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The American Christmas Table

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Now that Thanksgiving is over we can focus on Christmas. As much as I love the Thanksgiving dinner, it is very predictable. Every table will have turkey, some variation of stuffing, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie, etc...

In my view Christmas is where America's cultural and ethnic diversity shines. My mom's family used to always have lutefisk and lefsa on Christmas Eve. Christmas day was a production with prime rib, baked potatoes, salads, rolls, and a ton of desserts. I know some Mexican families that get together nd make a ton of tamales, and some Eastern European families that do a ton of pierogies.

What are your Christmas traditions and where do they come from?

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  1. Tourtiere on Christmas Eve, a Mussel and Foie Gras dinner a couple of weeks before Rib Roast and Spoon Bread Christmas night

    1. Polish Christmas eve tradition = Wigila....like the Italian Feast of the 7 Fishes...no meat eaten. Catholic Poles share Oplatek, which is like a communion wafer.

      1. being English we have pretty much the exact same food at Christmas as we had yesterday, so it will be turkey again with all the fixings (no sweet potatoes though and no pecan pie). The Brits have roast potatoes not mashed and of course Christmas pudding with brandy butter and mince pies.

        1. As a kid in KC the family usually substituted a Ham and a Beef Roast for the Turkey. We've continued that in the PNW with the addition of Salmon and Crab if we're lucky.

          1. For me it would tend to be a fish dish, such as hering or carp on Christmas Eve. Either duck, goose, or ham on Christmas day--not so crazy about Turkey. Around Christmas, the season I suppose, potato pancakes.

            1. We used to have lutefisk and lefse on Christmas Eve, and Swedish meatballs. But, no one really likes lutefisk, and since it's usually just our immediate family (now down to 4, oldest is married and lives far away), we've stuck with Swedish meatballs for Christmas Eve, but forget about ham and turkey for Christmas Day, we do prime rib, cheesy potatoes, peas. Eggs Benedict for breakfast.
              I tried looking for lutefisk last year when my parents were at our place, but no one in town had it. darn. ;-p

              1. Growing up we had another turkey dinner on Christmas Day. But Mr. Sueatmo grew up eating ham sandwiches on Christmas Eve, and I don't think they did a big dinner the next day. We ate our big dinner on Christmas Day, and I usually served ham for Mr. Sueatmo's sake. I've learned after many, many hams, that I don't like most ham. I would search high and low for a particular brand of local ham, and I finally had to give up when it either became unavailable or the business disbanded. At any rate, I never could find a good ham after that.

                Elsewhere I've written that I think I worked too hard to produce a memorable Christmas experience for my family, and I think having a type of buffet or open house, if you've got local family that will stop by, is easier on the cook. For Christmas Eve, I say order a pizza, or make one to suit yourselves. Go to church, or watch Christmas movies. or go caroling or drink hot chocolate. Whatever works for you. But I wouldn't ever try to do so much on that holiday, if I had to do it over again. This is just my experience.

                1. Due to our dysfunctional family, I end up at 5 different Christmas dinners between christmas eve and the 26th. theyve all traditionally had a couple meats that usually were turkey and ham with the rare tenderloin plus the usual sides like macaroni/cheese, mashed potatoes, green beans, corn, etc.

                  as "my generation" (those of us 20-35) have become more involved, i've pushed to change it up some by volunteering to do meats. thats turned into ribs, brisket, smoked turkey. im pushing for an italian theme for christmas dinner this year, but it'll probably take me volunteering to do the entire thing to make it happen.

                  1. We're Italian and make homemade ravioli to have for Christmas dinner. There is usually some kind of meat: pork loin, roast beef, etc but I fill up on ravioli as we only have them once a year. There are 8-10 of us involved in making them. We make several hundred of them. Thank god for the KitchenAid pasta roller attachment. The old hand-cranked one was BRUTAL!