Christmas Day meal traditions vary widely around the world, incorporating local flavors and ingredients into celebratory meals. Exploring Christmas menus globally offers a glimpse into long-held food customs, preparation methods, and communal dining experiences unique to each location.

Tradition and Variety

The most wonderful time of year is filled with beloved culinary traditions, bringing families and friends together to feast on labor-intensive holiday meals. Across continents, home cooks utilize seasonal produce, specialty baked goods, heirloom recipes, and locally sourced proteins to honor festive food customs.

Though ingredients and preparation techniques may differ drastically from country to country, love and care shine through in every Christmas Day celebration worldwide.

Signature Christmas Dishes From Prominent Countries

Roast Turkey (United Kingdom)

A centerpiece of British holiday meals, roast turkey is typically accompanied by cranberry sauce, gravy, roast potatoes, and minced pie for dessert. Alternate Christmas entrées like glazed ham, goose, or prime rib are also common.

Bûche de Noël (France)

Evoking images of Yule logs, this rolled sponge cake is frosted to resemble tree bark and filled with chocolate buttercream or ganache. Other French Christmas sweets include fruit-studded bread and almond cake.

Panettone (Italy)

Dried fruit stud this sweet yeast bread, which is dusted with powdered sugar after baking. Panettone is served alongside the spiked espresso beverage known as caffè corretto.

Pernil (Puerto Rico)

A baked pork shoulder that’s seasoned boldly with a garlic-citrus marinade makes frequent appearances on Puerto Rican holiday tables, typically accompanied by rice, beans, and tostones.

Pork Roast and Lefse (Norway)

Norwegian Christmas dinners highlight pork rib roast, meatballs, and lamb ribs with sides like sauerkraut, lingonberry sauce, and creamed Brussels sprouts. Lefse, a beloved potato flatbread, is often served with butter or cinnamon sugar.

Gingerbread (Germany)

Decorative gingerbread houses and cookies are displayed around Christmas Day as edible works of art, crafted intricately with royal icing and candy. Other German holiday treats include stollen, sugar-dusted spice cakes studded with nuts and fruit.

Iconic Holiday Sweets Served Around the World

Pfeffernüsse (Germany)

These small, round spice cookies pack a peppery bite and hard, crunchy texture. Baked with warming flavors like cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg, pfeffernüsse cookies are commonly decorated with powdered sugar or icing.

Pan de Pascua (Chile)

Meaning Easter bread, this sweet, dense cake contains dried or candied fruit, is leavened with yeast, and brushed with syrup after baking. It’s traditionally served around Christmas Day in Chile.

King Cake (New Orleans, USA)

This coffee cake-style dessert is topped with shiny purple, green, and gold sugars. King cake traditionally contains a small plastic baby figurine said to bring luck and prosperity to whoever finds it in their slice.

Baklava (Greece)

Thin layers of phyllo pastry are stacked with chopped nuts and soaked in floral-scented honey for this rich, decadent Mediterranean dessert. Common additions include rosewater, orange or lemon zest.

Hong Kong Egg Tarts (China)

A beloved regional treat, these individual tarts have a cookie-like pastry crust filled with warm, creamy egg custard and subtle flavors of vanilla and brown sugar.

Regional Christmas Dinner Menus Spotlight

Scandinavia – pickled herring, pork roast, risgrynsgröt

Smoked, cured fish is served alongside roast pork or Swedish meatballs. A rice porridge called risgrynsgröt with an almond hidden inside is typically served for dessert.

Eastern Europe - beet soup, pierogi, fruit compote

Chilled beet soup starts the meal, followed by tender dumplings called pierogi filled with sauerkraut, mashed potatoes, or fruit. Poached pears, apples, or plums round out the menu in a lightly spiced compote.

South America - tamales, roasted meats, rice pudding

Corn husks wrap meat fillings that are steamed or roasted for this classic preparation. Herb-rubbed beef, chicken, or pork are commonly roasted as the main course, with creamy, cinnamon-laced rice pudding for dessert.

A Global Bounty for Your Table

As tables on Christmas Day span continents, common threads like generosity, celebration, and gathering together become apparent. Though holiday meals may feature culturally unique components, the spirit behind festive food traditions remains decidedly universal.

At Fresh Farms, our international selection brings flavors from around the world right to your Christmas dinner table. We offer the freshest seasonal fruits, vegetables, baked goods, and more to allow you to craft festive dishes that span cultures and customs.

Bring the spirit of global tradition home by ordering online. Fresh Farms provides everything you need to embark on a worldwide culinary journey this Christmas, all without leaving your kitchen.