Q&A Monday: What’s on Your Holiday Menu?

Written by Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool and founder of Steady Mom

Homeschooling isn’t really on my mind this week. I’m guessing that for the most part, it’s not on yours either.

So let’s just admit it and move on to what is filling much of our thoughts:

Food. (Among other things like family time, giving, and unity, of course!)

I spent part of the weekend writing lists and shopping for ingredients. We don’t travel over the holidays, so the preparations for our family’s Christmas dinner rests on our own shoulders. As the children get older and can help out, I find that I enjoy this time more and more each year.

Here’s what we’ll be serving up in a few days.

Christmas Eve

We always go out to an Italian restaurant on Christmas Eve. It started one year as a fluke, but has now become a tradition. There’s no way my kids would let us skip it!

Christmas Morning

Cinnamon rolls fresh out of the oven with plenty of vanilla glaze

Christmas Dinner

Aimee’s Fruit and Herb Stuffing
Creamy Mashed Potatoes
Cheddar Green Bean Casserole
Bread Rolls
Brussels Sprouts
Chocolate Pecan Pie for dessert

I’m hungry already! I plan to divide my cooking over the days ahead, starting with the bread rolls today. And yes, Trishna, Jonathan, and Elijah will help with many of the dishes–I consider this week just as important as any other in their education.

The holiday moments we spend together as a family will be remembered far longer than any other lesson I could pass on this week.

Okay, you’re up:

What’s on your holiday menu? Are you preparing it yourself or being a guest somewhere else? For our international readers, what dishes do you enjoy that may not be featured in our standard American lineup?

This post is brought to you by Cristina Ashley Designs, featuring unique sterling silver jewelry. Use the code ‘simple10’ to receive 10% off your order at checkout.

About Jamie Martin

Jamie is a mama to three cute kids born on three different continents. She is the co-founder and editor of Simple Homeschool, where she writes about mindful parenting, intentional education, and the joy found in a pile of books. Jamie is also the author of a handful of titles, including her newest release, Give Your Child the World.


  1. Your menu is making my mouth water! What a lovely meal.
    You’ve inspired my sweet tooth and I’ve decided to also make fresh cinnamon buns Christmas morning! We are doing a big extended family dinner here on Christmas Eve and the one thing that I can’t wait for every year is the stuffing! I could live on good stuffing!
    Enjoy your holiday and God bless!

    • Happy Holidays, Lesley! Yes, this is the first year I’ve made stuffing from scratch (at Thanksgiving). It made me realize just what I’ve been missing out on!

  2. Having no family in the town where we live, we usually travel for Christmas and Thanksgiving. This year, however, we will be home!! It is pretty exciting. We are having a turkey with all the trimmings. Christmas Eve will be “finger food” night. We made several batches of caramel corn today, and plan to bake for our neighbors tomorrow. We found small disposable bundt pans at the store that are perfect for my mom’s Two’s Cake. So that will definitely go in the neighbor baskets! (2 c. flour, 2 c. sugar, 2 sticks room temp. butter, 2 tsp. vanilla, and 5 eggs, Baked @ 350 for 50 min. for a normal bundt pan.)
    I Live in an Antbed’s latest post: The Death of a Neighbor

  3. Having been a military family so long, we never developed any food traditions between each move. This year we’re home with family, and I’m bringing a big pot of macaroni. Not traditional, but I know the kids will eat it. And the picky grown ups. 😉
    Jessica’s latest post: On this Sunday Before Christmas

  4. We started a tradition a few years ago of having crab legs, stuffed mushrooms, angel hair pasta with garlic butter and red peppers, broiled salmon, and a few other simple but special dishes. We love crab legs and salmon but are usually on a tight budget so we decided to make it a special Christmas eve thing. My husband is in the military and he always invites some of the other single airmen or families that aren’t traveling home for the holidays over for a casual evening. My four kids love meeting some new people and it helps them learn that the giving spirit of christmas is not just for family

  5. Growing up we would always have standing rib roast and red potatoes for Christmas dinner, but I’ve grown to love my husband’s family’s traditions from Mexico. Now we live away from everyone and will not be traveling. For the past 4 years we’ve had tamales for Christmas dinner, and this year it will be tamales and posole ( a pork soup with hominy) with Mexican rice and Bunuelos for dessert. This year I will attempt homemade pan dulce, sweet bread, for Christmas breakfast. But those cinnamon rolls look pretty good, maybe we’ll do those!

  6. We spend Christmas Eve at my husband’s grandmother’s house with lots of family for a pot luck. She’s in her 90’s and it’s very special seeing her and all the relatives on that side of the family. Christmas morning is at my husband’s parents’ house and we have a traditional Czech Christmas breakfast of Christmas cookies with Vudbarka (sp?) or fruit stew. You dip the cookies! Christmas dinner is pretty simple — ham or turkey, mashed potatoes, some sort of vegetable and pies for desserts.

    Since we spend the holidays with extended family, we have our own holiday celebration on the winter solstice. That’s when we open our presents and have our own family meal. Since some of my kids are vegan/vegetarian and I lean that way, I make it vegan. This year it will be sliced portabello mushrooms in gravy, garlic and olive oil mashed potatoes, orange cranberry sauce, peas in almond cream sauce, stuffing, fresh rolls, salad, pasta primavera, apple crisp, pumpkin pie and chocolate coconut truffles, with hot crab apple cider and sparkling grape juice.
    Alicia’s latest post: Green craft round-up- Aromatherapy playdough- wine sweaters and more!

