Christmas dinner

So, I’m writing an interactive story (set in the US) that includes a Christmas dinner scene. So I wanted to know: what was served at your Christmas dinner? Was the main attraction turkey, ham, or prime rrib? Something else? What sides were typically served? The more decadent, the better, of course ;). Were the sides the same as Thanksgiving dinner? Different?
I’m asking because, for one reason or other, we never really had many traditional Christmas dinners in my family.

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I’ve had Christmas with a few families over the years. A common staple is Turkey or Ham. Families also have their own traditions: one family I got to have Christmas with has Shepard/Cottage Pie as an entrée. As for sides, Mash potatoes, Stuffing, Often corn or another simple veggie. In smaller families, Christmas dinner might be a smaller meal but have a larger emphasis on fresh baked Christmas cookies/cake for dessert. A larger family will try to add more entrees and sides.

TLDR: as long as you throw a line in about “this family’s tradition,” that should be enough of a handwave for most people to get to the good parts.


Cosigning demimonde’s answer and adding:

  1. If the Christmas dinner is going to be an extended family gathering, there are likely to be appetizers set out a few hours ahead of time. These appetizers are usually finger foods, things like veggie trays, charcuterie, chips and dip, and cookies/other small desserts. Mixed drinks, eggnog, and soft drinks are all likely to be on offer throughout the day
  2. Homemade cookies iced by the family ahead of time are another common tradition, as are candy dishes if dinner is hosted at the grandparents’ house
  3. Some families will open stockings or a single present on Christmas eve, which could be a good opportunity for more candy/food
  4. Characters who are married (or have divorced parents) may get two Christmas dinners as they travel between families

Candied yams, with melted marshmallows and whipped cream on top. A great side and an even better dessert.