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Christmas dinner

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An oven-roasted turkey.
An oven-roasted turkey.
Many traditions enjoy dessert after the main course. Here, a Christmas pudding is set aflame after brandy has been poured on it.
Many traditions enjoy dessert after the main course. Here, a Christmas pudding is set aflame after brandy has been poured on it.

Christmas dinner is a meal traditionally eaten at Christmas. This meal can take place any time from the evening of Christmas Eve to the evening of Christmas Day itself.[1] The meals are often particularly rich and substantial, in the tradition of the Christian feast day celebration, and form a significant part of gatherings held to celebrate the arrival of Christmastide.[2] In many cases, there is a ritual element to the meal related to the religious celebration, such as the saying of grace.[3]

The actual meal consumed varies in different parts of the world with regional cuisines and local traditions. In many parts of the world, particularly former British colonies, the meal shares some connection with the English Christmas dinner involving roasted meats and pudding of some description. The Christmas pudding and Christmas cake evolved from this tradition.

In countries without a lengthy Christian tradition, the Christmas meal may be more heavily influenced by popular culture. An example of this is Japan, where a KFC takeaway meal is traditionally consumed.[4]

Discover more about Christmas dinner related topics

Christmas

Christmas

Christmas is an annual festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, observed primarily on December 25 as a religious and cultural celebration among billions of people around the world. A feast central to the Christian liturgical year, it is preceded by the season of Advent or the Nativity Fast and initiates the season of Christmastide, which historically in the West lasts twelve days and culminates on Twelfth Night. Christmas Day is a public holiday in many countries, is celebrated religiously by a majority of Christians, as well as culturally by many non-Christians, and forms an integral part of the holiday season organized around it.

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve is the evening or entire day before Christmas Day, the festival commemorating the birth of Jesus. Christmas Day is observed around the world, and Christmas Eve is widely observed as a full or partial holiday in anticipation of Christmas Day. Together, both days are considered one of the most culturally significant celebrations in Christendom and Western society.

Calendar of saints

Calendar of saints

The calendar of saints is the traditional Christian method of organizing a liturgical year by associating each day with one or more saints and referring to the day as the feast day or feast of said saint. The word "feast" in this context does not mean "a large meal, typically a celebratory one", but instead "an annual religious celebration, a day dedicated to a particular saint".

Christmastide

Christmastide

Christmastide is a season of the liturgical year in most Christian churches. In some, Christmastide is identical to Twelvetide.

Grace (prayer)

Grace (prayer)

A grace is a short prayer or thankful phrase said before or after eating. The term most commonly refers to Christian traditions. Some traditions hold that grace and thanksgiving imparts a blessing which sanctifies the meal. In English, reciting such a prayer is sometimes referred to as "saying grace". The term comes from the Ecclesiastical Latin phrase gratiarum actio, "act of thanks." Theologically, the act of saying grace is derived from the Bible, in which Jesus and Saint Paul pray before meals. The practice reflects the belief that humans should thank God who is the origin of everything.

Regional cuisine

Regional cuisine

Regional cuisine is cuisine based upon national, state or local regions. Regional cuisines may vary based upon food availability and trade, varying climates, cooking traditions and practices, and cultural differences. One noteworthy definition is based upon traditional cuisine: "A traditional cuisine is a coherent tradition of food preparation that rises from the daily lives and kitchens of a people over an extended period in a specific region of a country, or a specific country, and which, when localized, has notable distinctions from the cuisine of the country as a whole." Regional food preparation traditions, customs and ingredients often combine to create dishes unique to a particular region. Regional cuisines are often named after the geographic areas or regions that they originate from.

List of countries that have gained independence from the United Kingdom

List of countries that have gained independence from the United Kingdom

Below are lists of the countries and territories formerly ruled or administered by The United Kingdom or part of the British Empire, with their independence days. Some countries did not gain their independence on a single date, therefore the latest day of independence is shown with a break down of dates further down. A total of 65 countries have claimed their independence from British empire or The United Kingdom.

Pudding

Pudding

Pudding is a type of food. It can be either a dessert or a savoury dish served as part of the main meal.

Christmas pudding

Christmas pudding

Christmas pudding is sweet dried-fruit pudding traditionally served as part of Christmas dinner in Britain and other countries to which the tradition has been exported. It has its origins in medieval England, with early recipes making use of dried fruit, suet, breadcrumbs, flour, eggs and spice, along with liquid such as milk or fortified wine. Later, recipes became more elaborate. In 1845, cookery writer Eliza Acton wrote the first recipe for what she called "Christmas pudding".

Christmas cake

Christmas cake

Christmas cake is a type of cake, often fruitcake, served at Christmas time in many countries.

Japan

Japan

Japan is an island country in East Asia. It is situated in the northwest Pacific Ocean, and is bordered on the west by the Sea of Japan, while extending from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north toward the East China Sea, Philippine Sea, and Taiwan in the south. Japan is a part of the Ring of Fire, and spans an archipelago of 6852 islands covering 377,975 square kilometers (145,937 sq mi); the five main islands are Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu, and Okinawa. Tokyo is the nation's capital and largest city, followed by Yokohama, Osaka, Nagoya, Sapporo, Fukuoka, Kobe, and Kyoto.

