Christmas dinner is the main meal traditionally eaten on Christmas day around lunch time or early evening. Since most major Christmas events take place on Christmas Eve itself, Christmas dinner is often seen as the main event of the day. The entire family gathers together to eat this rather large meal which is considered a royal gastronomical affair. The tradition of getting together for the Christmas dinner is similar to the traditional English tradition of the Sunday meals, with the exception that the food at
Christmas dinners is of a decidedly higher quality. It also includes some extra items which are not part of regular Sunday meals like ‘Pigs in blankets' (sausage wrapped in bacon), and the various different kinds of potatoes, generally mashed or roast.
The most significant feature of a Christmas dinner is the Christmas turkey, which makes a grand Christmas centerpiece. It is tradition to cook the turkey at home and the women spend hours, making the stuffing and roasting the turkey till its perfect. In America, the turkey continues to be used for about two weeks after Christmas as a filling for delicious leftover turkey sandwiches.
Besides the food, Christmas dinners resemble Sunday dinners in a few other ways, for instance only the best cutlery is used for the dinners, consuming good white wine and even Christmas crackers to an extent.
Christmas Dinner In The United Kingdom
The modern day tradition of Christmas day dinners is said to have originated in England hundreds of years ago. For the English, Christmas Dinner is an indispensable part of Christmas day. The meal usually consists of brandy butter, bread sauce, Christmas pudding (plum sauce), cranberry sauce, roast turkey, roast vegetables and stuffing.
A Christmas dinner at its traditional best.
However, the turkey hasn’t always been part of this traditional English Christmas dinner. In medieval England, the main course was generally a peacock or a boar. It was only after the French Jesuits imported turkey into England in the 1700’s did the trend catch on and the rest as they say is history. Turkey has immortalized itself by occupying the pride of place at a Christmas dinner. The turkey's wishbone is used to make a wish, a tradition which is quiet common in the UK. A mutual pair will usually pull at the two opposite ends of the wishbone, whoever gets the larger part of the bone gets to make a wish.
Christmas Dinner In The United States
Many Christmas customs that are practiced in the United States have been adopted from those in the United Kingdom. As such the mainstays of the English Christmas dinner are much the same as an American Christmas dinner; cranberry sauce, turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie, and green beans are all very common. Corn is a particular favorite during most holidays even during Thanksgiving when the pilgrims landing in Massachusetts in 1620 is celebrated . Regional meals vary from one to another, the South has grits and Whiskey cake, Hawaii has Turkey teriyaki, Virginia has oysters and ham pie, and so on. Another tradition with holiday meals in the United States is grace.