HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


Breakfast On The Holidays?

Since my mom has always made HUGE meals for Thanksgiving and Christmas, we have always had a fairly light breakfast (for Southerners). Usually fresh-made (read Pillsbury) Cinnamon Rolls, orange juice, and milk. Not having breakfast was NEVER a consideration (Rule #1 is and always has been: Fat Boy Is Gonna Eat).
Now that I'm all grown up and the kitchen is mine, I continue the tradition, although my Cinnamon Rolls are completely homemade. What is your traditional breakfast on the holidays?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I'm a transplanted Southerner, but some traditions remain. Light breakfast like coffee cake or toast for Thanksgiving followed by the traditional meal in late afternoon.

    Christmas, for us, was a little different- we usually had various family members at our house for at least several days before and after the big day itself, and my parents would make leg of lamb, roast beef and ham on the days before Christmas Eve. We had the traditional big turkey dinner (always with 2 huge turkeys, 1 smoked, 1 stuffed and roasted) on Christmas Eve. On Christmas morning, my dad always made a HUGE breakfast of omelets, waffles, bacon, sausage, fried chicken livers and gizzards, and on and on. Trips to the kitchen for leftovers of the previous several days' meals dominated the rest of the day. :)

    MY DH works in sports media distribution, and so has had to work the last several Thanksgivings and Christmases, which really screws with my traditions!!!

    1. when the kids were here for Christmas, I tried to produce a nice breakfast, and then later that day, a great Christmas dinner. In retrospect, I worked far too hard on food. If I were to do it again, I'd lay out a brunch about midmorning, and make a nice supper later. Kids don't want to eat breakfast anyway--they are too excited. Older kids just want to sleep late. I think this is one day of the year when culinary rules should probably be suspended, and the cook should get a present too.

      When I was an older child my mom started making us sit in front of the Christmas tree and eat breakfast, and then open presents. She usually made ambrosia, an egg dish, and a purchased Christmas stollen. I think she was trying to make that morning memorable for us.

      As I said, I wouldn't try to replicate that experience, if I was living through my child rearing years again. But to each his own.

      1. Coffee and cold pie straight from the fridge (either pumpkin or apple).

        1. giant omlettes are always a must for us on holiday mornings. the carb tends to vary from year to year and holiday to holiday, but rotates between coffee cake, pumpkin pancakes, waffles, and crepes

          1. Christmas morning is always crepes stuffed with mushrooms, eggs and local cheddar. Bacon on the side, mimosas all around.

            1. My momma makes pluckits (aka monkey bread) and what we call Bob Evans casserole. She also usually makes biscuits and gravy and I always slather my casserole with gravy. Yummy. We have had this every single Christmas morning that I can remember. I am now married and moved out on my own, but my husband and I have worked out the holidays so that we can be at my parent's house on Christmas morning. We go to his parents' on Christmas Eve, then stay the night at my mom and dad's. Then back to his Mammaw's for a wonderful Christmas dinner. Love our traditions. :)

              1. Another transplanted southerner here. Now it's eggnog French toast with Grade B maple syrup, sprinkled with macadamia nuts. If you can't gild the lilly at the holidays, when can you?

                1. Thanksgiving breakfast is usually toast or cereal, no different than other days. The day after Thanksgiving breakfast is toasted pound cake.

                  On Christmas, we eat like Hobbits. Breakfast is toast or coffee cake, followed by second breakfast around 10am with potato pancakes and sausage. The rest of the day we graze on leftovers from second breakfast and the goodies from our stockings. We don't do the big family meal until the 26th or 27th, so Christmas day itself is a day or laziness.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: mpjmph

                    Amen to that -- and I like that phrase "eat like hobbits". I was left a widow with 3 children under 5, and on the first Christmas "after" I realized that no one was going to eat anything like Christmas dinner on Christmas morning. So we moved the Big Meal to Boxing Day -- the kids call it the Christmas Feast -- and on Christmas Day we sort of breakfast all day. Croissants, fruit salad, yoghurt, home made bread, cheeses, jams, coffee (with brandy....) and, of course, lots of chocolates. Nothing gets cooked. Wonderful for Mother -- especially in the days when I was up until 3 a.m. decorating the tree and being Santa.