KFC

KFC

KFC is an American fast food restaurant chain headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, that specializes in fried chicken. It is the world's second-largest restaurant chain after McDonald's, with 22,621 locations globally in 150 countries as of December 2019. The chain is a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, a restaurant company that also owns the Pizza Hut and Taco Bell chains.

Asia

India

Indian people cook a variety of foods, including biryani with chicken or mutton, chicken and mutton curry, followed by cake or sweets like kheer.[5] Long established Christian communities such as Goan Catholics have pork dishes and beef dishes as part of their main course of their Christmas dinner. These include pork vindaloo and sorpatel. For dessert, a dish called bebinca is popular.[6] The Kerala Christian community is the largest Christianity community in India.[7] Keralites celebrate Christmas with midnight mass, Christmas carols and food. The Christmas celebration begins on Christmas Eve. Churches are decorated, Christmas trees and bigger Christmas stars from youth groups are the biggest attractions in Kerala. Pork Vindaloo, Beef Stew, and Mappas are the common dishes served during Christmas dinner. Keralites people go from home to home to celebrate and dance during carol time. All Keralites—including Hindus and Muslims—celebrate Christmas and share sweets and gifts and participate in carols and town celebrations.[4] Plum cake is a famous dessert in Kerala and family come together and cut the cake after the midnight mass, the cutting of plum cakes after Christmas mass is treated as a tradition in Kerala. Occasionally, wines commonly made from grapes as well as pineapples, gooseberries or other fruit, are consumed.[8]

Japan

Japanese-style Christmas cakes in a display case at Nijiya Market
Japanese-style Christmas cakes in a display case at Nijiya Market

Japanese Christmas cake, a white sponge cake covered with cream and decorated with strawberries, is often consumed, and Stollen cake, made locally, is widely available. A successful advertising campaign in the 1970s made eating at KFC around Christmas a national custom. Its chicken meals are so popular during the season that stores take reservations months in advance.[9]

Lebanon

Lebanese Christians celebrate Christmas dinners. The feast, usually on the night of the 24th and lunch on the 25th, is a big one. The family gets together at both meals, and some have the leftovers from the dinner prior to the lunch the next day. The traditional offering for Christmas is sugar-coated almonds. Roast turkey is the most common choice of meal.[10] Roasted duck, Lebanese salad (Tabbouleh) and pastries such as honey cake are common. Beirut celebrates Christmas by conducting glamorous and big Christmas parties. Western-style poinsettias, community Christmas trees, and Christmas lights are very popular.

Philippines

Christmas dinner in the Philippines is called Noche Buena following Hispanic custom, and is held towards midnight of 24 December. This usually comes after the entire family has attended the late evening Mass called the Misa de Gallo ("Mass of the Rooster"). The centerpiece of the Noche Buena is often the hamón, which is usually a cured leg of pork. This is usually served with queso de bola, literally a ball of edam cheese covered in red wax. Other ubiquitous dishes are pasta and, for dessert, fruit salad. The dinner would usually be accompanied by tsokolate or hot cocoa, made with pure, locally grown cacao beans. Some families prefer tsokolate prepared from tablea or pressed cocoa powder tablets that are either pure or slightly sweetened. Most of the foods served on Noche Buena are fresh and usually prepared the day of Christmas Eve.[11]

Middle-class and affluent families tend to prepare sumptuous feasts which may include any of the following: lechón or spit-roasted pig; lumpia; escabeche; adobo; rellenong manok or stuffed chicken; roast turkey; mechado (beef stew); kaldereta (spicy beef stew); paella; and other traditional fiesta dishes. Less well-off families would opt for a more economical Noche Buena; the organising of even a simple gathering despite financial difficulties reflects the paramount importance in Filipino culture of familial (and, by extension, communal) unity.

This focus on the family is common to all Filipino socio-economic classes and ethnic groups that observe Christmas. Most – if not all – members from the branches or extended families in a clan are expected to partake of the Noche Buena. Relatives living abroad, especially OFWs, are highly encouraged to return home for the occasion, as it is the most important Filipino Christian holiday of the year. Most families prefer to exchange Christmas presents right after dinner, contrary to the Western custom of opening presents on Christmas morning.

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Biryani

Biryani

Biryani is a mixed rice dish originating among the Muslims of the Indian subcontinent. It is made with Indian spices, rice, and usually some type of meat or in some cases without any meat, and sometimes, in addition, eggs and potatoes.

Kheer

Kheer

Kheer, also known as payasam, is a sweet dish and a type of wet pudding popular in the Indian subcontinent, usually made by boiling milk, sugar or jaggery, and rice, although rice may be substituted with one of the following: daals, bulgur wheat, millet, tapioca, vermicelli, or sweet corn. It is typically flavoured with desiccated coconut, cardamom, raisins, saffron, cashews, pistachios, almonds, or other dry fruits and nuts, and recently pseudograins are also gaining popularity. It is typically served as a dessert.

Goan Catholics

Goan Catholics

Goan Catholics are an ethno-religious community of Indian Christians following the Roman Rite of worship from the Goa state, in the southern part of the Konkan region along the west coast of India. They are Konkani people and speak the Konkani language.

