For many, Christmas is much more than a holiday and the chance to spend time with friends and family, it’s the opportunity to (over) indulge in all sorts of beautiful foods from orange-stuffed Christmas puddings, sausages wrapped in bacon and, at least here in the UK, more than the odd few turkey sandwiches. In this post we’ve asked Cheapflights’ employees what typical Christmas dishes can be found on their Christmas dinner tables. Here goes, 125 dishes from destinations worldwide.


Christmas food from around the world

Christmas in Germany:

In Germany families celebrate on 24 December, usually by attending Church, singing Christmas songs, opening presents and then enjoying a huge dinner. The 25th is often celebrated with a big Christmas lunch where the extended family (including grandparents, uncles and cousins) get together.

The Raclette is a kitchen device and everyone gets a small pan, fills it with different things such as salami, ham, mushrooms, onions, corn, peppers, and, most importantly, the special Raclette cheese, and grills it slowly. One usually eats potatoes with it along with pickled silverskin onions, garlic butter, mushrooms and salami. Grilled meat or scampi is also placed on top of the Raclette.

Christmas Raclette Party

Other popular German Christmas table items (for 25 December) include:

Goose with dumplings and red cabbage
Roast goose with green cabbage

Christmas in Japan:

While Christmas is not celebrated widely in Japan (as few Japanese are Christians) there are several customs which have come to Japan from the USA, including the giving of Christmas cards and presents.

Christmas is not a national holiday in Japan, so schools, shops and business are normally open on 25 December and the day is largely viewed as an opportunity to spread happiness rather than for religious reasons. That said, Christmas Eve is often celebrated more than Christmas Day, and there are some interesting items on the Christmas table.

Japanese-style Christmas table

Fried chicken is often eaten on Christmas Day, and, rather bizarrely, it is the busiest time of year for restaurants such as KFC where local people can place orders at their nearest fast food restaurant up to two months in advance for take away.

KFC in Japan

Christmas in Ireland:

In Ireland the main celebration is on 25 December with a big Christmas lunch. The evening of the 24th is usually spent preparing for the following day and going to Midnight Mass (unfortunately these days, it is rarely held at midnight). The food on Christmas day is very similar with traditional UK Christmas food and includes stuffing, roast potatoes, roasted root vegetables (carrot and parsnip), turkey and ham as well as Christmas pudding and brandy butter. The Irish also have a celebratory evening meal on St. Stephen’s Day (the 26th). Spiced beef is a traditional Irish dish which is eaten on that day.

Christmas in Chile:

Pan de Pascua is a traditional Christmas Chilean cake. It is similar to a sweet sponge cake and is flavoured with ginger and honey.

Christmas in France:

In France, the evening of the 24th is often spent eating nibbles, watching Christmas films and then opening Christmas presents at midnight. On the 25th there is often a big family dinner which can last up to eight hours. Five items which will definitely be on the table are:

Foie Gras
Buche de Noel
Turkey with chestnuts

Christmas in Argentina:

In Argentina, families get together to have a big dinner on Christmas Eve and they gather again the following day for another big lunch. As it is summertime, many people go to the countryside or to the beach.

Meat is a staple at the Christmas table in Argentina, as well as lots of wine, beer and, of course, Sangria.


Lechón al horno – Pork with roast vegetables
Cabrito asado – Grilled goat chanfaina

Christmas in Guatemala:


Christmas in South Africa:

In South Africa it wouldn’t be uncommon to have a Braai (Afrikaans for “barbecue” or “grill”) on Christmas Day, South Africa-specific items might include:



Peppermint Crisp fridge tart
And for the serious braai man, Potjiekos.

Christmas in Nigeria:

There is normally a church service on Christmas Eve at around 8pm which turns into a party with fireworks until the early hours of Christmas Day. People get up early on the 25th and head back to church for another service in their new outfits (it’s traditional to go to the tailor and get a new outfit made for the event). Five dishes that are popular in Nigeria at Christmas include:

Traditional Nigerian Jollof rice and chicken
Goat stew
Moin-moi: (blended black eyed beans, mixed with vegetable oil and diced liver, prawns, chicken, fish)
Pepper soup

Christmas in England:

Brussels sprouts
Sizzling sausages enveloped by streaky bacon
Christmas pudding
Traditional Christmas ham
Roast potatoes

Christmas in Finland:

At Christmas time in Finland guests can enjoy a traditional display of Christmas food called Joulupöytä, which is similar to the Swedish smorgasbord. Dishes include:

Freshly salted salmon (Gravlax Graavilohi)
Lutefisk and Béchamel sauce
Rutabaga casserole (Lantukas), which is otherwise known as swede.
Rosolli (salad from boiled beetroots, carrots, potatoes, apples and pickled cucumber.
Karelian pasties, rice pasties, served with egg-butter (Karjalanpiirakka)

Christmas in Hungary:

Roast Goose
Bejgli – pastry roll filled with poppy seeds or walnut
Szaloncukor – a type of sweet traditionally associated with Christmas in Hungary. It is usually made of fondant covered with chocolate

Christmas in Romania:

Sarmale (rolls of cabbage pickled in brine and filled with meat and rice)

Christmas in New Zealand:

Christmas Pavlova
Mince pies
Brandy snaps

Christmas in Lithuania:

The traditional dishes are served on 24 December, and 12 dishes representing the 12 Apostles or 12 months of the year play the main role in Lithuanian Christmas tradition.

