatively recent fad, having grown up over the past two decades, the actual ideas of a Christmas-themed sandwich or a meal in a sandwich are not new at all. M. Redington White's book of sandwich recipes, Something New In Sandwiches published by George Routledge and Sons in 1933, has on page 13 the following recipe for a "club" style sandwich with a Christmas theme:

“Christmas Week”

Arrange some small hot slices of roast turkey on a fairly thick slice of buttered toast, cover them with hot chestnut sauce and add a second slice of toast. Spread this with hot mashed potato, cover with a third piece of toast. Coat this thinly with crab-apple jelly and spread with hot sausage meat. Cover with a fourth slice of buttered toast and serve.

The title "Christmas Week" here serves as a reminder that Christmas Day is in fact the beginning of Christmastide; the proper name for the season commonly known by the misnomer "Christmas Week", that runs from vespers (i.e. sunset) on Christmas Eve until Epiphany Eve (in some Christian denomimations possibly longer, beyond even Legal Newtonmas). The "Christmas" sandwiches so beloved of the supermarkets and chain stores that they start selling them in November, barely a week past Hallowmas and All Souls Day in some cases, do not even properly qualify as Advent sandwiches, let alone Christmas ones.

A few years earlier, American Cookery the magazine of the Boston U.S.A. Cooking School had been publishing similar recipes. It promoted its December 1929 edition thus:

Our Christmas number is Christmas-y enough to please all lovers of the Christmas season and the Christmas cheer.

There is a picture of a Christmas Cake that will ravish your heart so you'll want to make it at once and decorate it with its Christmas red and green, and its Christmas Star. This is a captivating cake!

There is a Christmas Sandwich you'll like fully as much, and which is novel in being neither an open sandwich nor yet a closed one, but is part one and part the other. There are two pictures of a new style roll, showing it before and after the rolling and baking. Otherwise we bet a cooky [sic] you would not be able to roll this roll as it should be rolled.

Even these are not the earliest. An article for the trade by William S. Adkins entitled The Fountain At Christmas published in 1919 in The National Druggist (and reprinted in 1921 in Practical Druggist and Spatula) advises U.S. drug store owners on ways to promote their businesses over Christmas Week as follows:

For Christmas week something suitable to the season should be featured. The store with an elaborate luncheon menu can come out with roast turkey, cranberry sauce, mince pie and plum pudding. Carving a turkey in full view of the audience is a great Christmas card, and always makes a hit, but of course this is only possible when you are running a food feature full blast. Any store, however, can serve cold turkey sandwiches, and these are very good, too.

This puts Subway's offer of its first ever Christmas sandwich in 2016 — named the "Festive Feast", heralded in the newspapers, and noted for being customizable to the customers' tastes "unlike pre-packaged Christmas sandwiches" — in stark perspective. The non-pre-packaged food industry — the delicatessens, sandwich shops, and old drug stores — has been offering Christmas sandwiches made to order for over a century.

Some 2017 examples

pre-packaged Christmas sandwiches sold by U.K. retailers in 2017 that I have been able to get hold of, plus one fast food comparator
Retailer Product name Picture Ingredients V Energy Sugar (grammes) Fat (grammes) Salt (grammes)
kJ kcal
Burger King


beef patties; sesame seed bun; tomato cheese; lettuce; mayonnaise; ketchup; pickle slices; onion 2092 500 11 35 0.96

Festive Feast

turkey; pork, sage, and onion stuffing; and cranberry sauce on malted bread 1860 441 8.9 11.4 1.96

Brie and Spiced Cranberry Chutney

mould ripened brie cheese; cranberry, orange, and ginger chutney; mayonnaise; and spinach on malted bread V 1963 468 8.5 21 1.6

Turkey Feast

cooked turkey breast; pork sausage; sage and onion mayonnaise; cranberry chutney; port; sage and onion stuffing; smoked bacon; fried onion on malted bread 2218 528 8.7 19 2.3

Ham Hock

ham hock; farmhouse mature cheddar cheese; plum and bramley apple chutney; spinach; and mayonnaise on brown bread 1891 450 14 16 2.7

Boxing Day Sub

oak smoked formed ham; beechwood smoked turkey; pork and chestnut stuffing; medium mature cheddar cheese; coleslaw; and spinach in a white sub roll 2740 653 27 27.5 2.80

Brie and Cranberry

brie; cranberry and port sauce; mayonnaise; and rocket on multigrain bread V 2167 519 12.5 27.5 1.57

Snow Globe (Christmas dinner in a brioche roll)

butter basted turkey breast; cooked beechwood smoked streaky bacon; brussel sprout slaw; pork stuffing; mayonnaise; cranberry and port sauce; and spinach in a brioche roll with stars 1867 444 16.0 15.8 1.70

Turkey Feast

butter basted turkey breast; pork and chestnut stuffing; maple cured smoked bacon; cranberry and port sauce; mayonnaise; and spinach on malted bread 2278 543 14.6 20.9 2.44

Christmas Triple

  • Turkey Lunch

  • Cheddar and Spiced Chutney

  • Prawn Mayo

  • cooked turkey; pork, sage, and onion stuffing; cranberry chutney; and pepper mayonnaise on malted bread

  • mature cheddar cheese; spiced fruit chutney; mayonnaise; and endive on oatmeal bread

  • prawns with mayonnaise on malted bread

2517 599 13.9 19.2 2.4

Turkey Lunch

cooked turkey; pork, sage, and onion stuffing; cranberry and port sauce; mayonnaise; and smoked bacon on malted bread 1990 473 12.5 13.5 2.11