                    1. re: mwright

                      Similarly, my father died when I was 7 and my brother was 11, leaving my mom to pull off Christmas on her own for a few years. Plus, my brother's birthday is the 24th and mine is the 17th, so she had just pulled off 2 birthdays.

                      Even before that, our family felt strongly that small children should be at home on Christmas, and it's just too much to deal with Christmas morning and then drive across the state for the big meal with extended family, so we just pushed it back a day.

                      Now that us kids are all grown and don't yet have kids of our own, we've started putting off the big family gathering until mid-January (MLK day weekend).

                      1. re: mwright

                        breakfast all day long sounds like my idea for a perfect day

                    2. Christmas morning is Eggs Benedict, Cajun spiced home fries, Mimosa's, store bought hungarian/slovak Nut Roll. I didn't grow up with the tradition but after my girls (now adults) were born we started it.

                      1. I've never cooked a big breakfast on the holiday in my life. I used to get doughnuts as a special treat for the kids sometimes.

                        1. We do brunch at my house around 10 (after the presents) 2 quiches 1 veggie 1 whatever sounds good. mini bagels toasted with smoked fish and the trimmings. Something sweet a coffe cake or muffins. Bloody marys and coffe round it out. We go to my Mom's for dinner around 4. It is so mellow everyone just relaxes enjoys eachothers company.

                          1. As kids, my mom wrapped a donut(wrapped) and orange and a small cereal box that was the bowl.

                            Now we have "David's Pancake" which is a recipe from the NY Times. We have been having this for at least 10 years and I'm not allowed to vary the menu.

                            David Eyre’s Pancake

                            Adapted from Craig Claiborne

                            1/2 cup flour

                            1/2 cup milk

                            2 eggs

                            3 tablespoons butter

                            1 tablespoon sugar

                            confectioner’s sugar (to taste)

                            fresh lemon juice (to taste)

                            Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, flour, and tablespoon of sugar. Melt the butter in a 12-inch skillet or ovenproof dish. Pour the batter into the pan or dish and bake for 20 minutes or until the pancake puffs up and turns golden brownSprinkle with the confectioner's sugar and lemon juice. Watch it quickly deflate and serve immediately.


                            (can't make this a clicky)

                            1. We get lox, bagels and cream cheese the day before. This makes it much easier on those of us who've stayed up 'til 4 wrapping presents.

                              I also have a french toast recipe that sits in the fridge overnight and is just thrown in the oven in the morning:

                              HOLIDAY FRENCH TOAST serves 6

                              1/2 c brown sugar, 1/4c melted butter, 1 1/2 t cinnamon, divided, 2 smallish tart apples, peeled, cored, and sliced, 1/4 c raisins or dried cranberries, 1/2 loaf Italian or French bread, cut into 1" slices, 3 eggs, 3/4c milk, 1 1/2 t vanilla

                              Combine brn. sugar, butter, and 1/2 t cinnamon in a 2" high 8x8" baking dish. Add fruits; toss to coat well. Spread evenly over bottom of baking dish. Arrange bread slices on top.
                              Mix eggs, milk, vanila, and remaining 1 t cinnamon until well-blended. Pour over bread, soaking bread completely. Cover and refridgerate 4-24 hours.

                              Bake, covered with foil, in a preheated 375-degree oven for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake 5 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes. Serve warm.

                              Note: if you're using a glass dish, remove it from the fridge about an hour before putting it in a hot oven.

                              1. I'm usually up early, prepping for T'giving dinner. SO usually some kind of easy pastry like a pull-apart made with refrigerated biscuits. The thing that is constant, though is kahlua in my coffee for the parade on that day, and New Year's. ha! I'll be at my folk's place this year for T'giving, so may have to forgo the booze in the morning. maybe.