Slizikai – traditional Christmas Eve Lithuanian speciality.

Christmas in Jamaica:

Rice and peas

Christmas in Colombia:


Christmas in Iceland:

Red pickled cabbage
Smákökur – small cookies

Christmas in Brazil:

Rabanada (French toast):

Roast pork
Farofa – Raw manioc flour roasted with bacon or smoked meat, spices, butter and salt.

Christmas in the Philippines:

Pancit – Filipino style noodle dish made with sliced meat and vegetables
Bibingka – A filipino cake typically made with rice flour, sugar and chicken eggs. Additionally, a soft cheese is added as well as salted duck eggs. The baked cake is cooked in a clay or wood-fired oven before being topped with freshly grated coconut.
Puto bumbong – a purple-coloured Filipino dessert made of sweet rice cooked in hollow bamboo tubes placed on a special steamer-cooker.

Christmas in Trinidad:

In Trinidad, Christmas is celebrated on 25 December with a huge meal usually consisting of:


Sorrel drink

Ponche creame

Christmas in Serbia:

Christmas Bread (Česnica)

Christmas in Portugal:

Arroz con gandules – yellow-rice and pigeon peas with olives, capers, and pieces of ham.

Christmas in Mexico:

Ensalada de Noche Buena. Traditional Mexican Christmas Eve salad.
Tamales – Some Mexican families, particularly in the northern part of Mexico and southern American states have tamales only at Christmas Eve instead of the typical Bacalao, Romeritos and/or Turkey.

Christmas in Venezuela:

Pan de jamón

Christmas in Poland:

Christmas Eve is a big celebration, but the food is limited to the borscht and fish (with no meat). Then it’s midnight mass, followed by a feast. Carp provides a main component of the Christmas Eve meal across Poland, while some of the other most popular Polish Christmas dishes include:

Christmas table in Poland
Borscht ((beetroot soup) with uszka (ravioli) – Classic Polish Christmas starter.)
Makowiec (a poppy seed roll cake)
Pickled herrings

Christmas in Canada:

Pumpkin pie
Cranberry sauce
Mince pies
Gingerbread houses

Christmas in Denmark:

Danish pancakes – sprinkled with sugar and often served with raspberry or strawberry jam.
Brun Sovs (brown sauce). Traditionally, this is use to cover meat dishes including roasted pork and duck as well as boiled potatoes.
Flæskesteg – roast pork steak with crackling

Christmas in Sweden:

Köttbullar – Swedish meatballs
Fläskkorv – pork sausage
Revbensspjäll (spare ribs)
Gravad lax

Christmas in Norway:

Baked svineribbe (Pork ribs)
Pepperkake – gingerbread-like spice cookies flavoured with black pepper
Pinnekjøtt is a festive dish of lamb or mutton typical to Western Norway. It’s often served with puréed swede and potatoes, beer and akevitt.

Christmas in Spain:

Christmas dinner is served on the 24th while a lunch is also enjoyed on the 25th. While the Christmas menu varies depending on which region you live in, some of the most common Christmas food items include:

Seafood, especially king prawns
“Turrón”. Spanish nougat (“turrón”, typical Christmas dessert). Combining minced almonds and honey.
Typical Spanish mazapán
Cava, the Catalonian sparkling wine

Christmas in Italy

In Italy, Christmas dishes once again vary by region, but here are a handful of regional festive dishes:

Pandoro (Verona)
Prosecco (Veneto) and spumante or Asti (Piedmont)
Panettone (Milan)

Christmas in the USA:

On Christmas Eve we bake sugar cookies using cookie cutters and toppings, this is for the kids and they do the toppings, some will be left out with a glass of milk for Santa Claus.
Egg Nog with Rum
Christmas Turkey
Christmas desserts are lots of raspberry tarts, lemon pie treats, some granola treats with chocolate frosting and, of course, cookies.

Have we missed your favourite Christmas dish? Please feel free to share it in the comments box below.

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About the author

Oonagh ShielContent Manager at Cheapflights whose travel life can be best summed up as BC (before children) and PC (post children). We only travel during the school holidays so short-haul trips and staycations are our specialities!

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