KANSAS CITY, Mo. – No matter what country you live in or how you say “Merry Christmas”, it’s a joyous time of the year to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas with family and friends. One major highlight of this annual family celebration is the special dining experiences enjoyed in each home regardless of the country you live in. And meat and poultry play an integral and traditional part of this annual celebration in many homes around the world. 


 Bryan Salvage

In the United States and Canada, many families will dine on traditional roast turkey with all the trimmings or some may choose ham — but it’s nice to break the mold once in a while. One Christmas in the early 1960’s, our family added fresh rabbit and pheasant to our Thanksgiving and Christmas Day menus — thanks to successful hunts by my dad, grandfather and Dad’s uncle earlier both days.

Outside of North America, meat and poultry dishes served for Christmas can vary quite a bit from country to country. Sweden celebrates Christmas in style with many tasty protein options, including Swedish meatballs, ham, small hot dog sausages, fresh pork sausage and spare ribs, among other proteins. Argentinians also enjoy a range of proteins including beef, veal, chicken, lamb and suckling pig. Meanwhile, Brazilians may dine on pork loins, as well as roast pork or turkey, during their Christmas celebration.

Traditional German Christmas proteins can include roast goose, venison, corned smoked ham and sausages with veal and bacon. In Denmark, many of its citizens enjoy roast duck with apple and prune stuffing or pork with cracklings. Meanwhile, many Hungarians may dine on roast goose or duck. In Portugal, traditional Christmas proteins include roasted goat or lamb.

Venezuelans may enjoy a meal consisting of maize-based rectangular pastry stuffed with beef, pork, olives, raisins and caper wrapped in plantain leaves. Another traditional Venezuelan Christmas dish is ham-filled bread with olives and raisins. In Norway, families may enjoy pork sausage, smoked lamb ribs and pork ribs.

Traditions often times evolve and Japan is a good example of this point. Although turkey is nowhere to be found, many Japanese are reportedly ordering KFC chicken — and sources indicate some people in that country order their chicken months in advance to ensure they can enjoy it as part of their Christmas meal.

This year, our family will be enjoying extraordinary food on Christmas Day that doesn’t resemble your traditional Christmas dinner. Our kids requested that we serve hot appetizers instead of a traditional Christmas meal with turkey or ham. As a result, we will be dining on steak teriyaki, meatballs in a special sauce, cocktail wieners in sauce and sausage pinwheels and various cheeses and crackers among other treats…including a variety of homemade cookies.

Wherever you live and wherever you may go…here’s wishing you and yours a safe and Merry Christmas. And may this year’s Christmas dining be the topic of pleasant conversations in your families for many years to come.