Bebinca

Bebinca

Bebinca or bebinka, is a layer cake of Indo-Portuguese cuisine in Goa, India. In traditional baking, Bebinka has between 7 and 16 layers, but bakeries can modify the cake recipe as per convenience and taste. It is especially popular during the Christmas season, but is available all year round due to tourism in Goa. It is also easily available to carry and preserve for a long time or eaten fresh.

Hindus

Hindus

Hindus are people who religiously adhere to Hinduism. Historically, the term has also been used as a geographical, cultural, and later religious identifier for people living in the Indian subcontinent.

Muslims

Muslims

Muslims are people who adhere to Islam, a monotheistic religion belonging to the Abrahamic tradition. They consider the Quran, the foundational religious text of Islam, to be the verbatim word of the God of Abraham as it was revealed to Muhammad, the main Islamic prophet. The majority of Muslims also follow the teachings and practices of Muhammad (sunnah) as recorded in traditional accounts (hadith).

Nijiya Market

Nijiya Market

Nijiya Market is a Japanese supermarket chain headquartered in Torrance, California, with store locations in California and Hawaii. The store's rainbow logo is intended to represent a bridge between Japan and the United States.

Christmas cake

Christmas cake

Christmas cake is a type of cake, often fruitcake, served at Christmas time in many countries.

KFC

KFC

KFC is an American fast food restaurant chain headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, that specializes in fried chicken. It is the world's second-largest restaurant chain after McDonald's, with 22,621 locations globally in 150 countries as of December 2019. The chain is a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, a restaurant company that also owns the Pizza Hut and Taco Bell chains.

Philippines

Philippines

The Philippines, officially the Republic of the Philippines, is an archipelagic country in Southeast Asia. It is situated in the western Pacific Ocean and consists of around 7,641 islands that are broadly categorized under three main geographical divisions from north to south: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. The Philippines is bounded by the South China Sea to the west, the Philippine Sea to the east, and the Celebes Sea to the southwest. It shares maritime borders with Taiwan to the north, Japan to the northeast, Palau to the east and southeast, Indonesia to the south, Malaysia to the southwest, Vietnam to the west, and China to the northwest. The Philippines covers an area of 300,000 km2 (120,000 sq mi) and, as of 2021, it had a population of around 109 million people, making it the world's thirteenth-most populous country. The Philippines has diverse ethnicities and cultures throughout its islands. Manila is the country's capital, while the largest city is Quezon City; both lie within the urban area of Metro Manila.

Misa de Gallo

Misa de Gallo

Misa de Gallo is the Midnight Mass celebrated in many former Spanish colonies on Christmas Eve and sometimes in the days immediately preceding Christmas.

Christmas ham

Christmas ham

A Christmas ham or Yule ham is a ham often served for Christmas dinner or during Yule in Northern Europe and the Anglosphere. The style of preparation varies widely by place and time.

Europe

Austria

In Austria, Christmas Eve is the celebration of the end of the pre-Christmas fast. Christmas is usually celebrated only by Christians. Christmas Eve is historically the day that the tree is decorated and lit with real candles, so that the Christkindl may visit. Christmas Day is a national holiday in Austria and most Austrians spend the day feasting with their family. Fried carp, Sachertorte, and Christmas biscuits (Lebkuchen and Weihnachtssterne) are eaten, as are many other chocolate delicacies including edible Christmas ornaments.[12] Christmas dinner is usually goose, ham served with Gluhwein, Rumpunsch, and chocolate mousse.

Czech Republic

A traditional Christmas meal in the Czech Republic is fried carp and potato salad which are eaten during Christmas dinner on the evening of 24 December.[13] It is often accompanied by a fish soup prepared from carp leftovers (head or bones) or a traditional Czech mushroom dish Kuba. Many households also prepare a great variety of unique Christmas biscuits to offer to visitors. These are prepared many days before the feast and take a long time to decorate. It is also common to hang for children wrapped chocolate sweets on the Christmas tree as decoration.

Denmark

Danish Christmas dinner
Danish Christmas dinner

In Denmark, the traditional Christmas meal served on 24 December consists, according to one representative study, of duck (66% of households surveyed), roast pork with crackling (43%), turkey (8%), or goose (7%). The figures total more than 100% because it was found that some families prepare more than one kind of meat for Christmas dinner.[14] The meat is served with boiled potatoes (some of which are caramelized, some roasted), red cabbage, and gravy. The main course is followed by a dessert of Risalamande, rice pudding served with cherry sauce or strawberry sauce, often with a whole almond hidden inside. The lucky finder of the almond is entitled to an extra present, the almond gift. Christmas drinks are Gløgg (mulled wine) and traditional Christmas beers, specially brewed for the season and which usually have a high alcohol content.

