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happysmileylady

What do you guys do for Christmas Eve dinner?

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Lasagna. I make it ahead and freeze it, which makes it easy to have a special meal without much work, since we will be very busy with church and other things. I often put it in the crock pot and let it heat through while we are at our evening church service, so that we have a hot meal waiting when we get home (half of a 9x13 inch pan of lasagna fits in my slow cooker, and half is all that we will eat at one meal).

I suggested something different to my kids, because I had not made the lasagna yet, but sticking to the tradition is important to them.

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Gah!   This year we are doing a different sort of family Christmas thing and so lasagna and spaghetti and garlic rolls and all that....that's all Family Christmas dinner!  

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7-Eleven. 

Absolutely serious. We eat Eve lunch with MIL, then later that afternoon we hop in the car and drive (hours) to my parents' home.  Nothing is ever open and most of the driving is deeply rural. 7-Eleven has been our only choice. 

I'm determined to do something different this year. I'm finding myself resentful of our Christmas Eve tradition. (I grew up attending an Eve candlelight service and it was lovely -- I need to recreate that feeling somehow.)

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We have failed at establishing a Christmas Eve tradition. We have settled on grilled tri-tip steaks as our Christmas day tradition (other than that we don't grill anything from time change to time change--too dark, cold, and usually rainy. But for Christmas day we move our Weber to the covered front porch if raining and eat early, grilling while still light.)

For Christmas Eve, we used to do lasagna, my tradition when I was a kid, but the kids don't like it. We've tried appetizers but found we're kind of sick of junky food by then. We tried ham but it's too high in sodium for dh. For several years now we've done chicken kiev which everyone likes, but it's a little labor intensive. So this year I bought Costco's Chicken Codon Bleu which will be similar but really easy. Sides will be our Christmas jello salad (leftovers for Christmas day), green salad, orzo parmesan, maybe a veggie.

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Christmas Eve dinner (actually, it's lunch these days, because of our choir schedule in the evening at church), is what my children used to call "the dinner where you pick what you eat" when they were small (now we just just call it the "pick out dinner"). It's an appetizer/finger food kind of thing, where everyone gets to make one request in addition to the standard fare I always put out...summer sausage and crackers, a cheese board, buffalo Chex mix, and jalapeño popper dip. Some family members always, always choose the same item, and some like to mix it up from year to year. We all enjoy having the opportunity to sample whatever we want! 

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Candlelight service at church.  Then we head home for snacks/finger foods.  Each child gets to choose one thing.  This year I know we will have bbq meatballs in the crock pot, chicken n a biscuit crackers with dip, and whatever the 2 guys chose.  Then I might fill in with what I want.

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Ok, so as I was discussing with DH, we realized that because of......things.....DD23 will not be able to make a dish that we usually have Christmas Day that MIL used to make every year...traditional for DH's family.  

So, DD23 will be here on the 23rd, I think she will make them, and then I will have each of the other kids pick something to make too.  Something appetizer like, like chicken wings or something.  

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We don't do anything special for dinner that day.  So far anyway.

I guess it depends on what our general plans are.  Usually we are either traveling or getting ready to travel on Christmas day.  I guess if we are home, we might grab dinner with our housemates, since we eat Christmas dinner (when in town) at my parents' house.

Every year I want to go to the Christmas Eve church service.  Maybe this time.  Dinner before or after - whatever works.

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Ummm...cereal? 😳 I have no recollection whatsoever of what we have eaten on Christmas Eve so I’m guessing it’s very uneventful and easy usually. We always travel back home the day before, and we have a service in the evening at church, so it’s easy whatever it is!

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In my family Christmas Eve dinner, Vigilia, is a bigger deal then Christmas dinner. We had mushroom soup, pierogi, and fish. Given I can't stand mushrooms and fish, it was never my favorite meal. Now that I have a family of my own, we've modified it slightly.  We'll do my husband's grandmother's borscht recipe, and everyone else will have fish, but I might get some cheese enchiladas to heat up in the microwave, and of course we'll have pierogi.

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50 minutes ago, alisoncooks said:

7-Eleven. 

Absolutely serious. We eat Eve lunch with MIL, then later that afternoon we hop in the car and drive (hours) to my parents' home.  Nothing is ever open and most of the driving is deeply rural. 7-Eleven has been our only choice. 

I'm determined to do something different this year. I'm finding myself resentful of our Christmas Eve tradition. (I grew up attending an Eve candlelight service and it was lovely -- I need to recreate that feeling somehow.)

I’d break this tradition if you really dislike it. Maybe you could pack a cooler with something easy, but yummy? Sub sandwiches from the deli or even Subway sandwiches pack nicely. Or tuna salad/chicken salad and crackers? Or some tasty wraps? We used to travel many states away for the holidays and these things packed and travel well in an ice chest. You could throw in a few mandarin oranges or apples, chips...easy! And way better than 7-Eleven!

