Christmas Around the World

Christmas Around the World: Celebrating with Food

Publish Date November 18, 2022 5 Minute Read

Christmas is fast approaching, and it’s time to prep for the big day! If you’re in the United States, you may be baking sugar cookies with your family. If you’re in the Philippines, you might be stocking up on charcoal in preparation of your pig roast. If you’re in Peru, it’s possible you’re stirring up a hot chocolate that, instead of enjoying next to a fire, you’ll sip under the warm, summer sun. Christmas traditions around the world, long molded by culture and customs, are unique for every area, yet no matter where you look, cuisine plays a major role in the revelry. On this page, we’re looking at how different countries use food to celebrate Christmas around the world.

Christmas in Mexico

Honored from December 16 to January 6, Christmas in Mexico involves weeks of candlelit processions, parties and fireworks. During this time, there are multiple opportunities to enjoy special holiday dishes, both in big celebrations and small meals with those closest to you. Around Christmas, one of the foods you’re most likely to find are tamales, which are so popular that tamale-making parties, known as Tamaladas, are often held in preparation of the season.

Other popular foods include:

  • Pozole
  • Romeritos
  • Bacalao
  • Ponche navideño and salads, like this bright and refreshing Christmas Eve Salad

Christmas in the Philippines

Celebrated from September to January, the Philippines embrace the Christmas spirit longer than any other country in the world. This momentous holiday includes important traditions like adorning buildings with parol, an ornamental lantern, and caroling, as well as multiple large feasts filled with delicious foods and drinks. If you’re attending a holiday party in the Philippines, you’re likely to find dishes such as:

Christmas in Germany

In Germany, many cities kick off their Christmas celebrations in late November or early December by lighting decorated Christmas trees in front of city hall and hosting festive markets throughout the month. Here, gifts are exchanged on December 24, and December 25 and 26 are filled with family, fun and food. On the menu, you’ll find beloved holiday dishes such as:

For dessert, you’re likely to spot:

Christmas in Ireland

With its family-oriented culture, Christmas in Ireland is a magical time filled with both big, spirited reunions and quiet evenings in with the family. Here, Christmas dinner is a lavish, all-day affair, involving multiple courses and libations. For this meal, you’re likely to find:

  • Spiced beef
  • Roast turkey served with stuffing
  • Sauces

Additionally, you're likely to enjoy multiple types of potatoes like:

To quench your thirst, reach for:

Christmas in Peru

Christmas in Peru is an incredibly festive time, but they don’t all celebrate with snow. Since December marks the beginning of the summer here, some people enjoy a warm and sunny holiday season. However, despite the temperature, hot chocolate, which has a long and important history, is a crucial part of the holiday observance. Throughout the month of December, family, friends and neighbors get together to drink homemade Hot Chocolate, eat panettone bread and socialize at unique gatherings known as Chocolatadas. When it comes to the holiday meal, you’re likely to find:

  • Baked turkey
  • Rice
  • Tamales
  • Salads overflowing with fresh, seasonal fruits

Christmas in Italy

Christmas in Italy kicks off on December 8, with the feast of the Immaculate Conception, and is celebrated until January 6 of the following year, ending on a day known as the Epiphany or Three Kings’ Day. With a whole month of merriment and festivities, there’s plenty of time to indulge in traditional Italian holiday dishes, including:

  • Baked pastas
  • Braised beef
  • Lasagna Bolognese

In Italy, it’s common to avoid meat on Christmas Eve. On this day, which is known as the Feast of the Seven Fishes, many choose to eat seafood, such as:

  • Salted cod
  • Clams
  • Calamari

At the dessert table, you’ll be able to treat your sweet tooth to:

Christmas in the United States

In the United States, the weeks surrounding Christmas are full of merriment and cheer. You can find themed markets and fairs in almost every town and hear holiday music on practically every radio station, but it’s the special foods that people look forward to the most. A traditional Christmas meal in the United States may consist of:

Sweets are also immensely popular during this time, including:

  • Building and eating gingerbread houses
  • Baking pies
  • Decorating cookies
  • Enjoying seasonal candies

No matter where in the world you are, Christmas is full of holiday cheer, togetherness, meaningful traditions and lots of delicious food. Keep the holiday magic going with inspiration, decorations, gifts and more Christmas recipes at our Holiday Shop. Or find everyday recipes, kitchen hacks and DIY projects at our blog, The Fresh Lane.