Is Christmas dinner formal or informal

MariposaTraicioneraDecember 17, 2005

At your house? We usually have dinner around 5:00 p.m. and it's a formal event. The kids love dressing up in their best outfits and seeing all the special China and crystal on the table. It's one of those occasions where they want to practice their good table manners.

My neighbour on the other hand has a sort of brunch and they eat in their pjs.

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meskauskas

Ours is fairly casual - no specific dress, just come and have fun. There's about 35 of us and we show up in everything from jeans to a suit. We have dinner around 4:00 and open presents/do the gift raffle around 6:00 because some people have to go on to somewhere else afterwards. No china or crystal (too many people), but nice glass plates (we all have sets of them), and tons of good polish food - yum!

    Bookmark   December 17, 2005 at 11:47PM
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mitchdesj

We dress casually and my side of the family joins us; I set the table formally, with xmas crackers and small gifts at each place. It's something I do early on xmas morning, while everyone's sleeping.
My brother's girlfriend has 3 small children under 6 and it livens things up; we have a grandchild this year, a one year old.....

    Bookmark   December 18, 2005 at 9:33AM
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paulines

We are a mixed faith family and this year the first night of Hanukkah falls on Christmas day. I've planned a little informal buffet type party, where my DD's friends & boyfriends can come by for little gifts and munchie type snacks. Music will run the gamut!

    Bookmark   December 18, 2005 at 9:34AM
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MariposaTraicionera

How interesting Paulines. I knew a couple who were mixed faith as well. The wife was Catholic and the husband was Jewish. They had a combination Christmas/Hanukkah most years and their children grew up to truly appreciate both.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2005 at 10:07AM
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susanfnp

Dress is whatever -- my mom's usually in her finest while I'm in jeans. We set the table as formally as possible given that we only have everyday dishes, and my daughter makes some creative placecards. The dinner menu is different every year, but Christmas breakfast is always the same: bagels with cream cheese, lox, red onions, and capers, and pannetone.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2005 at 11:03AM
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MariposaTraicionera

Mitch, we decorate with Christmas crackers as well. They're great fun, and bring back lots of memories from my childhood.

For breakfast we have Garlic pork (Portuguese dish) that my father made every year. DH had to learn to make it when we moved away because I couldn't envision having anything else but Garlic Pork! We have a bit of Gin with coconut water (not milk) that's brought to me from Brazil in boxes (like the little juice boxes kids take to school). We have freshly baked bread, and some nice English breakfast tea. DD doesn't like the pungent smell and taste of the pork so she has ham, chow chow and bread.

I'll save the dinner menu for when I have more time to share :-).

BTW, even tiny kids in the family must have a small sip of gin and coconut water. Isn't that terribly shocking? What's even more shocking is that the majority of my family do not drink alcohol any other time of the year except our traditional gin when having garlic pork. It helps with digestion according to the Portuguese ancestors.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2005 at 2:40PM
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Bizzo

We always have formal Christmas eve with my family. Dress up. Like Mariposa we have crackers at the table.. and have fun time laughing at each other with the silly prizes and crowns inside. Dad takes the family portrait. And it's a lot of fun! I'm going to miss it this year, as this will be the first Christmas DH and I have on our own...

Growing up, and as a young adult, we also had a more casual Christmas Day dinner with my dad's sister's family. Even though we looked at it as more casual, they were always more casual than we were!

Our Christmas Eve is steeped in family tradition. Christmas presents don't come out until after dinner Christmas Eve (each person goes off with a bell to gather the gifts they are giving, and everyone hides their eyes until they hear the bell and the words "Open your eyes and be glad!")I think this tradition started to stop peekers! We each open one gift on Christmas eve and it's always PJs. It is expected by my mother that everyone will get into these clothes (the first Christmas my BIL was with us, my mom had fun with that!) to hang stockings and have the matriarch read "The Night Before Christmas" and My sister read the Christmas Story from Luke to the kids.

Christmas morning is sticky buns while we see what Santa brought, and then open our gifts. Dad hands them out and we open one-by-one. It adds, I think, to the appreciation of the gift and the giver. Then we have formal "brunch" of scrambled eggs with cheese and ham... then to rest and play until dinner with the cousins.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2005 at 6:00PM
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MariposaTraicionera

Bizzo, we also have a present on Christmas Eve too and it's ALWAYS new Pjs!lol We each take a turn reading 'The Night Before Christmas.'

    Bookmark   December 19, 2005 at 12:08AM
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maggie2094

This is a fun thread - I really enjoy reading what others do to celebrate. In our family Christmas Eve is the night. Oooh, which brings me to this - xmas - was anyone else taught not to wright that as it is "x"ing out the name of Christ? Just curious? I am not overly religious or anything but my catholic girl upbringing has that ingrained in my head!!!!