Finland

Finnish Christmas dinner
Finnish Christmas dinner

Joulupöytä (translated "Christmas table") is the name of the traditional food board served at Christmas in Finland, similar to the Swedish smörgåsbord. It contains many different dishes, most of them typical for the season. The main dish is usually a large Christmas ham, which is eaten with mustard or bread along with the other dishes.[15] Fish is also served (often lutefisk and gravlax or smoked salmon), and with the ham there are also different casseroles usually with potatoes, rutabaga (swedes), or carrots. The traditional Christmas beverage is mulled wine (glögi in Finnish), which may be either alcoholic or non-alcoholic.[16]

Germany

In Germany, the primary Christmas dishes are roast goose and roast carp, although suckling pig, duck, or venison may also be served. Typical side dishes include roast potatoes and various forms of cabbage such as kale, Brussels sprouts, and red cabbage. In some regions, the Christmas dinner is traditionally served on Christmas Day rather than Christmas Eve. In this case, dinner on Christmas Eve is a simpler affair, consisting of sausages (such as Bockwurst or Wiener) and potato salad. Sweets and Christmas pastries are all but obligatory and include marzipan, gingerbread (Lebkuchen), several types of bread, and various fruitcakes and fruited loaves of bread such as Christstollen and Dresdener Stollen.[17]

Portugal

Traditionally in Portugal the family gets together around the table on Christmas Eve to eat boiled dried-salted cod accompanied with boiled cabbage or greens varying with what they have in the garden leftover, boiled potatoes, boiled onions, boiled eggs, and chickpeas. Sometimes a simple dressing is made with onions, garlic, or parsley. This meal is accompanied by generous amounts of olive oil.

There are variations across the country and, traditionally, turkey[18] (sometimes also pork in some regions) is served for lunch on the 25th.

Spain

In Spanish, Christmas Eve is called "Nochebuena,"[19] literally translated as "Good Night." In Spain, it is celebrated with a large family feast, which is eaten late in the evening and can last a couple of hours; some families attend midnight mass before or after the meal. In Spain, Christmas Eve is a time for celebrating in neighbourhood bars and cafes and around the table with family and friends. It is a time for gift exchanges or Santa Claus. However, it is mainly performed on Epiphany, which occurs on 6 January.

In medieval Catalan cuisine poultry was served for Christmas dinner, and other dishes with salsa de pago were followed by a course of lamb and bacon stew. The last course was formatge torrador (similar to provoleta in modern Argentinian cuisine), neula and clarea (also called "white sangria", similar to hippocras).[20]

Sweden

The Swedish Julbord sometimes features decorated pig heads.
The Swedish Julbord sometimes features decorated pig heads.

The Swedish Christmas dinner or Julbord[21] often consists of five or more courses. The first three courses are a variety of fish, usually different types of pickled herring and salmon, smoked salmon, eaten with boiled potatoes or crisp bread and lutfisk. The fourth is cold cuts of meat, with the Christmas ham being the most important. Smoked sausages, brawn, apple sauce, and leverpastej are also common. The fifth course consists of warm dishes such as meatballs, small fried sausages and Janssons frestelse. Finally, a cheese plate and dessert plate are served. The most popular dessert is rice pudding (risgrynsgröt) with a whole almond hidden inside. The finder of the almond is expected to get married before next Christmas. In some homes, the courses above are served like a buffet where all family members can pick and take the food in no dish order.

Common drinks are Christmas beer, julmust and snaps.

United Kingdom

Christmas dinner in the United Kingdom usually consists of roasted turkey, stuffing, gravy, Yorkshire pudding, pigs in blankets,[22][23][24] cranberry sauce or redcurrant jelly; bread sauce; roast potatoes; vegetables, particularly Brussels sprouts, parsnips and traditional cauliflower;[25][26] with dessert of Christmas pudding, mince pies or trifle, with brandy butter, custard or cream.It is estimated that nine million turkeys are consumed at Christmas in the United Kingdom. This represents a halving of consumed turkeys in the past twenty five years as younger adults opt for alternatives.[27]

Christmas dinner
Christmas dinner

In England throughout the 16th and 17th centuries, goose or capon was commonly served, and the rich sometimes dined upon peacock and swan.[28] The turkey appeared on Christmas tables in England in the 16th century.[29][30] The 16th-century farmer Thomas Tusser noted that by 1573 turkeys were commonly served at English Christmas dinners.[31] The tradition of turkey at Christmas rapidly spread throughout England in the 17th century,[29] and it also became common to serve goose which remained the predominant roast until the Victorian era.[32] (it was quite common for Goose "Clubs" to be set up, allowing working-class families to save up over the year towards a goose before this).[33] A famous English Christmas dinner scene appears in Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol (1843), where Scrooge sends Bob Cratchitt a large turkey.[34] The pudding course of a British Christmas dinner may often be Christmas pudding, which dates from medieval England.[35] Trifle, mince pies, Christmas cake or a yule log are also popular.[36]

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Austria

Austria

The Republic of Austria, commonly just Austria, is a country in the southern part of Central Europe, lying in the Eastern Alps. It is a federation of nine states, one of which is the capital, Vienna, the most populous city and state. A landlocked country, Austria is bordered by Germany to the northwest, the Czech Republic to the north, Slovakia to the northeast, Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west. The country occupies an area of 83,871 km2 (32,383 sq mi) and has a population of 9 million.

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve is the evening or entire day before Christmas Day, the festival commemorating the birth of Jesus. Christmas Day is observed around the world, and Christmas Eve is widely observed as a full or partial holiday in anticipation of Christmas Day. Together, both days are considered one of the most culturally significant celebrations in Christendom and Western society.

Lebkuchen

Lebkuchen

Lebkuchen, Honigkuchen or Pfefferkuchen, are a honey-sweetened German cake molded cookie or bar cookie that has become part of Germany's Christmas traditions. It is similar to gingerbread.

