If Thanksgiving = Turkey, Christmas =?

In my family, the rotation was as follows:

New Year’s Day: Prime Rib
Easter: Lamb
Thanksgiving: Turkey
Christmas Eve: Clam Chowder
Christmas Day: Goose
New Year’s Eve: Ham

The family likes to cook. :slight_smile:

Xmas is usually some sort of beef-based dish for me. Sometimes I’ll make beef bourguignon (though I make it more like a stew than something you’d serve over pasta), or perhaps a lasagna with bolognese sauce. This year I’m cooking two Christmas dinners. For Xmas with my sister and her family, which we’re celebrating a bit early since her, my nephew, and I are all December babies, I’m making beef Wellington. On Xmas myself, I’ll be making my first attempt at cooking a prime rib that a friend of my mother’s is paying for for the three of us.

In my family we don’t really do any special cooking for other holidays, though around St. Patrick’s Day I like to sous-vide a corned beef and make French dip out of it.

Well, OK…

Thanksgiving: Turkey
Christmas: Prime rib
New Year’s: Ham hocks & black-eyed peas, collard greens, and cornbread
Mardi Gras: Jambalaya & cornbread
Easter: Ham and potatoes au gratin
Saint Patrick’s Day: Corned beef and cabbage

Christmas and Easter were typically ham as a kid. I’ve largely continued that because I am very fond of leftover ham sandwiches and ham&beans. Also as an adult I’ve developed a taste for those harder-to-find-at-other-times-of-the-year premium hams. I have done prime rib, but rarely do it myself anymore these days - usually I let one of my step-brothers go that route as that’s his go-to for Christmas. Occasionally turkey. Since I typically do multiple holiday meals (divorced parents that live near me, but avoid each other), I can afford to switch it up a bit and let one faction cook what they like and then cook something different myself.

Never really done a Christmas lasagna, but then I literally haven’t made one of those in a couple of years (lately I always seem to default to poor man’s lasagna - baked ziti). Maybe time to switch things up again :slight_smile:.

I’ve never understood why people have turkey on Thanksgiving and Christmas. It seems like you just get through the turkey leftovers, turkey soup, and leftover turkey soup, and it’s almost turkey time again. I guess if you love turkey, though…

My mother came from Italy, so Christmas Eve meant smelts and pasta with clams and pasta with anchovies. (I guess the Feast of the Three Fishes. Mom’s family was poor, so I guess seven was too many.) Christmas was lasagna. Easter was lasagna, too, though we usually had ham as well.

It has become an issue for me because I do like turkey and the once ubiquitous good-quality hofbrau like my much missed childhood favorite Brennan’s have gone the way of the Dodo in my area. It’s hard to find a quality non-microwaved turkey plate locally year round. Which leads to me wanting to cook turkeys. Which leads to me regretting cooking a turkey as even a small one is big and I can get sick of it faster than I crave it :smile:. At least excess ham is easy to freeze. I do not much care for thawed cooked poultry.

It’s an annoying first-world problem conundrum.

Turkey for Thanksgiving. Prime rib roast for Christmas. Ham at Easter. With pumpkin pie, English trifle, and lemon pie for dessert on those days respectively.

For July 4th, something on the grill, such as steak or bratwurst.

I’m not American–I’m Canadian–but the fall and winter were always turkey celebrations. Thanksgiving at Grandma’s in October was turkey, Christmas at our place was turkey, and New Year’s Day at Grandma’s was turkey. Then, I married an American woman, who just couldn’t do without a traditional American thanksgiving dinner in November, so we had turkey then too. I got turkeyed out in fall and winter.

Now that I’m divorced, and most of my family has passed, and what’s left is in a different city that can be difficult to get to in winter, my solo Christmas dinner is ham. Thanksgiving and New Years are times for takeout pizza or Chinese food.

As discussed upthread, that’s the ‘traditional’ answer that pops into my head, but that’s probably from years of being stuck listening to one of more varieties of Dickens each year.