So Christmas eve we go to midnight mass candlelight service and nosh all night on all sorts of things (kielbasa and sauerkraut are traditional - hmmm methinks that is weird but I still do it). On Christmas day we revel in staying in our new Christmas pajamas and just hanging out.

Paulines - heeee My sister is married to a nice jewish boy (ira) and my fairly religious in-laws (catholic) are visiting this year from Florida. So, I do Christmas Eve and my sister does Christmas. She just told me she will be making brisket and chicken noodle soup. Ahhh the look on my in-laws faces. Not your traditional christmas dinner! My BIL and I have alot of good laughs together. One year my sister made Ham during passover. Heeee!!!!!

    Bookmark   December 19, 2005 at 12:56AM
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sladybug2

Christmas eve is at my house with a buffet tons of food and (hordouvres) and games. We usually play boggle, cards, scrutinize, and some silly games. (Apples 2 Apples) Come as you are with a little festivity. This year everyone is required to bring a bell!!!

    Bookmark   December 19, 2005 at 4:47AM
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demicent

The dinner is formal. The participants are informal.

We eat in the dining room, with the nice table linens, china and crystal, my wedding set of silver. Candles. Vivaldi's Four Seasons playing in the next room.

Meanwhile the guests (and us too) are usually dressed in jeans or sweats. Some of my relatives bring their dogs along, and we all sneak them table scraps. My dad used to be famous for letting my collie jump up on his lap and lick his plate when the meal was nearly over.

I'm sure many of you would be horrified, but that's the kind of people we are :)

Oh and it's NECESSARY to have chocolate flavored Kosto pudding for dessert.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2005 at 9:46AM
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lpolk

Christmas Eve at my house was always a raucous party with carols and buffet, tree trimming (yes, that night) and anyone who wanted to come. Christmas dinner was more subdued, sit down, and formal. This year Christmas eve will be at my casual mom's, and Christmas dinner will be at the more formal in laws.

Once my kitchen is done, I will get to host! Yipee!

    Bookmark   December 19, 2005 at 11:27AM
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mrsmarv

We dress the table in it's holiday best, but we're dressed casually.
We also celebrate both holidays, Chanukah and Christmas.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2005 at 2:38PM
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paulines

MT,
Please share your menu. We moved from an area in MA with a huge Portuguese population. I have an awesome recipe for shrimp mozambique if anyone's interested!

Maggie,
Ummm, I don't think ham on Passover is too kosher-lol On our first holidays together DH gave me some fun money to spiff up our quite barren apartment. I went Christmas crazy; Santa toilet seat covers, Santa toothbrush & soap holders, lights, reindeers & snowmen literally everywhere- I've since mellowed out, but it was fun!

    Bookmark   December 19, 2005 at 2:55PM
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msazadi

Pauline, I'll take that shrimp recipe. I've been to Mozambique (well just across the border!!) but those hot peppers are something. PilliPilli it was called in east Africa. Maureen

    Bookmark   December 19, 2005 at 3:20PM
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pirula

When we're not living in bumfrig Egypt, we always have Christmas dinner at the home of my sons's godparent's (Also my surrogate mother, my mother passed away a few years back). It is very much a formal affair, as are all meals at her house. Jacket, ties. Standing rib roast and Yorkshire pudding. It's delightful. I can't tell you how much I missed it the past two years, and we can't wait this year.

Ivette

    Bookmark   December 19, 2005 at 3:39PM
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sharon_sd

This year we will be doing "Christmas dinner" for the first time on Christmas eve, so that two daughters can go to spouse/boyfriend's families on Christmas day.

We do the table up formally, but participants are usually fairly casual, something a step up from jeans, but I am the only one who wears a formal full length kilt.

About half the crowd is vegetarian so I am making our traditional dressing stuffed cashew loaf to accompany the turkey.

My 11 year old grandaughter discovered that her knitting teacher and husband have nowhere to go for Christmas, so she asked if she could invite them to ours. So I guess we are up to 18 for dinner. Now I just have to figure out where to put them all.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2005 at 5:55PM
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paulines

Here it is Maureen (sorry to go OT, MT):

Saute finely chopped onion (1 large), green pepper (1), garlic (3-4 cloves) and hot pepper flakes (to taste) in butter until tender & translucent. Add 2 envelopes of Goya Sazon (the one with the picture of shrimp on it) and cook for a minute. Add approx. 1 1/2 cups white wine and reduce to half. Add clean, uncooked medium shrimp (1 1/2 lbs. or so and simmer until shrimp are pink (stir occasionally). Top with sliced scallions, sliced green olives w/ pimento, and a squeeze of fresh lemon.

Some folks use EVOO instead of the butter and beer in place of the wine. I've done both and prefer the butter/wine combo just a bit more.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2005 at 7:24PM
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