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4 minutes ago, MarieCurie said:

In my family Christmas Eve dinner, Vigilia, is a bigger deal then Christmas dinner. We had mushroom soup, pierogi, and fish. Given I can't stand mushrooms and fish, it was never my favorite meal. Now that I have a family of my own, we've modified it slightly.  We'll do my husband's grandmother's borscht recipe, and everyone else will have fish, but I might get some cheese enchiladas to heat up in the microwave, and of course we'll have pierogi.

This was Christmas Eve dinner in my family growing up too. My grandma and dad liked to eat pickled herring, gah! Thankfully, my mom would make baked sole for the rest of us. Also, no mushroom soup, ours was buckwheat and bowties with mushrooms in it.

Now, we have our big holiday meal on Christmas Eve Venezuelan style with dh's family. Hallacas (plantain leave wrapped tamales), pork roast and pan de jamon (sweet bread stuffed with ham, olives and raisins.)

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Long ago when we went to the children's service at 5:30 pm, we went to Outback afterwards (since I wasn't home to prep dinner). And every Christmas Eve thereafter, even when we switched to the late evening candlelight service, we've gone to Outback.

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42 minutes ago, mmasc said:

I’d break this tradition if you really dislike it. Maybe you could pack a cooler with something easy, but yummy? Sub sandwiches from the deli or even Subway sandwiches pack nicely. Or tuna salad/chicken salad and crackers? Or some tasty wraps? We used to travel many states away for the holidays and these things packed and travel well in an ice chest. You could throw in a few mandarin oranges or apples, chips...easy! And way better than 7-Eleven!

I agree. Anything is better than 7-Eleven (though DH doesn't mind).  Problem is, we are usually in a hotel for two days leading up to this. So either I make something that sits in a hotel fridge for 2 days or squeeze in a grocery store run Christmas Eve. Even then, there'd be no place to prepare food. MIL's home isn't...conducive...to (sanitary) cooking, and if she knew I wanted food, she'd press her repulsive leftovers on us for the ride. 

(But yes - I'm definitely brainstorming. Maybe a cheese and olive platter. That feels special-occasion-y and travels fairly well...)

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When our girls lived at home, we did chili at dinner, then attended a 7:30pm church service. We came home and we had various snack foods. We would watch some Christmas movie that the girls picked. Now, it’s just us and we do whatever we decide😊

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Homemade waffles. Not sure how it started, but we’ve been doing it for as long as I can remember. It’s the only time of year we have them. Growing up it was chili for dinner and then after midnight mass (although it was often held earlier), appetizers and Christmas cookies.

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1 hour ago, alisoncooks said:

I agree. Anything is better than 7-Eleven (though DH doesn't mind).  Problem is, we are usually in a hotel for two days leading up to this. So either I make something that sits in a hotel fridge for 2 days or squeeze in a grocery store run Christmas Eve. Even then, there'd be no place to prepare food. MIL's home isn't...conducive...to (sanitary) cooking, and if she knew I wanted food, she'd press her repulsive leftovers on us for the ride. 

(But yes - I'm definitely brainstorming. Maybe a cheese and olive platter. That feels special-occasion-y and travels fairly well...)

Yep...that’s exactly what I’d do...a Christmas Eve store run. I’d take my empty cooler, check out of hotel (I’m assuming), stop at grocery store on the way to MIL house. I’d have my pre-made deli sandwiches or a cheese/pepperoni/cracker platter in my cooler with ice in my car. Easy peasy. 😊 And kids are old enough to not say a word to grandma about food in the car, so no leftovers are sent with you. 😉

we’ve bought these for travel before and they do just fine in the cooler and taste good. Ready to go—no prep necessary!

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Hormel-Gatherings-Dry-Sausage-and-Cheese-Party-Tray-28-oz-Meat-Paired-with-Sargento-Cheese/21289068

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Appetizers,  heavy on the cheese:  mozzarella sticks, mini quiches, steamed artichoke, olives, brie baked with some sort of topping, meat in some form (sausages, usually), stuff like that.  Cookies for dessert. 

When we lived in Oregon we had cracked crab. 

For the 7-11 alternative, I'd take some meat and cheese in a cooler, along with some bread or crackers, and vegetables and dip. Chips and salsa maybe? Some nuts.  Apples to slice, or clementines? Peanut butter to smear on apple slices, if you can eat that. That is our typical road food for any trip where we'll be driving over a meal time. Bring a cutting board and utensils from home, and the empty cooler to fill with ice (or keep blue ice in the hotel freezer if you can) as mmasc suggests. 

