5 Theme Menus for a Merrier Holiday Meal

By Mikey Rox on 23 December 2010 (Updated 16 December 2011) 2 comments
Photo: alexbrn

Chances are you consume (or prepare, if you’re the ambitious type) the same ho-hum holiday meal on Christmas as you do at Thanksgiving: Turkey or ham surrounded by all the not-so-"savoir" fare like mashed potatoes, candied yams, cranberry sauce, and green bean casser…

Whoops! I nodded off for a sec.

Can you blame me? That menu is boring with a capital “Bump this; I’m making reservations.” And the worst part is, you’ve been having the same meal every Dec. 25th for the past [enter your age — and don’t lie to yourself about it!] years.

This Christmas, do something different — create a nontraditional yuletide menu that your guests never knew they craved all along. (See also: Creating a Memorable Christmas)

As my gift to you, here are five fully fleshed out plans (with recipes) to line the table with fresh, festive foods the whole family will enjoy.

Feliz Navidad

Invite the peregrinos over for ponche con piquete (spiked punch) and a whack at the piñata. Then serve up these south-of-the-border standards.

Santa Heads South

After you hang the stockings by the chimney with care, whip up these cozy backwoods dishes amped up with flair.

Do You Sea What I Sea

You don’t have to live in a picturesque New England cottage to set the table, summon the snow, and pile up the seafood.

Natala in Italia

No need to pack your passport to prepare an authentic Italian feast fit for a pope. Old world meets new with these divine inspirations.

Breakfast Fideles

There’s no law that says breakfast can’t be served as supper. Just in case, keep on your jammies to justify your decision to make morning faves the main course.

Recipe Source: www.epicurious.com

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Guest

Nice menus/recipes. I'm sure I will try something at some point. But Thanksgiving and Christmas are about memories, and honoring the ancestors by carrying on their traditions. They are not just meals to be dumped because someone thinks they are "boring." My mother's cornbread dressing brings her to our table with sweet memories of the turkey she kept on our back porch (in town) until he met her axe. My former mother-in-law's marshmallow topped sweet potato pudding, complete with bourbon, evokes for us memories of how hard and how hard much she sacrificed to keep her family's secrets tucked away so we could believe. She was a courageous woman; more so than I. And of course there is former mother-in-law # 2 who brought edible turnips into my life even as she said, post divorce, "You will always be our daughter."

To serve other than "our" Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners might be a option, but not one for me and mine. On those days, the dining room table is not just a dinner table; it is an altar on which we place loving gratitude for the ancestors gone before who made this day possible for us.

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Guest

So very true!!