Lamb was voted as the meat of choice for Kiwis this Christmas as part of the Classic Kiwi Christmas Census 2019, followed in a very tight second by ham.

The poll – which was conducted by Retail Meat New Zealand in conjunction with Beef + Lamb New Zealand – of over 1300 Kiwis covering a range of Christmas traditions, saw lamb as the go-to meat of choice with 34 per cent of respondents.

Ham was only two votes behind in second with 33 percent and beef came third with 13 percent.

This represents a significant change in meat choice, with last year's survey returning a strong mandate for ham which secured 37 percent of the vote versus 30% for lamb in 2018.

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Christmas is a time for friends and family with over 40 percent of respondents stating they would be spending Christmas Day with 10 or more people. However, feeding all those friends and family can be stressful.

Alto Butcher of the Year 2019, Greg Egerton from Princes Street Butcher and Kitchen, had some calming words of advice for Kiwis keen for a relaxed festive period.

"My advice to everyone is prep like a pro. For me, Christmas is about spending time with my friends and family, so I don't want to be spending it holed up in the kitchen away from everyone.

"If you're planning on cooking a leg of lamb this year, have a look at recipes.co.nz for some tips on prepping your meat.

Cooking methods for the meat on the day were dominated by ovens and barbecues, capturing 51 percent and 43 percent respectively.

What makes up the rest of your plate can almost be as important as the meat.

Potatoes and mixed salads dominated the results in this domain, taking a 90 percent and 75 percent share respectively.

At the other end of the spectrum, brussels sprouts – that Christmas tradition everyone loves to hate – would only be gracing the plates of 7 percent whilst kale came bottom with a miserly 2 percent.

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The quintessentially Kiwi Pavlova (71 percent) of course took the top spot in the dessert stakes, with trifle (48 percent), strawberries with ice cream (47 percent) and fruit salad (46 percent) in close pursuit.

It was also a notable favourite Christmas tradition of many to have trifle for breakfast on Boxing Day.

Once the eating is over, attention turns to some quality time with the family. Top activities for New Zealanders included (naturally) opening presents (80 percent), backyard games (50 percent) and 40 percent having a sleep (aka a food coma). 17 people even stated they were going to get out for a round of golf.

Regardless of what kai you'll be eating and games you'll be playing, this festive season have a laugh, create new memories and enjoy Christmas with those you love.

Retail Meat New Zealand and Beef + Lamb New Zealand wishes everyone a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year.