Cheese Board

mature cheddar cheese; spiced fruit chutney; Wensleydale cheese; mayonnaise; endive; Blacksticks Blue cheese; and apples on cranberry and poppy seed bread V 2020 482 14.6 20.7 1.65

Ham Hock and Spiced Orange Chutney

ham hock; spiced orange chutney; and spinach in malted bread 1323 313 13.3 3.3 1.1

Turkey and Trimmings Triple

malted brown bread; turkey breast; chicken stock mayonnaise; pork sausage; cranberry sauce; sage and onion stuffing; and cooked diced bacon 3241 773 8.5 32.0 3.6
The office sandwich delivery person where I work

Turkey Stuffing and Cranberry

Marks and Spencer

Turkey Feast

roast turkey breast; pork, sage, and onion stuffing; cranberry chutney; smoked bacon; mayonnaise; and fried onions on malted brown bread 2109 502 10.3 16.0 2.23

Turkey Feast (Gluten Free)

roast turkey breast; gluten free pork, sage, and onion stuffing; cranberry chutney; smoked bacon; mayonnaise; and dried onions on gluten free seeded bread G 2103 502 3.5 20.3 2.33

Turkey Feast with Pigs in Blankets

pork sausages; smoked bacon; roast turkey breast; cranberry chuitney; spived mayonnaise; and spinach on sage and onion bread 2105 502 10.6 20.9 2.15

Brie and Grape

brie cheese; red grapes; grape and ruby port chutney; mayonnaise; and lettuce on oatmeal bread V 2014 481 12.4 21.4 1.48

Ham Hock and Golden Beetroot Piccalilli

ham hock; golden beetroot piccalilli; shallot mayonnaise; and lettuce on white bloomer bread 2141 510 9.3 18.9 2.70

Turkey and Trimmings

turkey breast; Cumberland pork sausage in beef casing; pork, sage, and onion stuffing; cranberry and port sauce; seasoned mayonnaise; and beechwood smocked bacon on malted bread 2274 541 12 19 2.3

Pulled Pork and Stuffing

pulled pork; pork, sage, and onion stuffing; seasoned mayonnaise; apple sauce; fried onions; and parsley on white bread 2065 492 11 18 1.4

Festive Triple

  • Turkey & Trimmings

  • Cheddar and Chutney

  • Prawn Cocktail

  • turkey breast; pork, sage, and onion stuffing; Cumberland pork sausage in beef casing; cranberry and port sauce; mayonnaise; and beechwood smoked bacon on malted bread

  • West Country mature cheddar cheese; apple, pear, and fig chutney; mayonnaise; and spinach on white bread

  • prawns and cocktail sauce on oatmeal bread

2989 713 11 32 3.5

Ham Hock & Cheddar

ham hock; apple and pear chutney; mature cheddar cheese; seasoned mayonaise; and spinach in a tortilla wrap 2984 711 13 29 3.0

Turkey, Bacon, Stuffing, & Cranberry

turkey breast; pork, sage, and onion stuffing; sweetcued bacon; mayonnaise; and cranberry sauce on malted bread 1732 411 7.8 11 2.10

Turkey, Stuffing, & Redcurrant

cooked turkey breast; pork, sage, and onion stuffing; mayonnaise; cranberry and redcurrent sauce; and spinach on malted bread 1389 328 6.6 3.6 1.51

Pigs Under Blankets

pork sausage; sweetcured bacon; pork, sage, and onion stuffing; cranberry sauce; and mayonnaise on malted bread 1904 453 7.3 17 2.14

Parsnip Fritter and Butternut Squash

parsnip and carrot fritter; buternut squash; cranberry sauce; vegan mayonnaise; humous; chickpeas and chestnuts; and spinach on malted bread V 1904 453 9.6 14 1.67

  • Turkey & Stuffing

  • Ham Hock & Plum Chutney

  • Cheddar & Red Onion Chutney Cocktail

  • turkey breast; pork, sage, and onion stuffing; mayonnaise; and cranberry sauce on malted bread

  • ham hock; plum chutney; mayonnaise; and spinach on malted bread

  • cheddar cheese; balsamic red onion chutney; mayonnaise; and spinach leaf on malted bread

2188 520 10 14 2.41

Oh What Joy Christmas Lunch


Brie, Cranberry, & Grape

brie cheese; cranberry sauce; grapes; reduced fat mayonnaise; and spinach on malted bread 1880 448 13.3 19.1 1.50

Pigs Under Blankets

pork sausage; cranberry sauce; smoked bacon; and mayopnnaise on malted bread 2103 501 12.9 20.1 2.16

Smoked Salmon and Soft Cheese

smoked salmon; low fat and ful fat soft cheese; black pepper; and lemon on sliced oatmeal bread 1741 415 3.4 18.1 2.52

Turkey, Stuffing, and Bacon

turkey breast; pork and chestnut stuffing; cranberry, port, and orange chutney; mayonnaise; smoked bacon; and spinach on malted bread 1932 459 13.0 12.8 2.04


The nearest Waitrose had empty Christmas sandwich shelves when I went the first time, and only one of the range actually in stock when I went the second time.

Of the three ASDAs that I tried, one had run out of half of the lines, and the other two did not even sell the complete range in the first place.

Spar issued a press release at the end of November 2017 claiming that Spar has a Christmas sandwich range from mid-November onwards. This has not in fact been true of any of the four Spar stores that I tried after the press release came out.

Further reading

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