Ham

Ham

Ham is pork from a leg cut that has been preserved by wet or dry curing, with or without smoking. As a processed meat, the term "ham" includes both whole cuts of meat and ones that have been mechanically formed.

Carp

Carp

Carp are various species of oily freshwater fish from the family Cyprinidae, a very large group of fish native to Europe and Asia. While carp is consumed in many parts of the world, they are generally considered an invasive species in parts of Africa, Australia and most of the United States.

Potato salad

Potato salad

Potato salad is a salad dish made from boiled potatoes, usually containing a dressing and a variety of other ingredients such as boiled eggs and raw vegetables.

Fish soup

Fish soup

Fish soup is a food made by combining fish or seafood with vegetables and stock, juice, water, or another liquid. Hot soups are additionally characterized by boiling solid ingredients in liquids in a pot until the flavors are extracted, forming a broth.

Biscuit

Biscuit

A biscuit is a flour-based baked and shaped food product. In most countries biscuits are typically hard, flat, and unleavened. They are usually sweet and may be made with sugar, chocolate, icing, jam, ginger, or cinnamon. They can also be savoury, similar to crackers. Types of biscuit include sandwich biscuits, digestive biscuits, ginger biscuits, shortbread biscuits, chocolate chip cookies, chocolate-coated marshmallow treats, Anzac biscuits, biscotti, and speculaas.

Duck

Duck

Duck is the common name for numerous species of waterfowl in the family Anatidae. Ducks are generally smaller and shorter-necked than swans and geese, which are members of the same family. Divided among several subfamilies, they are a form taxon; they do not represent a monophyletic group, since swans and geese are not considered ducks. Ducks are mostly aquatic birds, and may be found in both fresh water and sea water.

Pork rind

Pork rind

Pork rind is the culinary term for the skin of a pig. It can be used in many different ways.

Goose

Goose

A goose is a bird of any of several waterfowl species in the family Anatidae. This group comprises the genera Anser and Branta. Some other birds, mostly related to the shelducks, have "goose" as part of their names. More distantly related members of the family Anatidae are swans, most of which are larger than true geese, and ducks, which are smaller.

Risalamande

Risalamande

Risalamande is a traditional Danish dessert served at Christmas dinner and julefrokost. It is made of rice pudding mixed with whipped cream, sugar, vanilla, and chopped almonds. It is served cold with either warm or cold cherry sauce (kirsebærsovs).

North America

Canada

In English-speaking Canada, Christmas dinner is similar to that of Britain. Traditional Christmas dinner features turkey[37] with stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, and vegetables. Other types of poultry, roast beef, or ham, are also used. Pumpkin or apple pie, raisin pudding, Christmas pudding, or fruitcake are staples for dessert. Eggnog, a milk-based punch often infused with alcohol, is also popular around the holiday season. Other Christmas items include Christmas cookies, butter tarts, and shortbread, which are traditionally baked before the holidays and served to visiting friends at Christmas and New Year parties, as well as on Christmas Day.

In French-speaking Canada, traditions may be more like those of France. (See Réveillon.) Other ethnic communities may continue to use old-world traditions as well.

United States

Christmas traditions in the United States have eclectic origins, with predominant ones from the United Kingdom in most states. However, many others traditions are also celebrated, due to many years of influence from Europe (Spain, Scandinavia, Italy, France, the Netherlands, Germany, etc.) as well as more recent influence from Latin American regions like Florida and the Caribbean.[38] Therefore, the substrate of the meal usually is British in origin: roasted root vegetables as a side dish, mashed potatoes, gravy, and the centerpiece being a stuffed roasted fowl (pheasant, goose, duck, or turkey) or an expensive cut of roasted beef or beef Wellington. In the South, an area that has a very high concentration of people of UK extraction from centuries past, Christmas is the time of year in which many variations on a country ham or Christmas ham get served. This is an older British tradition that would predate the Victorian tradition of Dickens and his turkey and go back into medieval England, brought by poorer classes who could not afford the turkey that was fashionable among wealthier men in the Stuart era.[39] Cookies of many kinds have been present in America for hundreds of years and often are either gingerbread, snickerdoodles, or sugar cookies baked throughout December and fashioned into many shapes and figures.

Fruitcake is similar to the traditional British Christmas pudding; however, it serves more as a national joke, often lampooned as an unwanted Christmas gift.[40] The comic Johnny Carson once quipped, "The worst Christmas gift is fruitcake… There is only one fruitcake in the entire world, and people keep sending it to each other, year after year.".[41] Many foreigners are skeptical of this fact, but indeed there is some truth to it: Manitou Springs, Colorado, holds an annual event in which unwanted fruitcakes are tossed in a contest to see who can throw the "gift" the farthest, with the locals building trebuchets and contraptions that are forbidden to have an electric motor.[42] An elderly gentleman from Tecumseh, Michigan once made national news when he presented his countryman with the fact that he still had a fruitcake his great-grandmother baked in 1878, and thus was over 130 years old. As of 2018, the same fruitcake is believed to be still at large in the care of one of his grandchildren, proving Mr. Carson had a point.[43]

Alcohol and cocktails (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) of all kinds are staples for both Christmas parties and family gatherings, where harder drinking is done amongst adults and youngsters usually get served soft drinks or a non-alcoholic version of what their parents drink, drinks like the Shirley Temple. A typical menu would include any combination of planter's punch, Kentucky bourbon and the cocktails that can be made from it, wines from California, Washington, Virginia, or New York of many varying vintages meant to complement the meal prepared by the host, Prosecco from Italy, hard cider from New England and California, wassail, Puerto Rican or Jamaican rum, champagne and other domestic sparkling white wines, and for individual cocktails the alcoholic version of eggnog, the poinsettia, and the Puerto Rican coquito, a cocktail composed of large amounts of coconut milk and rum.

