US bees: If you celebrate Christmas, what do you do and eat on Christmas Day?

posted 11 months ago in Holidays
Post # 2
2892 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2018

EllyAnne :  US bee here, I don’t think Thanksgiving is nearly as special as Christmas, although I’m sure some people feel that way.

My Christmas Eve and Christmas Day/Night plans vary and are a bit more complicated since I’m married now and we have to see both families who live several hours away from each other.

This year my mom, sister and I are going to a drag show on Christmas Eve, followed by a stay-cation at a really nice hotel and going out to a fancy dinner. Christmas Day my husband and I will go to his mothers house and do gifts with them, and an early dinner. Mother-In-Law makes a pasta meal for Christmas. 

The only consistent thing that my husband and I have done the last couple of years on Christmas is end the night at this dive bar next to our apartment, which is really nice to just unwind after being with family for basically two days straight.

Last year some of the older fisherman were getting annoyed by our music choices on touch tunes so we played “Photograph” by Nickleback then left, heard them saying “who did this???” as we walked out. It was hilarious, and our new Christmas tradition.



Post # 3
1603 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2019 - City, State

When I was growing up we lived far away from any extended family, so holidays were always just immediate family. My family isn’t religious at all, so usually we just hung out and watched Christmas movies on Christmas Eve, and we would all open one gift – which was always new pajamas. Usually we’d have ham or turkey for dinner, but nothing formal.

Christmas morning we’d wake up, open stockings, then have coffee and coffee cake, finishing up by opening the “tree gifts.” The rest of the day was usually spent in pajamas, eating candy/cookies/snacks all day, there was never any official meal that day whatsoever.

My fiance’s family however, celebrates his brother’s birthday the day of Christmas eve, goes to 4:30 mass, and then his mom’s side of the family gets together at his grandparents house for dinner and a gift exchange. Christmas morning they do presents, then have a steak dinner at their house with his other grandmother. 

(ETA I am a US bee)

Post # 4
2517 posts
Sugar bee

I’m in the US as well. Christmas and Thanksgiving are pretty similar for my family in terms of both having a big meal and family getting together, but I’d say Christmas is still the “bigger” holiday – for example I’d be fine to do Thanksgiving with friends, but would strongly prefer to be around family for Christmas. Even though I’m not religious Christmas seems like the more “important” holiday. 

I think celebrations really vary by family, but for my family it’s generally holiday movies on Christmas eve, presents on Xmas morning (or whenever guests arrive), and some kind of big lunch or early dinner around the dining table. I think of a traditional Christmas meal as something like a roast or turkey, potatoes or another carb heavy dish, vegetable side dishes, bread, salad, a dessert or two, etc. (Not that different from Thanksgiving, except without TG specific foods like stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie.) We’ll usually watch more Christmas movies after the big meal, maybe play board games or another group activity, or just sit around drinking warm beverages and talking. If there are kids present, also playing with the kids and their new toys. 

Post # 5
3723 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2014

US Bee here. Christmas is definitely a more important/bigger holiday than Thanksgiving, at least in my family. Christmas Eve we spend with my husband’s family and have dinner with them. Christmas Day we go to my parents’ and have lunch/open presents. We then go see my grandmother and extended family on my mom’s side and open presents again (secret santa style). We don’t have a super strict tradition for either of those days, but that’s typically the pattern we follow. 

Post # 6
1373 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

For my family both Thanksgiving and Christmas are big holidays. When we are in the state we live in we go to my parents house Christmas Eve for dinner, and to open presents from what used to be our sister exchange, we’ve added two husbands to that so we can really call it that anymore but we still slip up a lot. Haha. For dinner at my parents for Christmas Eve we just have tons of appetizers. At end the night we all get into our cars and go to see Christmas lights.

On Christmas Day my husband and I stay at home. We open the presents from each other, FaceTime his parents in the afternoon. And relax most of the day. For dinner on Christmas my husband and I have started a new tradition of having prime rib. 😋


This will be our second time going to his parents house for Christmas since he moved here (they live 3000 miles away), so I have no idea what to expect. Haha and we still haven’t figured out dinner. D.H is trying to talk his mom into getting the prime rib. 


Eta: also a US bee

Post # 8
3066 posts
Sugar bee

In Puerto Rico, the traditional menu for Christmas Eve dinner is roasted pork, rice with pigeon peas, pasteles (made from plantain and stuffed with ground beef, raisins among other ingredients), morcillas (a slightly  spicy sausage), coquito (a drink made from coconut milk and white rum), and tembleque de coco (coconut pudding):

In terms of celebration, the “parrandas navideñas” are very traditional: a “musical” visit to friends or family, it’s usual to walk along the street before getting to the house you intend to visit, and others might join you as well. If the “parranda” is done as a surprise in the late evening/dawn hours, it’s an “asalto navideño”, and the family “must” host their guests. If you don’t  open your door to your guests, it’s considered an insult. In fact, most Puerto Ricans pride themselves in hosting as many “asaltos” as possible.

We also go to Misa de Gallo (Rooster’s Mass?) on Chistmas Eve, at midnight.

