Here’s what people eat on Christmas in 21 countries around the globe

Christmas is a special time for people all over the world.

While the holiday can be celebrated in many different ways, perhaps no custom is more important than the time-honored Christmas Eve or Christmas Day meal.

Still, these meals vary greatly depending on where they’re taking place.

Inspired by this BookTable post by Rob Rebelo, we took a look at some typical Christmas meals from countries across the globe.


Germans often serve fruity Stollen cake, along with a mulled wine called Gluehwein. Stollen is traditionally baked to have a hump, symbolizing the humps of the camels that carried the wise men to see Jesus.

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Joern Haufe/Stringer/Getty

Many Bulgarians fast before Christmas, so on Christmas they nosh on stuffed vegetables, soups, and cakes.

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Shutterstock

In Fiji, locals dine on banana leaf-wrapped fish, stuffed chicken, and pork made with a “Lovo,” an earth oven made with heavy stones, like the one seen below.

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FLICKR/LynneS

We’ve all heard of “figgy pudding,” but in the United Kingdom, they actually eat it. Better yet, they cover their Christmas pudding with brandy and set it on fire.

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FLICKR/Herry Lawford

Italians celebrate Christmas by making a meal they call the “Feast of Seven Fishes,” which features many different seafood items, like calamari, cod, anchovies, and clam linguine.

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GW Fins/Flickr

France also serves seafood for Christmas, during the traditional Le Réveillon celebration. Meals usually feature lobster, oysters, and foie gras.

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Christian Storm/Business Insider

In Sweden, a rice pudding, or Risgrynsgröt, is served during Christmastime. One of the bowls will have an almond submerged in its center, and the lucky one who gets it will have good luck for the rest of the year.

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Gaus Alex/Shutterstock

In Costa Rica, locals usually eat pork tamales on Christmas, many using recipes passed down through generations.

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Carlos Rojas V/Shutterstock

In Ethiopia, locals eat a “doro wat,” a chicken stew served with flat bread. Forget the forks and knives, because like with many Ethiopian meals, you eat this with your hands.

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David Stanley/Flickr

It’s summer during Christmas in South Africa, so locals head to the Braai — an African grill — to cook up lamb, turkey, and pork.

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South African Tourism/Flickr

It’s summer in Australia, too, so residents have a Christmas barbecue, cooking turkey and lamb. They also eat grilled prawns, like the ones below, in a longstanding tradition called “shrimp on the barbie.”


On Christmas, Ghanaians eat corn porridge, okra stew, rice, and a yam or plantain mash called “Fufu.”

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Pam loves pie/Flickr

For various reasons, most people in Antarctica spend their Christmas on ships. So, along with cooked meats, they must make do with canned or frozen vegetables.


Egyptian Christians keep vegan on the three days before Christmas. A main staple during this time is Kushari, a macaroni, rice, and lentils dish that’s topped with a tomato-vinegar sauce.

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Wikimedia

Christians in India celebrate the holiday by eating traditional Biryani — or curry — dishes. To end the meal, they often eat kheer, a sweet and milky pudding.

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Divya Kudua/Flickr

At midnight on Christmas Eve, Filipino Christians dine on massive whole suckling pigs, often featuring a bright yellow ball of cheese in its mouth.


Promptly at 6 p.m. every Christmas Eve, Icelandic people sit down to a massive meal of cooked meats, including reindeer meat.

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Andrew 鐘/Flickr

In Argentina, locals dine on Vitel Toné (veal in tuna sauce) as well as turkey, pork, and bread. Oftentimes these meals will be enjoyed in a backyard BBQ style.

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Shutterstock

In Finland, people sit down to a Christmas “Joulupöytä,” a massive smorgasbord of food that includes ham, bread, fish, various casseroles and vegetables, and mulled wine.

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suomisyojajuo/Flickr

People in the United States enjoy eggnog during the holiday months, some more than others.

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NSC Photography/Shutterstock

Believe it or not, on Christmas, Japanese residents flock to KFC to dine on tasty fried chicken and all the fixings.

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Hollis Johnson