In Florida and other Latin American regions in the Caribbean, including pockets of other east-coast U.S. cities, Spanish ancestry has a marked influence on the way Christmas is celebrated. Lechon, a spit-roasted piglet, is the mainstay of the meal, not turkey or ham. About one month earlier, Turkey would have already been a centerpiece of the meal for Thanksgiving in some families. The crackling from the pig is a delicacy.

West of the Mississippi, Mexicans have had a great influence over the way the meal is prepared, including roasting corn in its husk and serving biscochitos.

Further regional meals offer diversity. Virginia has oysters, ham pie, and fluffy biscuits, a nod to its English 17th-century founders. The Upper Midwest includes dishes from predominantly Scandinavian backgrounds such as lutefisk and mashed rutabaga or turnip. In the southern US, rice is often served instead of potatoes, and on the Gulf Coast, shrimp and other seafood are usual appetizers, and Charlotte Russe chilled in a bed of Lady Fingers (called just Charlotte) is a traditional dessert, along with pumpkin and pecan pies.[44] In some rural areas, game meats like elk or quail may grace the table, often prepared with old recipes: similar foodstuffs likely graced the tables of early American settlers on their first Christmases.

An Italian American meal for Christmas Eve can be the Feast of the Seven Fishes, Pannetone and struffoli are favored desserts in such cases.

It is a common tradition among many Jewish Americans to eat American Chinese food on Christmas because these are often the only establishments open on the holiday in many cities.[45][46][47]

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Roast beef

Roast beef

Roast beef is a dish of beef that is roasted, generally served as the main dish of a meal. In the Anglosphere, roast beef is one of the meats often served at Sunday lunch or dinner. Yorkshire pudding is a standard side dish. Sliced roast beef is also sold as a cold cut, and used as a sandwich filling. Leftover roast beef may be minced and made into hash.

Eggnog

Eggnog

Eggnog, historically also known as a milk punch or an egg milk punch when alcoholic beverages are added, is a rich, chilled, sweetened, dairy-based beverage. It is traditionally made with milk, cream, sugar, egg yolks, and whipped egg whites. Distilled spirits such as brandy, rum, whisky or bourbon are often a key ingredient.

Continental Europe

Continental Europe

Continental Europe or mainland Europe is the contiguous continent of Europe, excluding its surrounding islands. It can also be referred to ambiguously as the European continent, – which can conversely mean the whole of Europe – and, by some, simply as the Continent. When Eurasia is regarded as a single continent, Europe is treated as a subcontinent, and called as European subcontinent.

Italy

Italy

Italy, officially the Italian Republic, is a country located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, in Southern Europe; its territory largely coincides with the homonymous geographical region. Italy is also considered part of Western Europe. A unitary parliamentary republic with Rome as its capital and largest city, the country covers a total area of 301,230 km2 (116,310 sq mi) and shares land borders with France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia and the enclaved microstates of Vatican City and San Marino. Italy has a territorial exclave in Switzerland, Campione. With over 60 million inhabitants, Italy is the third-most populous member state of the European Union.

France

France

France, officially the French Republic, is a transcontinental country predominantly located in Western Europe and spanning overseas regions and territories in the Americas and the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. Its metropolitan area extends from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean and from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea; overseas territories include French Guiana in South America, Saint Pierre and Miquelon in the North Atlantic, the French West Indies, and many islands in Oceania and the Indian Ocean. Due to its several coastal territories, France has the largest exclusive economic zone in the world. France borders Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Monaco, Italy, Andorra, and Spain in continental Europe, as well as the Netherlands, Suriname, and Brazil in the Americas via its overseas territories in French Guiana and Saint Martin. Its eighteen integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 km2 (248,573 sq mi) and contain close to 68 million people. France is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre; other major urban areas include Marseille, Lyon, Toulouse, Lille, Bordeaux, and Nice.

Netherlands

Netherlands

The Netherlands, informally Holland, is a country located in Northwestern Europe with overseas territories in the Caribbean. It is the largest of four constituent countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The Netherlands consists of twelve provinces; it borders Germany to the east, Belgium to the south, with a North Sea coastline to the north and west. It shares maritime borders with the United Kingdom, Germany and Belgium in the North Sea. The country's official language is Dutch, with West Frisian as a secondary official language in the province of Friesland. Dutch Low Saxon and Limburgish are recognised regional languages, while Dutch Sign Language, Sinte Romani and Yiddish are recognised non-territorial languages. Dutch, English and Papiamento are official in the Caribbean territories.

