chalets in snow

Enjoy Christmas dinner like a local

Whilst you might usually tuck into a nice turkey, nut roast or even goose on Christmas day, Christmas dinner traditions around the world vary quite a bit to those in the UK. So if you are heading away over the Christmas period, these tips give you the best bits to look forward to at the local dinner table.



Like the majority of Europe, Germans tuck into their main meal and open presents on Christmas Eve. One of the most common meats to be served is goose, traditionally accompanied by apple and sausage stuffing, potato dumplings and red cabbage.

Stollen (a German fruit cake) is a common staple when it comes to dessert.



The French traditionally settle down for “Le Reveillon”, a marathon feast fit for kings after midnight mass on Christmas morning. This is usually a luxurious meal that is said to bring prosperity to the household.

Dishes may include lobster, oysters, escargots, game (for the main course) and yule log (for dessert).




Traditionally Poles abstain from eating meat on Christmas Eve and one of the most important dishes for them is carp. In many households, it is also obligatory to have barszcz (beetroot soup); barszcz is commonly served with uszka (small dumplings made with mushroom).



The most common Christmas dishes in Iceland are hamborgarahryggur (ham), hangikjöt (smoked lamb) and rjúpa (ptarmigan – a member of the grouse family).

If you head to Northern Europe over the festive season though, you may also see goose or smoked puffin being served.



On the other side of the Atlantic those in the USA are usually stuffed full of turkey and pecan pie by the time it gets to Christmas, due to celebrating Thanksgiving a month earlier. Roast beef or ham are a common alternative.

A typical American Christmas dessert might be pumpkin or apple pie instead of Christmas pudding or mince pies.

pumpkin pie thanksgiving



Mexican Christmas dinner is a very large family event with the host doing the majority of cooking but guests bringing along some side dishes. Popular foods include tamales (dough, steamed in corn husk or banana leaf), atole (hot corn based beverage) and pozole (stew).



Rather surprisingly, given the heat, some Australians do treat themselves to a roast on Christmas Day. Many avoid the heat of the kitchen however and opt for a barbecue instead, with seafood such as prawns, lobster and crayfish being cooked up.

When it comes to dessert, pavlova is a common favourite in the summer months.


Why not try some local festive cuisine on your winter break? Sign up for VizEat with this link and receive €10 off your first booking. You could use it to book yourself a festive meal on an upcoming trip.

Mariette Ferreira

Mariette Ferreira

Mariette heads up marketing at FairFX. She loves travelling, scuba diving and South Africa, but she's yet to combine all three in one.

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