                                1. Crepes stuffed with fruit and topped with Grand Marnier whip cream. Set it up as a buffet with a variety of fresh and frozen fruits and berries. Juice, coffee and bacon filled the menu.

                                  Aebleskivers are also a favorite, but you really need a pan per every three people to keep a flow of fresh ones going. Served with jams, butter and honey with Canadian Bacon or sausage.

                                  1. I know I am going to be doing a lot of cooking on Thanksgiving and on Christmas, so I want to make it easy for myself for breakfast, even though there is usually a houseful of guests. Thus I always serve something that can be assembled the day before and baked in the morning. Over the years I've assembled quite a repertoire of such recipes, including various kinds of baked French toast, breakfast casseroles, etc. I serve the main course with fresh fruit salad.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: bitchincook

                                      i think im gonna go with some form of overnight cinnamon buns this year for just that reason!

                                    2. Thanksgiving breakfast is usually fresh squeezed oj and champagne. We get up insanely early to prep and by 10am, a mimosa feels about right. Add to that all the sausage we pick out of the stuffing recipe and we are good to go until appetizer time.

                                      For Christmas, I do something special like a crab stratta or lobster quiche.

                                      1. Thanksgiving is whatever you pick up whenever you get up; we spend it on the Outer Banks in NC, so one brother's usually up before the sun with his thermos of coffee and out to surf fish. My SIL sometimes does the Turkey Trot. I get up later, because I can, and my husband, me and my Dad putter about in the kitchen prepping for the dinner. Mom watches. I'll have coffee, grab a half a bagel, chop something, husband will prepare the bloodies around 11, and then we'll slide into champagne near noon. Throw the bird in and then take the dog out for a walk on the beach if it's not raining.

                                        Christmas is at my parents' and breakfast consists of kielbasa and slices of my aunt's homemade nut roll that we got at her house Christmas Eve. With champagne (have you noticed a trend?) then opening presents in between prepping for a full-day feast. There's shrimp to be peeled, lobster claws to be cracked, all sorts of things to be done. Dad used to plan a full day of apps and snacks and then a huge meal, but has scaled back on the meal because everyone would end up too full by the time it was served.

                                        1. We have always had Stollen, a German Christmas cake, for breakfast on Christmas morning. A yeast based bread (not too sweet) filled with dried fruit and topped with powdered sugar. It makes me homesick just writing about it!

                                          1. I always make this "French Toast Casserole" that I threw together some years ago. I only make it for Christmas and Thanksgiving--but with some prodding from my kids when they visit, I've been known to make it every now and then. It is rich and gooey and tasty and a gazillion calories, but is heaven with a strong cup of coffee: I take 2 baguettes and slice them and let them sit out till they get somewhat stale. Then I place the slices in a buttered, rectangular baking dish. Then I get a big bowl and smash two bananas till they are really gooey. Then I get two cans of sweetened condensed milk and add them to the bananas. Then I add some Mexican vanilla. 5 beaten eggs gets thrown in next. About a half cup heavy cream. I mix this really well and pour over the bread slices, making sure it all gets soaked up. Then I dot with brown sugar and butter and bake. I serve it with home-made caramel sauce and more condensed milk. Totally disgusting but for the holidays--an absolute must!

                                            1. Thanksgiving is an "every man for himself" kind of breakfast, get what you can in between al the cooking. I might have some refrigerated/Pillsbury sweet rolls as my now grown kids loved them young and it's still a bit of a treat. Christmas is coffee, tea and juice while opening gifts. Then a big breakfast-- slow cooked scrambled eggs (in double boiler), sausages, bacon, sometimes Taylor ham if I can get (I'm the only one to eat this), English muffins, homemade rolls, storebought stollen, fresh fruit salad. The rest of the day is eating leftovers after an annual neighbor's open house.