Germany

Germany

Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central Europe. It is the second most populous country in Europe after Russia, and the most populous member state of the European Union. Germany is situated between the Baltic and North seas to the north, and the Alps to the south; it covers an area of 357,022 square kilometres (137,847 sq mi), with a population of almost 84 million within its 16 constituent states. Germany borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, and France, Luxembourg, Belgium, and the Netherlands to the west. The nation's capital and most populous city is Berlin and its financial centre is Frankfurt; the largest urban area is the Ruhr.

Florida

Florida

Florida is a state located in the Southeastern region of the United States. Florida is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the northwest by Alabama, to the north by Georgia, to the east by the Bahamas and Atlantic Ocean, and to the south by the Straits of Florida and Cuba; it is the only state that borders both the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. Spanning 65,758 square miles (170,310 km2), Florida ranks 22nd in area among the 50 states, and with a population of over 21 million, is the third-most populous. The state capital is Tallahassee and the most populous city is Jacksonville. The Miami metropolitan area, with a population of almost 6.2 million, is the most populous urban area in Florida and the ninth-most populous in the United States; other urban conurbations with over one million people are Tampa Bay, Orlando, and Jacksonville.

Beef Wellington

Beef Wellington

Beef Wellington is a steak dish of English origin, made out of fillet steak coated with pâté and duxelles, wrapped in puff pastry, then baked. Some recipes include wrapping the coated meat in a crêpe or parma ham to retain the moisture and prevent it from making the pastry soggy.

Country ham

Country ham

Country ham is a variety of heavily salted ham preserved by curing and smoking, associated with the cuisine of the Southern United States.

Christmas ham

Christmas ham

A Christmas ham or Yule ham is a ham often served for Christmas dinner or during Yule in Northern Europe and the Anglosphere. The style of preparation varies widely by place and time.

Gingerbread man

Gingerbread man

A gingerbread man is a biscuit or cookie made of gingerbread, usually in the shape of a stylized human being, although other shapes, especially seasonal themes and characters are common.

Oceania

Australia

Christmas dinner, although eaten at lunch time, in Australia is based on the traditional English versions.[48][49][50] However, due to Christmas falling in the heat of the Southern Hemisphere's summer, meats such as ham, turkey and chicken are sometimes served cold with cranberry sauce, accompanied by side salads or roast vegetables. Barbecues are also a popular way of avoiding the heat of the oven. Seafood such as prawns, lobster, oysters and crayfish are common, as are barbecued cuts of steak or chicken breasts, drumsticks and wings. In summer, Australians are also fond of pavlova, a dessert composed of fruit such as strawberries, kiwifruit and passionfruit atop a baked meringue, with whipped cream. Trifle is also a favourite in Australia at Christmas time. Fresh fruits of the season include cherries and mangoes, plums, nectarine and peaches. Introduced by Italian Australians, panettone is widely available in shops, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne.

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Cranberry sauce

Cranberry sauce

Cranberry sauce or cranberry jam is a sauce or relish made out of cranberries, commonly served as a condiment or a side dish with Thanksgiving dinner in North America and Christmas dinner in the United Kingdom and Canada. There are differences in flavor depending on the geography of where the sauce is made: in Europe it is generally slightly sour-tasting, while in North America it is typically more heavily sweetened.

Prawn

Prawn

Prawn is a common name for small aquatic crustaceans with an exoskeleton and ten legs, some of which can be eaten.

Lobster

Lobster

Lobsters are a family of marine crustaceans. They have long bodies with muscular tails, and live in crevices or burrows on the sea floor. Three of their five pairs of legs have claws, including the first pair, which are usually much larger than the others. Highly prized as seafood, lobsters are economically important, and are often one of the most profitable commodities in coastal areas they populate.

Crayfish

Crayfish

Crayfish are freshwater crustaceans belonging to the clade Astacidea, which also contains lobsters. In some locations, they are also known as crawfish, craydids, crawdaddies, crawdads, freshwater lobsters, mountain lobsters, rock lobsters, mudbugs, baybugs or yabbies. Taxonomically, they are members of the superfamilies Astacoidea and Parastacoidea. They breathe through feather-like gills. Some species are found in brooks and streams, where fresh water is running, while others thrive in swamps, ditches, and paddy fields. Most crayfish cannot tolerate polluted water, although some species, such as Procambarus clarkii, are hardier. Crayfish feed on animals and plants, either living or decomposing, and detritus.

Strawberry

Strawberry

The garden strawberry is a widely grown hybrid species of the genus Fragaria, collectively known as the strawberries, which are cultivated worldwide for their fruit. The fruit is widely appreciated for its characteristic aroma, bright red color, juicy texture, and sweetness. It is consumed in large quantities, either fresh or in such prepared foods as jam, juice, pies, ice cream, milkshakes, and chocolates. Artificial strawberry flavorings and aromas are also widely used in products such as candy, soap, lip gloss, perfume, and many others.

Kiwifruit

Kiwifruit

Kiwifruit or Chinese gooseberry is the edible berry of several species of woody vines in the genus Actinidia. The most common cultivar group of kiwifruit is oval, about the size of a large hen's egg: 5–8 centimetres in length and 4.5–5.5 cm in diameter. It has a thin, fuzzy, fibrous, tart but edible light brown skin and light green or golden flesh with rows of tiny, black, edible seeds. The fruit has a soft texture with a sweet and unique flavour.

