International Recipes and Cooking Around the World

Christmas: Recipes and Traditions

Christmas gingerbread house

Image © iStockphoto

The celebration of Christmas takes place on December 25th every year. It commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ, whom Christians consider the Son of God and Savior of mankind. Favorite Christmas traditions include exchanging gifts with family and friends, lighting and decorating Christmas trees, singing carols, drinking eggnog and baking all manner of sweets and treats.

Christmas food traditions vary widely around the world. Puerto Ricans make pasteles. Germans roast goose or duck. The British prefer roast turkey. And Mexicans steam enormous batches of tamales.

Traditions differ from family to family, but a typical Christmas Eve dinner is a relatively simple affair, sometimes followed by nighttime church services. Gifts are exchanged on Christmas morning, followed by a large family meal.

International Christmas Recipes


Bowl of pozole blanco

(Mexican pork and hominy stew)


Puerto Rican pasteles, wrapped and unwrapped

(Puerto Rican savory cakes in banana leaves)


Freshly steamed nacatamal

(Honduran, Nicaraguan meat and vegetable-filled tamales)


Fresh coconut

(Puerto Rican coconut-rum beverage)


Alfajores (South American dulce de leche sandwich cookies)

(South American dulce de leche sandwich cookies)


An olla filled with atole

(Mexican warm cornmeal beverage)


Rumtopf (German rum-soaked fruit dessert)

(German rum-soaked fruit dessert)


Bigos (Polish hunter-style-stew)

(Polish hunter's stew of meat, cabbage and sauerkraut)


Eggnog Recipe (American egg and cream Christmas beverage)

(American egg and cream Christmas beverage)


Pavlova (Australian meringue with whipped cream and fruit)

(Australian meringue with whipped cream and fruit)


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