Mum’s The Word for Christmas Dinner

A new survey by Mary’s Meals has revealed that people would rather have their Christmas dinner cooked by their mum than a celebrity chef.

2,000 people were asked who they would prefer to serve up their festive feast.

  • Almost half (46%) of respondents chose a family member rather than a famous chef.
  • One in three people (36%) said they would prefer their mum to cook their Christmas dinner over other family members.
  • Just 1% of respondents in Scotland said they would like their dad to prepare the Christmas dinner!

Scotland’s National Chef Gary Maclean said:

“Despite being a professional chef myself, I’m not surprised most people chose their mum to make their Christmas dinner. Us chefs are all well and good but nothing beats a home-cooked festive feast.”

Big Family Virtual Christmas for Mary’s Meals

Each December the charity holds a virtual Christmas dinner, Big Family Christmas, to raise funds to feed even more hungry children. Last year, nearly 9,000 people around the world took part in the fundraiser.

Gary MacLean Scotland’s National Chef

Chef Gary Maclean said:

“I love the idea of Mary’s Meals Big Family Christmas – and I’m going to set a place for my late father-in-law Davie, who would love that their virtual seat at the table will feed a hungry child in school for an entire year.”

Mary’s Meals serves more than two million children with a nutritious meal every school day in 19 of the world’s poorest countries, including Malawi, South Sudan and Haiti. The promise of a good meal attracts children to the classroom, giving them the energy and opportunity to learn, and the chance of a brighter future.

Emma Hutton, head of grassroots engagement at Mary’s Meals, explained:

“Tis the season to be jolly, and it seems nothing makes us jollier than a home-cooked Christmas meal. At Mary’s Meals, we want to spread that joy to as many of the world’s most impoverished children as possible.

“Setting a place at our virtual table is a great way to give a truly life-changing gift, especially as each place set this Christmas will feed two children for an entire year thanks to our Double The Love campaign. I look forward to seeing as many names at the table as possible as we celebrate our Big Family Christmas!”

In return for a donation of just £15.90, enough to feed a child with Mary’s Meals for a whole school year, people can take part in the Big Family Christmas. Donors will receive a certificate to print at home and their name, or the name of a loved one, will appear on the charity’s virtual dinner table alongside names from across the world.

Donations made to Mary’s Meals before 31 January 2022 will be matched by a group of generous supporters, up to £1.6 million, thanks to the Double The Love campaign, meaning that each place set at the online Christmas table will feed two hungry children.

To find out more, please visit

Reaching children in Malawi

Mary’s Meals typically serves a mug of porridge to more than one million children in Malawi every school day.

This includes children like 14-year-old Yasimini, who is one of five girls. Her two older sisters were married young, but Yasimini was able to continue with her studies because of Mary’s Meals.

She says:

“I work very hard in class so I can fulfill my dream of becoming a nurse. I don’t want to end up getting married early like my sisters.”


“Mary’s Meals is very important because when I am attending classes I am strong and attentive and I can pay attention to what the teacher is teaching. This will help me to do well in my studies.”

Check out the recipes section in The Orkney News, Christmas and what to do with those leftovers. Helen’s Home Cooking:Christmas Leftovers

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