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Christmas dinner


Christmas dinner

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Christmas dinner is the main meal traditionally eaten on Christmas day. It is often seen as the main event of the day for which the family all gathers and eats together. In many ways the meal is similar to a standard Sunday dinner however the food is typically of higher quality and includes some extra items that are not a regular part of the meal such as sausage wrapped in bacon (known as Pigs in Blankets) and multiple kinds of potato (usually roast and mash). Christmas dinner's most famous feature is the turkey which occasionally is not only eaten but also makes up a centre piece on the table.

Christmas dinner also has other non-food related differences to Sunday dinner such as the use of the good cutlery, and the presence of Christmas crackers and the drinking of white wine.


Christmas dinner around the world

Christmas dinner around the world may differ and the traditions present here can reflect the culture of where this holiday is being celebrated. Turkey is featured in almost all of these meals.


Due to Christmas falling in the heat of the Southern Hemisphere's summer, meats such as ham and chicken are usually served cold. Prawns (shrimp) is also common, as are barbequed cuts such as steak or chicken wings. Fruits of the season includes mango and cherries.


Christmas cuisine in Austria is very similar to that of Germany because of a cultural and historical relationship between the two nations. Fried carp, and chocolate cake are among the common dishes in Austria during Christmas time.[1]


In Canada, Christmas dinner is similar to that of its colonial ancestor, England, as well as to its neighbour the United States. Traditional Christmas dinner features turkey with stuffing (dressing), mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, vegetables and pumpkin pie for dessert. Eggnog, a milk-based punch that is often infused with alocohol, is also very popular around the holiday season. Other Christmas items include butter tarts and shortbread, which are traditionally baked before the holidays and served to visiting friends, at various Christmas and New Year parties, as well as on Christmas day.

Eastern Europe

In the areas of the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (e.g. Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania), an elaborate and ritualised meal of twelve meatless dishes is served. This is because the pre-Christmas season is a time of fasting, which will be broken on Christmas itself. As is typical of Slavic cultures, great pains are taken to honour the spirits of deceased relatives, including setting a place and dishing out food for them.


In Germany common dishes are roast goose, macaroni salad, marzipan, porridge (reisbrei), spice bars (lebkuchen), stollen (several types of bread, including Christstollen, Dresden stollen, etc.), sucking pig, white sausage.[2]


In Mexico the Christmas dinner is significantly more organic with an emphasis on fruits and vegetables. Common dishes are various fruits (oranges, limes, tropical fruits), salad (composed of several ingredients including jícamas, beets, bananas, and peanuts).

United Kingdom

Christmas dinner in the United Kingdom usually consists of brandy butter, bread sauce, Christmas pudding (or plum sauce), cranberry sauce, roast turkey, roast vegetables, stuffing (or dressing, as it is more informally known in North America).[3]

In England, the evolution of the main course into turkey did not take place for years, or even centuries. At first, in Medieval England, the main course was either a peacock or a boar, the boar usually the mainstay. After the French Jesuits imported the turkey into Great Britain, it became the main course in the 1700s.[3]

A common tradition in the United Kingdom is to use the turkey's wishbone to make a wish. A mutual pair will usually pull at the two opposite ends of the wishbone with the person breaking the larger portion of the bone making a wish.[3]

United States

Many Christmas customs that take place in the United States have been adopted from those in the United Kingdom.[4] As such, the mainstays of the English table are much the same in the United States; cranberry sauce, turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie, and green beans are all very common. Corn is also a holiday favorite, used during Thanksgiving also to celebrate the Pilgrims' landing at Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1620. Regional meals vary from one to another, the South has grits and Whiskey cake, Hawaii has Turkey teriyaki, Virginia has oysters and ham pie, and so on.[5] Another tradition with holiday meals in the United States is grace.


  1. ^ Holiday Traditions — Austria. Retrieved 1 July 2006.
  2. ^ Holiday Traditions — Germany. Retrieved 1 July 2006.
  3. ^ a b c Christmas dinner in England. Retrieved 1 July 2006.
  4. ^ Holiday Traditions — England. Retrieved 1 July 2006.
  5. ^ Holiday Traditions — United States. Retrieved 1 July 2006.

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Christmas Guide, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.

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