Trifle

Trifle

Trifle is a layered dessert of English origin. The usual ingredients are a thin layer of sponge fingers or sponge cake soaked in sherry or another fortified wine, a fruit element, custard and whipped cream layered in that order in a glass dish. The contents of a trifle are highly variable and many varieties exist, some forgoing fruit entirely and instead using other ingredients, such as chocolate, coffee or vanilla. The fruit and sponge layers may be suspended in fruit-flavoured jelly, and these ingredients are usually arranged to produce three or four layers. The assembled dessert can be topped with whipped cream or, more traditionally, syllabub.

Cherry

Cherry

A cherry is the fruit of many plants of the genus Prunus, and is a fleshy drupe.

Mango

Mango

A mango is an edible stone fruit produced by the tropical tree Mangifera indica. It is believed to have originated in the region between northwestern Myanmar, Bangladesh, and northeastern India. M. indica has been cultivated in South and Southeast Asia since ancient times resulting in two types of modern mango cultivars: the "Indian type" and the "Southeast Asian type". Other species in the genus Mangifera also produce edible fruits that are also called "mangoes", the majority of which are found in the Malesian ecoregion.

Italian Australians

Italian Australians

Italian Australians are Australians with Italian ancestry. Italian Australians constitute the sixth largest ancestry group in Australia, and one of the largest groups in the global Italian diaspora. At the 2021 census, 1,108,364 Australian residents nominated Italian ancestry, representing 4.4% of the Australian population. The 2021 census found that 171,520 were born in Italy. In 2021, there were 228,042 Australian residents who spoke Italian at home. The Italo-Australian dialect is prominent among Italian Australians who use the Italian language.

Panettone

Panettone

Panettone is an Italian type of sweet bread originally from Milan, usually prepared and enjoyed for Christmas and New Year in Western, Southern, and Southeastern Europe as well as in South America, Eritrea, Australia, the United States and Canada.

South America

Brazil

In Brazil, the Christmas meal is quite a feast, (served in the evening on 24 December) offering large quantities of food, such as a wide variety of dishes which include roast turkey, fresh vegetables, luscious fruits[51] and Brazil nuts. Accompanying these are bowls of colorful rice and platters filled with ham and fresh salad (sometimes cold potato salad is also served). Also, some parts of Brazil feature roast pork or chicken. Red wine, white wine, and apple cider are common alcoholic beverages. Other Christmas items include a variety of desserts such as lemon tart, nuts pie, chocolate cake and also Panettone.

Peru

On Christmas Eve (Noche Buena), the extended family join for a dinner of roast turkey,[52] and white rice seasoned with garlic. Roast potatoes and uncooked sweetened apple puree are often served as well. The main dessert is panettone. It is usually accompanied by a cup of thick hot chocolate. Less common desserts include a special marzipan made out of Brazil nuts (due to the scarcity and expense of almonds in Peru) and assorted bowls with raisins and peanuts. At midnight, a toast is made, and good wishes and hugs are exchanged. A designated person runs to put Child Jesus in the Nativity scene. Then, the family members take their seats in the dining room while singing Christmas Carols.

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Lemon tart

Lemon tart

A lemon tart is a dessert dish, a variety of tart. It has a pastry shell with a lemon flavored filling.

Chocolate cake

Chocolate cake

Chocolate cake or chocolate gâteau is a cake flavored with melted chocolate, cocoa powder, or both.

Panettone

Panettone

Panettone is an Italian type of sweet bread originally from Milan, usually prepared and enjoyed for Christmas and New Year in Western, Southern, and Southeastern Europe as well as in South America, Eritrea, Australia, the United States and Canada.

Hot chocolate

Hot chocolate

Hot chocolate, also known as hot cocoa or drinking chocolate, is a heated drink consisting of shaved chocolate, melted chocolate or cocoa powder, heated milk or water, and usually a sweetener like whipped cream or marshmallows. Hot chocolate made with melted chocolate is sometimes called drinking chocolate, characterized by less sweetness and a thicker consistency.

Marzipan

Marzipan

Marzipan is a confection consisting primarily of sugar, honey, and almond meal, sometimes augmented with almond oil or extract.

Toast (honor)

Toast (honor)

A toast is a ritual during which a drink is taken as an expression of honor or goodwill. The term may be applied to the person or thing so honored, the drink taken, or the verbal expression accompanying the drink. Thus, a person could be "the toast of the evening", for whom someone "proposes a toast" to congratulate and for whom a third person "toasts" in agreement. The ritual forms the basis of the literary and performance genre, of which Mark Twain's "To the Babies" is a well-known example.

Nativity scene

Nativity scene

In the Christian tradition, a nativity scene is the special exhibition, particularly during the Christmas season, of art objects representing the birth of Jesus. While the term "nativity scene" may be used of any representation of the very common subject of the Nativity of Jesus in art, it has a more specialized sense referring to seasonal displays, either using model figures in a setting or reenactments called "living nativity scenes" in which real humans and animals participate. Nativity scenes exhibit figures representing the infant Jesus, his mother, Mary, and her husband, Joseph.

Source: "Christmas dinner", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2022, December 3rd), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas_dinner.

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