Alternative Christmas dinners from around the world

Sick of soggy sprouts and turkey on Christmas day? Take inspiration from around the world with our pick of alternative Christmas dinners.



Christmas comes in the middle of the summer holidays over in Australia, so it’s likely that you’ll find most people firing up the ‘barbie’ on Christmas day. Morton Bay Bugs, a type of squat lobster, are a particular speciality found along the entire coast of the northern half of Oz. Try them BBQed with butter and parsley and a garlic and walnut mayo dip.


In Iceland, you’ll be sitting down for your main festive meal on Christmas Eve. Traditional food stuffs include hangikjöt, smoked lamb, a patterned flatbread called laufabrauð, or ‘leaf bread’. On 23 December in the west of the country, it is also customary to eat fermented skate and boiled potatoes in honour of the patron saint of Iceland.


Bacalao, a type of salted preserved cod, is a Portuguese speciality often enjoyed on Christmas Eve. Bolo Rei, or ‘King’s Cake’ is a circular cake filled with nuts and candied fruit – a favourite festive dessert.


Le Réveillon is a feast enjoyed by most French families when they return from mass on Christmas Eve. Think rich and decadent – oysters, capon (a more tender and less gamey rooster), turkey stuffed with chestnuts and boudin blanc, or white pudding.


On Christmas Eve, Noche Buena, families traditionally enjoy turkey stuffed with ground beef and peanuts and decorated with fresh slices of pineapple and cherries, roast potatoes and apple sauce. And if that isn’t enough, it’s marzipan and panettone accompanied by a cup of thick hot chocolate – churros style.


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