Christmas Food Traditions

Wanting to bring a little culture and conversation to Christmas dinner? Try celebrating by borrowing the traditional dinner from another country!

Argentina – celebrated barbecue style (11pm)

To ease you into adding some culture you can start here, they serve roasted turkey, pork, or goat, stuffed tomatoes, and salads. Dessert includes Christmas bread and puddings like ‘PanDulce’ and Panetone!

Armenia – evening

Since it is traditional to fast the week before Christmas Eve, the meal is lighter to ease the stomach back into eating. Christmas Day dinner tends to be more substantial but both include fish, a mixture of chickpeas and chard, as well as a yogurt/wheat soup called tanabour. Desserts may be as simple as dried fruits and nuts, or as extravagant as the dessert made from corn starch, flour and grape jelly!

Australia – lunch time

Imagine Christmas in July and that is how the Aussies celebrate. Backyard cookouts and barbecues with seafood like lobster and shrimp are served on both Christmas Eve and day.

Austria, Denmark & Slovakia

Christmas Eve Dinner serves fried carp as the main course after a day of fasting which includes no meat. Desserts include chocolate, apricot cake, and Austrian Christmas cookies.

Bangladesh & India

Chicken and vegetable delicacies, mostly curries, served with rice and vegetables. In Bangladesh, traditional desserts vary from area to area but typically include versions of pitha (sweet rice cakes) and payesh (rice pudding).


They go all out with starter courses which mostly include drinks and seafood. Followed by the main meal which, similar to the US, is usually a stuffed turkey. Desserts include a chocolate Christmas Log, a rolled sponge cake with a layer of cream.


Here picana is a traditional soup made from meat such as chicken, beef/lamb and pork combined with potatoes and corn. You may not expect it but the meals often include a great deal of tropical fruit!


Popular meats include pork, turkey, and ham. Meats are traditionally served with salads, rice cooked with raisins, and a bread-like dish known as farofa. It’s hot this time of year in Brazil so traditional desserts include tropical fruit and ice cream!


The meal consists of mostly things considered delicacies in the United States, such as roast goose with chestnuts, oysters, foie gras, lobster, venison and aged cheeses. Like many other places, a special type of sponge cake known as a Buche de Noel is typically served.

Italy – Very Late Christmas Eve

It is common to fast from meat and sometimes dairy all day on Christmas Eve. Before Midnight mass a light meal, often consisting of seafood, is served. After Mass, a traditional Italian Cake called Panettone may be served up alongside a steaming hot cup of cocoa or drinking chocolate!


Very different from the United States, the menu includes dishes such as herring, small sweet pastries, dried fruit soup, beet soup, vegetable salad, mushrooms, potatoes, sauerkraut, porridge, and bread. Normally water, homemade cider, or a cranberry drink accompanies the meal as well!

Puerto Rico

Pork roast cooked on a spit is known as Lechon Asado is a very popular Puerto Rican dish. The roasting process starts in the morning and takes all day! In addition, they often serve it up with plantains, pasteles, and a rice dish made with pigeon peas and pork.

Sweden – lunch time buffet

Interestingly, cold fish and meats are popular Christmas dishes. Other cold food may include cheese, liver pate, salads, pickles, as well as bread and butter. Warm foods vary widely but typically center on appetizers like fare such as sausages, stuffed cabbage rolls, jellied pig feet, dried cod and pork ribs. Like in the U.S., potatoes are a typical side dish. Their preferred potato recipe is known as Janssons Frestelse, which is a rich casserole consisting of layered matchstick potatoes baked with onion and cream until bubbly and golden brown, yum!

So many ways to bring a little bit of the rest of the world into a very special holiday!