Twinkling lights, sleigh bells ringing, and a jolly man decked in a red suit and white beard are all familiar images of many who celebrate Christmas here in the United States. For others around the world however, the holiday can evoke thoughts of pinatas filled with candies and coins, goblins, and even a half-goat, half-demon called upon to punish naughty children. These global traditions may not always make it stateside, but there are certainly others with International origins.
People have celebrated Christmas in some way, shape, or form worldwide for 2,000 years. Starting in the fourth century as a remembrance of the birth of Jesus Christ in Christianity, adoption spread from Egypt to England to Scandinavia and more by the end of the eighth century. The first ‘Christmas trees’ found roots in Germany with the decoration of evergreen trees having been a tradition previously in German celebrations of the winter solstice.
Another popular decorative plant—the poinsettia—was brought to North America by the American minister of Mexico in 1828. With its vibrant red and green flowers, poinsettias are often also referred to as the Christmas Star and Christmas Flower. It is said to symbolize good cheer and success, and can be found in homes throughout the holiday season.
Christmastime decor also comes in the form of a warm, crackling fire around the Yule log (both real and virtually via TV screens across America). Stemming from Norse traditions, it originally served as a celebration of the sun’s return during the winter solstice. And let’s not forget the Yule log cake.
Regardless of how it’s celebrated, there’s one unifying factor that can be found everywhere you go—Christmas feasts. Here are some popular dishes making their way to holiday table settings every year:
- Christmas pudding: This European treat consists of dried fruits and is flavored with a variety of spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger.
- Eggnog: Though its origins are debatable, its ability to pair nicely with brandy, bourbon, and/or rum is not. Made with milk, cream, sugar, and whipped eggs, this rich beverage is hard to pass up for seconds.
- Christmas ham: It’s a staple on many tables alongside the turkey. Throw in some pineapple slices, cloves, and light brown sugar for an old-fashioned glaze.
- Russian tea cakes: Also known as Mexican or Italian wedding cookies, these buttery bites of powdered sugar goodness are simple but memorable.
- Gingerbread: Tastes of ginger, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, and molasses make for a cookie easily transformed into breads, biscuits, and even little houses.
The joy of Christmas reaches far and wide with traditions, gifts, and meals fit to be shared. Let Catering By Michaels set the table for your holiday parties and more with menus perfectly crafted for the season. Call us at (847) 966-6555 and we’ll ensure those days are merry and bright with every single bite.