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we always do our big dinner on Christmas eve.  what we do for dinner varies.   from a standing rib roast to lobster (once, giant prawns are more budget friendly).  Desserts - If I'm feeling ambitious - I'll make a Chocolate Christmas Hazelnut Stump.  (it's too fat to be a yule log - so it's a stump.)  dh will usually make his chocolate cheesecake.

after dinner, we always read the Christmas story and sing carols.  We always end with Stille Nacht.

This year - we'll have a baby again.  (he's 15 mos.)  I can't wait.  happy dance.

and have goodies to eat.  Christmas cookies, and candies.  a fruit cake.   I'm looking forward to smoked salmon (I love the Costco smoked salmon from Norway), and brie.  (I should get some pomegranate seeds to top it off.)   

in the seattle area - Costco carries dilettante* chocolate mint truffles at Christmas. - they use the original Frango recipe - only the name is trademarked -,   I base that on the taste is what I remember from my childhood. (I despise what Macy's has done to the recipe since they got their hands on the name.)  I bought seven bags this year when Costco had them on sale. (you can also buy them on amazon).  we did a blind taste test one year - everyone preferred the dilettante.  last year - I had to go to information to find out when the costcos  around me would be getting anymore in stock. . . .. . I needed more bags . . . . . not doing that again.  for a few years - Costco sold them as "Frederick and Nelson truffles". . . . anyone from this area knew exactly what that meant.  (someone complained, and they had to change the name.)

*the founder's grandfather? great-grandfather?  was chocolatier to the Emperor Franz Josef.

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I leave something on the stove as we get home from church so late. I don't know HOW things are going to go this year--kids get home (some of them) on the 16th, but one guest is very anti-Christmas due to some trauma. Some of the other kids get home on the 27th (maybe, depending on the Navy), and some on the 28th, but some leave the night of the 28th, and dd and I head to Denver on the 29th. So, I think we may do two Christmas dinners! More pie all around!

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We have caesar salad and clam chowder.  Very easy to prep almost to finishing and then finish quickly after we get home from Christmas Eve services.

Anne

 

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Pizza. Always. This year, will be the first, in 35-40 years that my husband's family hasn't had Christmas Eve dinner at a specific pizza chain. LOL They are still open, but we are moving the celebration to our  house this year, and are eating in.  We did a family pizza dinner (with extended family) here at our house last year, and realized how much easier it was. LOL.  So  this year, we will do that, but for Christmas Eve.  Soooooo much  eaiser (we all had to travel 1+ hours to get to that specific chain) and that leaves more time to  relax and visit instead. Win! Win!

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We always have fish, steamed or roasted veg and a specific Trader Joe's grain side dish thing.  The TJ thing is one of those weird accidental traditions!

I want to learn to make pierogi!  I've never had good homemade ones.  My grandmother implied they were hard to do and she'd make a million to freeze and all I remember is freezer burn.

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Due to both sides of our family living far away we are usually either travelling or already at our destination on Christmas Eve so we don't have a tradition. But DH always talks fondly of how his mom made homemade pizza and let them drink pop with it for Christmas Eve supper. I imagine it was easy for her, and it was definitely memorable for them!

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It hasn’t been an every year tradition, but I like to do lasagne.  I’m a non-Italian who grew up in New Jersey so, when all of my relatives started marrying Italians, there were always Christmas Eve Italian feasts.  I loved it! I can’t pull off the big feast, though.  We keep it simple.

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Christmas eve is our holiday at home.  And Christmas Day at my in laws in typically very meh food wise.  So we try to make it special.  Last year we had standing rib roast, twice baked potatoes, roasted asparagus, homemade challah, pear and pomegranate salad with gorgonzola and pecans.  Yule log cake.  

We have also done homemade pasta we make that day.  

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9 hours ago, happi duck said:

We always have fish, steamed or roasted veg and a specific Trader Joe's grain side dish thing.  The TJ thing is one of those weird accidental traditions!

I want to learn to make pierogi!  I've never had good homemade ones.  My grandmother implied they were hard to do and she'd make a million to freeze and all I remember is freezer burn.


Okay, I made pierogi for the first time earlier this year. (FWIW, my dad's family is Polish. My grandma always made them.) I am not sure why you dealt with freezer burn. I mean, I am sure my sister and mom have made and frozen them, and I've never been able to tell, so I can't help there.

But I can say that while they are kind of tedious to make, you can do it! You just need to make sure you absolutely get them closed. If they aren't sealed all the way, they won't survive (they'll explode). So definitely plan on making a few more than you want because that will probably happen to a few.

ETA: The hard part is also deciding on filling. Everyone likes different filling. We need cheese and meat ones, potato ones, fruit filled ones (plum, blueberry, peach, strawberry), and sauerkraut ones.

