Holiday food traditions: FoodSided’s holiday food memories revealed


For many of us, holiday food traditions are part of cherished holiday memories. From favorite meals to family gatherings, FoodSided and the FanSided community share some special holiday food moments.

December can be an abundant food month. What might start with just a few holiday cookies can turn into a lavish table filled with a feast of seven fishes. For many people, holiday food traditions are favorite holiday memories. From making a gingerbread house to the infamous Christmas jell-o mold, those food traditions are part of the holiday celebrations. The holiday doesn’t seem complete without them.

Recently, I asked our FoodSided contributors and other members of the FanSided community to share some of their favorite holiday food traditions. While we all celebrate the holidays differently, one theme runs through all the stories. Food, family and tradition are entwined during the holidays.

Looking at my personal holiday food traditions, some food memories continue from childhood and others have been created recently. Growing up, the holiday dinners were always the same. The Christmas Day feast was a traditional turkey. But, my father was always the chef. Since my mother cooked every day, he thought that he should cook on the holiday. Every year, the meal was the same and it was always delicious.

photo by Cristine Struble

But, the Christmas Day dinner wasn’t the start of the celebration. As we opened presents on Christmas morning, the day started with mimosas. Today, my family starts the Christmas celebration with mimosas, too.

Since a liquid Christmas Day breakfast isn’t a wise choice, our Christmas Day breakfast includes a tradition from my husband’s family. In the morning, we make “Grandma’s coffee cake” from scratch. This recipe handed down in his family is an old-school recipe (it includes Crisco). Still, the smell of a freshly baked coffee cake can even distract a child from all the presents under the Christmas tree.

But, I’m not the only person who has holiday food traditions.

Billy Bologna, FoodSided and JetPress contributor, celebrates Christmas Eve with a traditional feast of the seven fishes. This traditional Italian dinner has multiple courses of fish. According to Billy, he has a huge family who loves food. He said that this year’s holiday celebration looks to have 10-12 types of fish on the menu.

Gabi Ancarola, FoodSided contributor and The Tiny Book author, serves some traditional Italian and Greek dishes for the holiday. This year Gabi will be cook roasted lamb, with sides of potatoes and baked apples. For dessert, a traditional Italian tiramisu will be on the menu because it is her kids’ favorite. Another nod to Italian tradition, she will be serving clementines after dinner. The clementines are colorful, sweet and typical of the holiday season where she lives.

(Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Sandy Perez, FoodSided contributor and expert at Hidden Remote, loves to bake during the holidays. One of her favorite Christmas party memories is baking desserts. With her mom and siblings, they would bake mini-cheesecakes. Today, she continues the family tradition by baking with her kids on Christmas Eve.

Cheryl Wassenaar, editor at Culturess, is preparing for a huge holiday celebration. For her, the holiday is about eating lots of good food and enjoying each other’s company. Her traditional Christmas dinner is a huge, meat lover’s dream with three kinds of meat. Usually the table is set with Polish sausage, ribs and roast beef, or this year ham. In a nod to the why not- the dinner also includes a Jell-O mold. Who doesn’t have room for Jell-O during the holidays?

photo by Cristine Struble

Luis Tirado Jr., expert at JetPress and contributor to AppTrigger, celebrates holiday food traditions with a nod to his heritage. He says that his favorite holiday food is Pernil, a roasted pork. The pork is served with rice and beans. To wash it all down, he prefers an ice cold Coca-Cola. For dessert, Luis loves flan with a Cuban coffee. I agree with Luis on the Cuban coffee, it is a personal favorite of mine, too.

Michael Dunlap, FanSided’s Senior Content Director, remembers more about the time spent together as a family, not just the food itself. In Michael’s family, his grandmother would prepare a holiday meal for 50 guests. According to Michael, his grandmother did everything and never asked for her. Her cooking efforts were all for the love of her family.

Truthfully, Michael’s memory captures the heart behind all our holiday food traditions. Whether we remember each delicious morsel on the plate or laugh at the cooking disaster, the food triggers those cherished memories. Time spent with family and friends is the true gift and favorite tradition for any holiday.

Everyone at FoodSided wishes for you and your family a bountiful holiday table filled with love, laughter and a lifetime of memories.