  7. This will be our first year hosting Christmas. We’re pretty excited, but also kind of swamped!

    Christmas Eve dinner will be fairly traditional: tortellini soup, Ceasar salad, homemade breadsticks, meat lasagna, lasagna Florentine, and mini cheesecakes.

    Christmas breakfast will be banana cake, French breakfast puffs, pumpkin chocolate chip muffins, and fresh fruit.

    Christmas dinner is a little wacky, by some standards: we’re doing a taco bar! Everyone loves tacos, so we thought, why not? Desert will be Mexican chocolate cake.

    There will also be plates and plates of cookies on every end table, pretty much at all times!
    Katie Gregg’s latest post: So Busy

  8. Yum! I LOVE chocolate pecan pie!

    We often have turkey, bread dressing, and mashed potatoes, but this year we are having spiral ham, cheese potatoes, and probably brussels sprouts. I always make a yummy jello salad (more like a creamy fruit mousse) for every holiday dinner, and it’s lime for Christmas. I’ll probably do cinnamon rolls for breakfast, too. Not sure what we’ll have for dessert. Usually it’s apple, pumpkin, and pecan pies.

    Have a very Merry Christmas, Jamie!
    Heidi @ Mt Hope’s latest post: Nativity in the Digital Age

  9. We are still deciding! Christmas Eve will probably be finger foods, or pizza, before a 6:30 service. Christmas morning is ALWAYS monkey bread – my kids have been talking about it since the beginning of December. It is a much loved tradition here. Still not sure about Christmas dinner – I’d like something special and fancy but don’t want to spend the whole day in the kitchen. Maybe lobsters?

  10. Food talk=swoon

    My Polish grandmother always served polish sausage with sauerkraut along with everything else for Christmas Eve and my part-German husband loves the tradition so we always have sausage, saukerkraut, red cabbage, potato pancakes, applesauce, and a green veggie of some kind [brussel sprouts, my new fave won this year] for dinner. Borscht soup for lunches.
    Christmas morning is french toast from Challah bread, sausage, eggs, and oranges. My husband started a Prime Rib Roast tradition for Christmas Day dinner but since he is working that day- we’re opting for a simpler smoked ham. Cookies and homemade truffles are desserts.

  11. Christmas Eve we will snack on veggies and dip, cheese and crackers, and antipasto squares because we have to be at church at 4:30 for our little to participate in a handbell performance!

    We will wake up Christmas morning to homemade cinnamon buns, snack on the above throughout the afternoon, and sit to a dinner in the evening. We make an apple glazed pork loin roast with apple-ham stuffing along with homemade baguettes and some other side dishes. We will finish the evening with a birthday party for Jesus featuring cupcakes!

  12. It’s a tradition to get together with my side of the family on Christmas Eve. I usually host, and this year we’re having cheese fondue, meaty side dish ( my mom is bringing) salad & chocolate fondue for dessert. We love fondue so much, that we are repeating Christmas dinner, just the four of us. Christmas Day breakfast, we’ll have Panettone, hot chocolate, fresh fruit and cinnamon rolls!

  13. Mother of Pearl says:

    For Christmas Eve we have leftovers because it is a busy day and we have to get to church by 6:00. Not fancy, but it feeds us.
    Christmas morning – cinnamon rolls, peaches we canned this summer, and some of the fabulous sausage our local dairy sells.
    We have a Danish Christmas – but where they do theirs in Christmas Eve, we do it on Christmas Day.
    Christmas dinner – Roast pork, red cabbage, potatoes, salad
    Dessert – Rice pudding – The Danish way with rice cooked in milk and then whipped cream folded in and topped with cherry jam. There is an almond hidden in the pudding and whoever finds it gets a prize.

  14. We have a firm tradition for Christmas Eve, sitting on the floor around the TV watching a classic Christmas film, that is of course after reenacting the nativity from Luke. While we watch that classic film we eat off of one big platter – mackerel, salmon, crackers, sardines, salami, all kinds, cheese, all kinds, and sliced fruit and veggies. We love this tradition which we also repeat on New years Eve. I know it doesn’t sound fabulous but the family together, the spirit of the night and laughter make it all so wonderful.

  15. I am so lucky that my mother-in-law is taking over this task. Especially because she is Italian and is making lasagna for Christmas!! With neither of her sons liking traditional holiday foods like ham and turkey, she is always mixing it up. We’ve had steaks and even lobster for dinners, which is great because I’m always tired of turkey by the time Christmas rolls up.
    I usually bake a pie and might have to bring my salted caramel apple pie this year.
    AprilS’s latest post: Does Spell Check Have a Place in State Writing Tests

  16. Oh, man. I love the food talk. Makes me swoony. Everyone has such great ideas and diverse traditions.

    My grandmother is part Lithuanian and we always, always have hot crispy latke’s on Christmas Eve with sour cream and applesauce and a fresh spinach salad on the side.

    Christmas morning is creamy scrambled eggs (made with cream cheese – aaahmazing), apple turnovers (sometimes raspberry), chicken sausage and sometimes broiled tomatoes, a Scottish tradition from my father.

    Christmas dinner, made by my mother, has always been a local beef roast with gravy, Yorkshire pudding, green beans, salad, mashed or boiled new potatoes, cranberry sauce… and our kid favorites carrot sticks and black olives to snack on.
    Christmas dessert varies – I have been making a mean figgy pudding, traditionally English, but we’ve also had German Chocolate cake, German chocolate cream cheese brownies, cranberry pecan bars or cherry cheesecake. This year I am thinking of baking a good old-fashioned chocolate cake decorated with peppermints… mmm.

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