What Do People Eat at Christmas?

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There is a lot of joy that Christmas brings and everyone has their own traditions. Among them is all the food! Christmas is notorious for the abundance of food, both at Christmas dinner and the lead-up to the festivities. If you’re planning your first Christmas dinner, don’t forget to include these necessities.

What do people eat at Christmas? It is a magical time when you can get together with friends and family. It makes sense to share a large meal and gather with your loved ones. Traditional Christmas dinner includes turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and gravy. While vegetables such as carrots and brussels sprouts are included, they are definitely not the main attraction. Enjoy a sip of warm mulled wine and don’t forget to leave room for dessert. The English tradition of Christmas pudding is a crowd favorite if you drizzle brandy on top of it and light it on fire. For more American meals, serve pie, either pumpkin or pecan. And, if you have some leftover baked goods, why not add them to the mix.

Finally, make sure there are plenty of leftovers. Nobody wants to cook after Christmas, so make sure you can craft the perfect turkey sandwich and use the turkey bones for a hearty soup.

10 Most Popular Christmas Foods

Every household has its Christmas traditions, and Christmas dinner will always look different. However, there are some truly popular Christmas foods that you are almost always guaranteed to see.


Not only is turkey delicious, but this large bird produces enough meat to feed a whole table full of people. Turkey is synonymous with Christmas and is served in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.


When you have a large bird such as a turkey, it’s key to take advantage of all its parts. While there are many recipes, most stuffing consists of bread, celery, and onions.

Spices such as oregano and rosemary are often added, and you can also include sausage. Once mixed together, the stuffing is stuffed into the cavity of the turkey where it soaks up extra flavor.

If you have a smaller turkey, you can still make stuffing and just cook it in a separate dish. However, it is then technically called dressing.

Mashed potatoes

While there are some Christmas cooks who like to cook roast potatoes, mashed potatoes are still the more common iteration. Boil your potatoes and then use some old-fashioned elbow grease to mash those potatoes.

You can add extra flavor in the form of garlic, parsley, butter, and buttermilk.


Before you get rid of the water your potatoes were boiled in, be sure to save it for your gravy. The starch in the water will help to create a thicker gravy.

Add the potato water to the drippings from your turkey and add salt and pepper to taste. If it is still too thin, you can always use a bit of cornstarch.

Brussels sprouts

Most people either love or loathe brussels sprouts but a Christmas table just wouldn’t be the same without them. You can always try to mask their pungent taste with maple syrup or bacon.


Carrots might be a bit boring, but when the meal has a lot of carbs, it’s important for some balance. You can steam your carrots or roast them.

Cranberry sauce

With its bold color, cranberry sauce adds both texture and taste to a meal. You can dip your vegetables in it or spread it on your turkey.


Fresh, flaky rolls, still warm from the oven are the perfect side dish for a Christmas meal. Make sure there is plenty of butter to melt inside of them.

Mulled wine

It’s usually cold at Christmas, so why not warm up with some mulled wine? Made from red wine and spices such as cinnamon and star anise, this is a perfect drink to have in front of a roaring fire.

Christmas pudding

Yes, even after a giant meal, dessert is still served. A traditional English dessert is Christmas pudding. It is made days in advance and has dried fruit inside it.

As a special treat, drizzle brandy on top of the pudding and light it on fire. The alcohol will burn off in a delightful blue flame.

What food do Americans eat at Christmas?

While Americans eat similar Christmas foods, they do have slightly different traditions.

The biggest factor is that American Thanksgiving is only a month prior to Christmas, so many Americans are tired of turkey. As a result, brisket or prime rib is more common for the main meat item.

Ham is also a different choice to go with. Not only is it large enough to feed many people, but it is sometimes a more affordable option than turkey. Many Christmas dinners will include both ham and turkey.

Americans also love sweet potatoes and often substitute this side dish for regular potatoes. Add plenty of brown sugar and even mini marshmallows for a very sweet treat at dinner.

While Christmas pudding is traditional in England, it isn’t common in many American households, although you will see it more often in Canadian homes.

Instead, Americans often serve pie. Pumpkin pie is a traditional Christmas dessert, as is pecan pie.

What is traditional for Christmas dinner?

A traditional Christmas dinner will have turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, and vegetables. However, you can add or subtract as you would like.

Also, you want to make more food than you actually need to feed all your guests. The day after Christmas is about relaxation and nobody wants to cook then.

Leftover turkey sandwiches are a mainstay and don’t forget to use the turkey bones for some comforting soup.

Christmas is also all about baking. You can expect a platter of yummy treats after the main event. Sugar cookies, shortbread, and other confections are baked throughout December.


There’s a lot to celebrate at Christmas and one of them is the abundance of food. You might want to change into pants with an elastic waistband as you tuck into turkey, stuffing, potatoes, and gravy.

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