It’s been said that Puerto Rico has the longest Christmas, as we also celebrate the Epiphany on January 6; we call it the Day of the Three Kings (the Wise Men). There’s a town in Puerto Rico called Juana Díaz which is famous for its Three Kings Day celebration. Another tradition is the “Promesa de Reyes”, where a family or community has prayed to the Three Kings and hosts a celebration in gratitude, with a procession and aguinaldos (traditional Christmas songs with a religious component). On the eve of the Three Kings Day, children gather grass to feed the camels of the Three Kings, and the next day,  they receive gifts. To close the Christmas festivities, the Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián are held in Old San Juan during the second week of January. 

Post # 11
693 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2018

EllyAnne :  Christmas Eve we always celebrate at my SIL’s house and always eat steak and shrimp for dinner. We exchange gifts with the inlaws and my stepdaughter opens all her gifts that night, because she’s with her mom every Christmas Day. On Christmas Day, my husband, daughter and myself do stockings and presents at our house and then usually relax until dinner at my MIL’s house. We eat whatever she makes lol. This year it’s prime rib. I don’t remember what we had last year.

Post # 12
2017 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2018

I’m from New Zealand and it’s summer here so quite different.

We sometimes go to midnight mass. Not sure this year. I’d like to.

We get up, have a yummy breakfast of probably croissants with camembert cheese and bacon.

Then we are spending Christmas day with in-laws this year. We alternate. 

We are hoping Christmas day won’t rain so we can sit outdoors in the sun drinking cocktails, bubbly and punch. We will probably play yard games like croquet. Lots of Kiwis go to the beach and swim plus have  a bbq. 

We then have dinner outside. Turkey, ham, roast potatoes, lots of salad. Then dessert this year will be trifle with lemon curd, a hazelnut gateau and then a Christmas pudding. Mother in law is English and insists.

Christmas in the sun is all I’ve known. I’m definitely dreaming of a white christmas .

We have 2 weeks off work so I’m planning on lots of beach time, road trips, boxing day shopping and eating.

Post # 13
10650 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: January 2011

I’m in Canada and with so many different backgrounds I think there’s a fair bit of diversity related to Christmas celebrations.

For my Mom’s side, the Christmas Eve meal was more important and they did move it to the 24th but they used to have their big celebration on Jan 6th.  The 6th/7th was always still recognized but much smaller after switching it.  Darling Husband and I have started doing more hosting stuff in Jan because of all the different family celebrations, plus it helps to spread out the present opening for the little ones.

My family Christmas Eve (altered the traditional meal due to allergies) – kutia, perogies, cabbage rolls, perishke, meatballs, sweet pickles, veggies dishes that we switch up depending on who is present – brussel sprouts, boiled or roasted carrots, broccoli and cheese sauce, roasted winter squash,  sweet potatoes, salad.

His family Christmas Eve is appetizers – meatballs, lots of dips, shrimp, mini quiche, etc.

Christmas Day breakfast – it varies, but usually wifesaver (an egg/ham/pepper casserole dish) and then fruit pancakes, waffles, sausage, bacon.  I remember when with relatives I would often have a bit of wifesaver and lots of perogies that were leftover from the night before and would also grab chocolate in the morning too.

Christmas Day dinner – turkey, sometimes ham, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy some of the veggies from above, cranberries sauce, my family will have cabbage rolls, his family has buns.

Boxing Day my grandparents would do a ham before my grandpa retired (Christmas ‘bonus’ for my grandpa).  My aunt would bring meatballs for the 2 of us because we don’t like ham.  Later another Aunt and Uncle used to always get Chinese food.  If we didn’t travel out to see them we didn’t have a specific tradition, typically it was leftovers.

Other traditions like when we would open gifts would vary depending on where we were.  We always did stockings in the morning but that changed based on significant others and what worked best.

Post # 14
4030 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

I am Italian and live in jersey. Christmas Eve is the bigger of the two holidays mostly because of the feast of the seven fish. This is a tradition that was around when my grandparents lived in jersey. Unfortunately they moved to Florida so now we have switched to just Christmas and do it big on Christmas Day instead. It’s been at my MILs the last four years and will also be there this year as well. 

As far as the food goes: There 4 courses of the meal. First is all the cold and hot antipasto: meats, cheeses, olives, veggies, every pepper you could imagine, salads, eggplant rollatini, clams oreganato, stuffed artichoke, stuffed mushrooms, stuffed peppers, shrimp cocktail. 

next is the lasagna and baked manicotti. 

Then the turkey dinner with all the fixings, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, string beans, biscuits, corn on the cob, cranberry sauce. 

Then of course the desserts are last, pumpkin and apple pies, cheesecakes, chocolate cakes, cookies, pastries.

its like just way too much food but that’s how we roll. And it has to be done like this every single year. 

Post # 15
1336 posts
Bumble bee

claroquesi :  Drooling.  I was in Puerto Rico a good 7 years ago and STILL think about the food.  No Puerto Rican restaurants in my area. wah wah.

EllyAnne :  My husband and I spend Christmas day with just our family (us + 2 pups).  Not sure what we’ll eat yet.  We plan to go see the movie Vice.  If I can sweet talk my husband into it we will go to the Asian buffet that I love but he is not so fond of for dinner.  Something brunch-y at home earlier in the day with champagne/belinis.  We used to do the drive around to various family christmas parties and I LOVE that we quit that whole stressball.  We host his family on xmas eve and we host my family for a “12th night” party.  I am a huge fan of spacing out the holiday with post 25th events and cheer.  It’s less stressful and it doesn’t give such an abrupt, deflating end to the holiday and all the work that went into it.       

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