Edited by barnwife
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Nothing special. I'm usually in the kitchen Christmas Eve day doing prep work for Christmas dinner, so we have a no-cook dinner on Christmas Eve. Often it's an antipasto I throw together, make your own subs, or some kind of nibble food. 

15 hours ago, Kassia said:

Ravioli, garlic rolls, cranberry sauce, and salad.  My kids count on this.  

Minus the cranberry sauce, ravioli and meatballs, garlic bread, and salad is our typical Christmas dinner. 

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15 hours ago, happysmileylady said:

Anyone have anything in particular, special or traditional or whatever, that they do for Christmas Eve dinner?

Italian antipasto, heavy on the meats, cheeses, peppers and Italian tuna fish.  It was standard from when I was a kid.  There are some years with the kids we had to skip this,  but we are back.  So unhealthy, but so good and a treat  🙂

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Something different every year, based on what I feel like doing. This year I’m thinking a nice hunk of beef. Maybe prime rib. 

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39 minutes ago, Lady Florida. said:

Nothing special. I'm usually in the kitchen Christmas Eve day doing prep work for Christmas dinner, so we have a no-cook dinner on Christmas Eve  

We do the opposite. I’m happy to cook on Christmas Eve but you will not find me in the kitchen Christmas Day. I cook a big meal on the 24th with plenty of leftovers. It’s fend for yourselves on the 25th. 

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Usually we go to church Christmas morning largely because it's hard to plan a meal around evening services, but this year we plan to attend a 3 PM service on Christmas Eve & I'll cook afterward. Seafood is traditional in DH's family, but I don't eat it any more. Tentatively, I will make DH shrimp, and all of us will have vegetarian crab cakes, rice, Brussels sprouts, and grape juice. Maybe one more thing (another vegetable?), IDK.

We have some birthdays right at this same time of year, so there are lots of opportunities to make things we like.

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We do a very simple and yummy potato soup in bread bowls. We used to do clam chowder but dh developed a shellfish allergy.  Dh is our sourdough bread baker, so he makes large rolls that we can cut and serve the soup in.  Sort of humble and simple and special to us. 

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Oyster stew and crackers. Bread with cheese and summer sausage. Pickled herring for those who like it. It's sort of a Scandinavian heritage meal for us. 

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DH's side of the family has always had Christmas Eve and there really was no rhyme or reason to the menu.

It did, however, seem like people would eat the appetizers and then not be hungry for dinner. And sometimes, the appetizers blurred into the dinner category (apps and dinner blurring together! Mass hysteria!) Then dessert was kind of a mishmash without a focus, either. Most families brought a dessert and then each family mostly ate their own dessert and took home their own dessert leftovers...which is fine, but if a family doesn't WANT to go thru that effort, I think they should feel fine NOT doing it any more. 

So right after Thanksgiving, I suggested to the hostess(es) that this Christmas Eve, we just have apps and Christmas cookies, unless someone WANTS to bring a dessert (or a main dish or a side dish, etc).

They texted back "YES" so fast, I told DD they might have sprained their fingers. LOL

I also suggested we have a plan to keep the cold apps at the correct temps, bc his family has a tendency to leave them out through dinner and then just toss them (which makes me feel awful...like I could have set that XYZ platter on cold packs or ice if you would have let me...). Hot ones, they do well with bc they are are usually in crockpots.

So, we'll see. If it goes spectacularly bad, it'll all be my fault. Ho ho ho.

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Growing up it was whatever mom could serve quick when dad got home because we went to my grandparents house for cookies and other desserts.  By the time we were teens, grandma decided to add take and bake pizza, so it made it easier on mom.

DH and I never really had a set tradition once we were married.  If we went to his parents it was breakfast for dinner.  I was never a huge fan because it was all cold or dried out from being kept warm in the oven.  I used to bring homemade cinnamon rolls so there was something the kids would eat.

Last year we had ILs here and I served duck, but MIL said it was too exotic for FIL and insisted I serve ham as well.  This year I am thinking of just doing the duck and not telling them what it is but I am not sure that would be very nice.  I just don't want to have to do two proteins again because it is only 7 of us and it is overkill, and we are inevitably left with the leftovers.  I also don't have the oven space to make it really work well.  There are a number of dishes I would love to make, but FIL is a very picky eater and wouldn't eat anything other than traditional foods (think traditional turkey dinner, minus any veggies or fruits).  So I am debating back and forth on what to do.

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Christmas Eve is a repeat of Thanksgiving with our extended family  with the in-laws. Christmas Day traditions include, but  are not limited to, Shrimp and Cheese Grits and Glazed Bacon. Probably round it out with leftover dressing, english pea salad and desserts. 

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