Now, I’m unusual, not unique, in that as a (rather non-observant) Jew, the Christmas dinners I’ve had are all with in-laws and/or friends. Up until about 5 years ago, Christmas Eve was with all the in-laws and the extended family, where the traditional feast was 6-7 different take and bake pizzas, with a half dozen sides. Christmas day, we’d go over to my M and FiL and open presents and have coffee and various pastries, and then Christmas Dinner with one of our close friends and his family.

That one changed a lot over the years, as myself and said became better and better cooks. The first years where it was all in the hands of his mother, it was a turkey and a ham, sides, and utterly ensozzling eggnog. Then my friend prepped the turkey, with butter rubbed under the skin, and I brought a garlic and rosemary infused leg of lamb. And so forth. The eggnog remained the same, if I remember (not past the third glass though).

One year he did cook a goose - which was wonderful, but the last few stages where he turned up the heat to crisp the skin was indeed a smokefest. So I do understand @DesertDog 's point. One of my favorites for a dish (and one mentioned in other threads) was making a cider basted duck, which has some of the same risks, but a lot fewer (read none) leftovers.

For the 24th (to line up with the German side of the family), a braai is traditional for us. This year, that includes sosaties, wors, pork bangers and a whole snoek in apricot butter. Traditional desserts include a Christmas pud, ice cream cassatta and trifle, but for the past several years I’ve done a pavlova as well.

On Christmas, lunch will be a large gammon and a stuffed roast bird, either turkey or just a couple chickens done different ways. With various veg, and desserts as before. Also, mince pies.

Thanksgiving (not usually a thing here but my in-laws do celebrate it) this year was fish and chips.

Hanukkah latkes!

Likewise, the venerable Harry’s Hofbrau in Santa Clara hath gone where the woodbine twineth. Back in the before-times I used to eat their very regularly.

There were several other locations in the Bay Area. Some of them may still be around.

When my daughter was growing up and I still had people over on the holidays, I would make turkey for Thanksgiving and goose for Christmas. (Mind you, this was in Russia, where goose is (or at least was, 20-odd years ago) still popular.)

I don’t do this any more because it’s just too labor intensive (I can no longer spend long hours standing in front of a stove/oven) and there are always leftovers that eventually spoil. Nowadays I make something much simpler (e.g., Cornish hens or roast beef) and give my daughter at least half of everything to rake home with her.

Either that, or we just go to someplace like Swiss Chalet for their holiday special and bring home doggie bags.

Is Swiss Chalet open on Christmas? That would make my meal so much easier.

I don’t remember Christmas dinner being that big a deal growing up, certainly not with a set menu. But NOT turkey because mom didn’t really do turkey well. To the point that eventually we were able to convince her to stop doing turkey for Thanksgiving as well, at which point we all had another thing to be thankful for.

Several times I’ve done “Jewish Christmas” - a movie followed by Chinese restaurant or take-out.

For some substantial portions of my life, Thanksgiving just wasn’t a thing (much), nor Christmas. Our big fambly get-together was usually for Passover. Chicken soup with matzoh balls and brisket, usually.
You know, the usual.

For other substantial portions of my life, including yesterday, Thanksgiving has been just me and a bag of animal crackers.

Good question. Looks like the one in my neighborhood is doing mostly takeout right now because of COVID-19.

If you don’t like the current restrictions in Ontario, wait a few days. They’ll change.

That’s take home! :angry:

What’s wrong with you people?? Christmas = cookies!!! Sheesh…


Honestly, growing up, I don’t recall a traditional Christmas meal. We went to my maternal grandparents’ house, and I vaguely recall that my grandfather would be shucking oysters for those who ate them. (ick.) But there wasn’t a special meal that day.

Similarly when we’d go either to my parents’ house or my in-laws’ place - we had whatever the host decided to make. More recently, my brother has everyone over to his place for mostly grazing. I take deviled eggs, someone brings sushi, Mom has several specialty appetizers that she’ll make, and my brother will do pit beef on his grill. Plus lots of cookies and trifle and cake, but it’s not even a sit-down meal. We’re just there to hang out, and mostly to enjoy watching the assorted grandkids have Christmas fun.