Every year around this time, the world seems to get festive, people look merrier, and even winter doesn’t feel as cold. Christmas is one of the most celebrated holidays worldwide. But the ways we celebrate differs from country to country.
The holiday season at SideChef is a fun time! We are busy making sure you can find all the best Christmas recipe ideas for your celebrations and do your grocery shopping in time.
But this year, some of SideChef’s team members decided to dedicate some time to share their Christmas traditions with you. Because we know how wonderfully varied and diverse those traditions are worldwide, our multicultural team is represented by sixteen different countries!
“In Mexico, we have something called Posadas. The nine nights before Christmas, people gather with friends or neighbors to reenact Mary and Joseph's search for a place to give birth. The group forms a procession where two people are chosen to play Mary and Joseph and go to a different house, always "getting rejected" every night until they finally let them in on the final night (Christmas Eve).
After the reenactment, people sing, drink Mexican punch (a delicious warm drink made of hibiscus flower, hawthorn, and sugar cane), and break a piñata. A lot of people nowadays use Posadas as an excuse to party every night for nine nights before Christmas, but tradition is still there.”
- Sergio, Content Publishing Manager
“In New Zealand, Christmas is celebrated in SUMMER! So while many families still eat the traditional British-influenced Christmas food, MANY of us have a backyard BBQ instead - much more fun.
If the family has Maori (indigenous people of New Zealand) roots, they might have a hangi [hung - E]. A hangi is a style of underground cooking where meat, seafood, vegetables, and starchy carbs like sweet potato (we called it kumara) are wrapped in either flax leaves or cloth sacks and aluminum foil. We dig a pit, place the food on hot stones at its bottom, and bury it underground. It takes a few hours to cook, and the food turns out tender (basically slow-cooked with hot stones) and earthy - yum!
We also go to the beach a lot. Any excuse to go to the beach. Leftovers? Let's eat them at the beach. Wanna get away from family? Let's go to the beach! - I used to be at least three shades darker during Christmas time.”
- Emily, Senior Brand Manager
“In the Philippines, we have "Simbang Gabi,” - a series of nine dawn masses that lead up to Christmas Eve. The belief is that if you go to all nine masses, you'll have your wish granted!
While it's a religious tradition and not everyone will go to mass, many Filipinos love being around the churches during this time because there are always people selling traditional Filipino Christmas food like puto bumbong, suman, and bibingka.”
- Kate, Account Director
“My family always hangs stockings, and Santa fills them with small fun presents. Christmas morning, we will line up in age order (youngest first) and walk slowly toward the stockings singing “Hurrah, Hurrah, Merry Christmas.”
On Christmas Eve, we always enjoy eggnog. The SideChef eggnog recipe is based on my family’s recipe - which has been passed down for the last five generations!’
-Cadence, Co-founder, SVP of Operations
“For the Dutch, there are two competing celebrations in December that share similar elements of gift-giving but completely different origin.
Besides Christmas, we also celebrate Sinterklaas on the 5th of December. Saint Nicolas comes by speedboat from Spain to give presents to kids who have been good that year. The origins of Sinterklaas predate the anglicized tradition of Santa Claus. The Dutch nowadays celebrate both events (because why not), but there is generally less gift-giving during Christmas, as this already happened during Sinterklaas. We still have a big Christmas dinner and put up Christmas decorations.
When celebrating Sinterklaas with only grown-ups, the tradition is to draw a name, write a personal poem, and make a 'surprise' for this person. This crafty object represents that person's hobby or interests and has a gift hidden inside it. It always involves a lot of creativity and craft skills! For instance, I once made my dad a soccer field out of a shoebox.
Another tradition is for Dutch companies to give a Christmas gift box to their employees as a sign of appreciation for the hard work over the year. Usually, it is a food basket with delicacies. It comes from a historical tradition: the gift of food given to farmworkers to take home to their families for Christmas.”
- Marit, Director of Product
“The last four Sundays before Christmas are called Adventszeit sth like Advents season. It’s a pre-celebration of the arrival of Christ's child, although it’s more of a tradition nowadays.
During this time, we go to the Christmas Market with friends and families (most likely on weekends), bake cookies and Christmas Cakes, and drink a lot of red or white Glühwein (mulled wine).
Usually, every family has a wreath with four candles. Families light a candle each Sunday, gather together, and eat Christmas cookies and Stollen (Christmas cake).
We celebrate Christmas on the 24th. That day, we decorate the tree, and it stays till the 6th January (Day of the three kings). Most families (including mine) will have a simple Christmas dinner - potato salad and sausages. After that, we hand out gifts and spend time together, and later that evening young people go out and meet friends to celebrate. The next day we have a big lunch with duck roast, red apple cabbage, Kartoffelklöße, and lots of wine.
In addition, the night before the 6th, children will polish their shoes and place them outdoors (only one boot). The next day Knecht Ruprecht (St. Nikolaus) brought either chocolate coins and mandarins for good children or a rod to spank naughty kids because they didn’t deserve a treat. But nowadays, all kids get a treat.”
- Mandy, Recipe Specialist
SideChef's one and only Peidi is not technically Croatian. She was born in Taiwan, grew up in Manila, and now lives in the melting pot of cultures that is Shanghai.
Peidi is a true foodie and explorer, so here's her Croatian Christmas tradition:
"A new Christmas tradition that started a few years ago for me is making this 3-day labor-of-love Croatian dish Pašticada for my partner. Pašticada is 3 pounds of slow-cooked roast beef goodness which uses plums and Croatian wine. Croatian food is all about deep earthy flavors, traditionally burying lamb or beef in a pot under hot ashes to slow cook for hours. I recreated this in a dutch oven in a low-temperature oven. A great drink pairing is mulled wine, which complements the deep earthy flavors from the meat with the spices and oranges cooked with the wine. "
- Peidi, Director of Platform
Here's a bonus Christmas recipe idea for extra delicious and spicy mulled wine from Peidi at SideChef. You can get some extra tips and tricks for this mulled wine recipe from Peidi in this week’s episode of Lunch Break - brand new SideChef original recipe show!