photo: Roasted duck served during a Christmas dinner

Christmas is a festive season widely celebrated around the world in December. Families and friends get together for an intimate gathering and feast on scrumptious spreads for dinner. Traditionally, a standard Christmas meal includes an oven-roasted stuffed turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy and vegetable medly1.

In the United Kingdom, Christmas dinners are usually served in the day2. A British Christmas meal will have roasted turkey or goose as the star dish. The number of guests will determine the selection between the two main dishes due to varying portion sizes. Other side dishes include roasted potatoes with thyme and steamed vegetables. Cranberry sauce is served as dipping. The meal is completed with a Christmas pudding, known as plum pudding with brandy butter2.

The above-mentioned tradition is also adopted in the United States, along with other European dining customs2. The same staples served in a Christmas dinner in the United Kingdom can also be found in a Christmas meal in the United States such as oven-roasted turkey, squash and cranberry sauce2. However, ham and roast beef are popular alternatives in the United States since turkey is the star dish during Thanksgiving2.

Meanwhile, in Denmark, the usually consumed Christmas meal features a roasted duck, goose or pork3. The dish is paired with potatoes, red cabbage and gravy. It is finished with a serving of dessert namely rice pudding with an almond in it. It is believed that the lucky diner who has an almond in the dessert is entitled to a present known as ‘the almond gift’2.

Over in the Philippines, there are eight classic dishes served during the festive period3. Some of those dishes include the must-have Christmas ham, crusted with brown sugar crumbles or glazed with syrup. It can be savored on its own or paired with bread and goat cheese. Keso de Bola, a native’s term for Edam cheese, is also served during Christmas that is enclosed in a paraffin shell. It is believed that this dish was first brought to the country by a Swedish doctor who had migrated there3.

While Christmas is widely celebrated in most countries, it is not as popular in Japan4. This could be due to the Japanese population having a small number of Christians residing in Japan4. However, a marketing campaign in the 1970s convinced Japanese about the attractiveness of fried chicken and it has now become a staple dish at the end of the year.

Christmas fruit cake served as dessert


  1. CBC News. (2013). Is turkey still king? [online] Available at: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/is-turkey-still-king-how-canadian-holiday-food-traditions-are-changing-1.2466006
  2. Listverse. (2008). Top 10 International Christmas Dinners. [online] Available at: http://listverse.com/2008/12/22/top-10-international-christmas-dinners/
  3. The Kitch. (2014). Christmas Food of the Philippines. [online] Available at: https://www.thekitchn.com/christmas-in-the-philippines-christmas-around-the-world-198478
  4. Telegraph UK. (2015). What’s eaten for Christmas dinner around the world? [online] Available at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/food-and-drink/features/whats-eaten-for-christmas-dinner-around-the-world/