Christmas Dinner at Home

by | Aug 26, 2018 | Celebrations

I love Christmas time!

Just to get in the mood, here some differences I found between my country and the Netherlands: Many Brazilian Christmas traditions come from Portugal as Portugal ruled Brazil for many years. Nativity Scenes, known as Presépio are very popular. They are set-up in churches and homes all through December. In Brazil, Santa Claus is called Papai Noel & Bom Velhinho (Good Old Man). The most popular Christmas song in Brazil is ‘Noite Feliz’ (Silent Night).

My favorite Christmas moment: Known as ‘amigo secreto’ (secret friend) is popular in Brazil at Christmas. It is traditional to give small gifts all through December using a pretend name (apelidos). On Christmas Day, people reveal who their amigo secreto was! It is really fun! ​”But Anna, aren’t you going to talk about dinner? Food? We are hungry!!” ​There where I wan to get to: Favourite Christmas foods in Brazil include pork, turkey, pork, ham, salads and fresh and dried fruits. Everything is served with rice cooked with raisins and a good spoon of “farofa” (seasoned manioc flour).

Yes, please! Give me a little more of that! Hmm

​Curiosity: Brazil’s population is a mix of many different cultures and people that originally came from different countries, so you may have Italian Panettone in São Paulo, Portuguese salted Cod in Rio de Janeiro and some African style food in the states of North-East Brazil.

​Wait we are almost there. Take a sit and a BIG plate.

​The meal is normally be served around 10pm on Christmas Eve and exactly at Midnight people greet each other, make a toast wishing everyone a Happy Christmas and after that they will exchange presents. The lunch on Christmas day is also special and after that some people go to relatives and friends houses to visit. Bom apetite! 🙂

​Crossing the ocean, I could start talking about Christmas in The Netherlands with one single word: Gezellig!

The most important day during December is 5th December, when Sinterklaas (St. Nicholas) brings them their presents! ​It all starts on the second Saturday of November (the first Saturday after 11th November) when Sinterklaas travels to a city or town in The Netherlands. Dutch tradition says that St. Nicholas lives in Madrid, Spain and every year he chooses a different harbour to arrive in Holland, so as many children as possible get a chance to see him. ​On the evening that Sinterklaas arrives in The Netherlands, children leave a shoe out by the fireplace or sometimes a windowsill and sing Sinterklaas songs. They hope that Sinterklaas will come during the night with some presents.

The evening of December 5th is called St. Nicholas’ Eve ‘Sinterklaasavond’ or ‘Pakjesavond’ (present evening). The children will receive their presents during the evening. There might be a knock at the door and you might find a sack full of presents! It drives to your childhood again, is amazing! Special biscuits and sweets are also eaten at the party, such as the most famous one: Peppernoot. ​Beats! Christmas celebrations in The Netherlands are separate from the visit of Sinterklaas! There are more gifts though but do not get confused by the old men with white beard, please.

​Christmas Day itself is a much quieter day in The Netherlands, with a Church Service and family meal. This means that Christmas in the Netherlands is really about the ambiance. Even though, many people in The Netherlands also have a Christmas Tree in their houses, else the Kerstman might not comes from Lapland in Finland to deliver more presents. 😉


Food and Dutch Christmas

Christmas carillon music is played and you will find many old-fashioned stalls selling donuts and other fried seasonal favorites like oliebollen and appelflappen on the street. Christmas is family time, they spend the day together on the 25th. ​Breakfast usually consists of a brunch with a kerststol (fruited Christmas loaf) with butter, and luxury breakfast items like fancy bread rolls, smoked salmon, pates, etc. And there we go again! Hmm ​Many families eat course after lavish course for their Christmas dinner. These meals could include game meats, roast pork, fondues or gourmetten (a style of eating that involves a grill on the table so that everyone can cook bite-sized pieces of meat and vegetables themselves). Of all traditions, gourmetten is the most typically Dutch Christmas meal, but requires special equipment, called a ‘gourmet set’. This is similar to a raclette grill or party grill. ​And now that you know more about story, have you thought what makes you feel like Christmas? What about something different this time? Your guests may enjoy to tasty some other country traditional dish.

Anna’s Tip:

“Start planning your day from place, amount of people, type of celebration (dinner, party, etc.), theme, menu selection, decoration and so on.” How do you normally celebrate Christmas? ​My pleasure to help you on that! Fill the Dream Form and Let’s Get it Started!


Anna Gallo.