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On the 17th of December……dinner is served…at least it will be on 25th!

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post about traditions, cooking (and eating) a traditional Christmas Dinner is one of my highlights.

My daughters usually help set the table in the dining room, one of the few times we eat in there! We usually have some fun writing out the menu and  making place cards.  Planning a red and silver theme this year. This photo is how it looked last year.

ready for christmas dinner northern ireland
menu for christmas dinner northern ireland

Crackers are another part of the tradition – even though the paper hats never fit, the jokes are terrible, and the “gifts” aren’t up to much – we love them!!!

crackers for christmas dinner northern ireland
crackers for christmas dinner northern ireland

Here is what we usually serve (this year for 12 – 7 adults and 5 kids)

We don’t always serve a starter, but if we do it will be something light and simple – melon, brie and cranberry filo parcels, a small salad.

The Main Course (and the main event!)

Turkey – of course – to me it isn’t Christmas Day without the turkey

Baked and roast ham (my Mum always provides this, my one attempt was NOT a success!)

Potatoes – roast and mashed would be traditional, but we usually serve “riced” potatoes using my inherited potato ricer

Veg – a selection, which must include some sprouts, usually carrots as well

Maybe honey roast parsnips

christmas dinner northern ireland

Then all the trimmings – cranberry sauce (Marks and Spencers do a particularly delicious one), lots of gravy, little cocktail sausages

christmas dinner northern ireland

My mother in law used to make an amazing amount of side dishes, and every Christmas a dish would be discovered during the washing up that had been forgotten to be served!

Dessert (Not that we have any need OR room for it)

For the traditionalists among us we have Christmas pudding – served with custard or brandy butter – again Marks and Spencers usually oblige. I have yet to attempt a Christmas pudding … I know my limitations.

For the rest of us – pavlova or fruit salad

Christmas Day christmas dinner northern ireland

Later on, when the dishes are done and our tummys have settled, there will be coffee, christmas cake and probably some chocolates from under the Christmas tree.  Mini mince pies, and maybe a cheese board will do for tea, although some are ready for some leftover turkey and ham already.

So how does this compare with what you eat on Christmas Day?   I would love to know. What bits do you make from scratch, and what parts do you take shortcuts with?!!

Over 70% of schools were closed here in Northern Ireland following the worst snow in 25 years, and it is set to continue for the next few days. I would predict some snowy photos on my blog tomorrow.

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  1. Your pictures make me hungry…and I just ate! Your dining room is beautiful. I can’t wait to see the snow pictures. We’ve had a lot of snow here too. I love snow, even when it means we can’t go out.

  2. I have so enjoyed reading your latest blog posts about your Christmas traditions! They make me feel all warm and fuzzy!

    Can I get your recipe for the brie and cranberry filo parcels?

    I host Christmas Eve and I usually have about 15-18 for dinner. I make a crockpot roast, mashed potatoes (with garlic and cream cheese), my gourmet mac & cheese (that we only have once a year on Christmas Eve), stuffed mushrooms, green beans (fresh green beans, NOT that gross casserole stuff), and rolls. I make all the desserts and have to have at least four – this year will be chocolate pecan pie, lemon bars, chocolate chip cheesecake bars and almond rocca.

    People usually arrive around 5, we eat around 6, open presents (not our immediate family’s – those are saved for Christmas Day – but the presents for all the guests), the kids change into jammies and we read The Night Before Christmas. The guests leave, we prepare Santa’s plate (*always* filled with desserts!), throw some carrots outside and then the kids go to bed. I clean up and get ready for Christmas morning!

    Christmas morning is spent at home. We open gifts early in the morning, then I make a really nice breakfast. Then we just kind of hang out until the afternoon when we go to my husband’s family for the rest of the day.

  3. All of the food sounds wonderful. Our meal is pretty much like yours. The only thing we will be missing is the snow. I can’t wait to see your pictures. Carla

  4. yeah your food pictures make me hungry, too! Like all your traditions – it must be wonderful to celebrate with so many people

  5. Hi JM –

    did you mean carnberry or cranberry? Just checking in case you have something different there. My Mr. would love the parsnips, he’s especially fond of them. I’d not eat too much to save room for the traditional Christmas pudding…

    Do you think we should visit in the summer – or winter?


    Love, Barb

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