I used to always spend time researching and planning new and interesting recipes for every big holiday. But about 7 or 8 years ago, I figured out that I had a couple of favorites that I love incorporating every year. I realized that while I I love trying new recipes normally, holidays can be busy and stressful, so it’s nice to have the menu already decided in advance. We now eagerly anticipate our vegetarian Christmas menu every year!
Here’s what our family does for our Christmastime meals. I’d love to hear what works for you, too!
Christmas Eve Eve Dinner
For a number of years, we hosted a friends’ gathering on Christmas Eve Eve. For those who aren’t traveling for the holiday, it’s generally a low-key day/night, and we love getting together with dear friends. All the kids usually act out the nativity story and we sing carols as a group, and everyone uses our set of handmade pipe chimes. It’s so fun!
We keep dinner simple on this night and make a few different soups. They’re easy to scale we make a few different ones to hopefully appeal to a variety of tastes. Here are some of our favorite soups to make:
Christmas Eve Vegetarian Meal: Bethlehem Dinner
One of our most beloved Christmas Eve traditions for families is doing a Bethlehem dinner. Our family gathers on sheets spread on the floor to eat foods that would have been available during the time of Christ. Some of it is a bit more authentic than some others, but it’s still fun (for instance, it’s not likely that falafel was present at the birth of Christ it works for us since we don’t eat fish ;)).
We usually start our evening with some family music (singing + instruments). Then our kids usually dress up and act out the nativity story. Finally, we eat dinner while looking at photos from our trip to the Holy Land several years ago.
Here’s our vegetarian Bethlehem dinner menu:
- Flatbread (pita or lavash)
- Dried fruit (figs & dates)
- Mandarin oranges
- Goat cheese
Vegetarian Christmas Breakfast: Make Ahead Vegetarian Breakfast
I am a big fan of make-ahead meals for holidays, especially for breakfast. I definitely don’t want to wake up at 5am on Christmas morning to make a big meal! But I DO want everyone to have something warm and filling in their tummies before we jump into present-opening (and candy, ha).
I’ve made these same exact things for Christmas morning meal for years and years and they are family favorites for sure. The rolls, especially, are so festive and delicious.
- Cranberry Orange Rolls
- Breakfast Slab Pie (I usually do it with potatoes, cheddar, kale, and jalapeños)
- Perfect Homemade Hot Chocolate
We also always set the table before bed on Christmas Eve so everything is completely ready to go and simple! Here’s what we use for our table settings:
- Festive holiday tartan cloth napkins
- Nutcracker plates (ours are sold out but these are similar)
- Gold flatware
- Gold chargers
- Gold-dipped burlap placemats (these are similar)
- Gold-dipped stemless glassware
- Glass goblets
Vegetarian Christmas Dinner Menu
There are very few days in the entire year when I don’t get dressed and ready, but Christmas is one of them. I know some people love to dress up for Christmas dinner. We, on the other hand, typically do our fancy dinners earlier in the week/season and spend Christmas day lounging in our pajamas. We love it!
With that, we definitely like to keep our vegetarian Christmas meal pretty simple. So we always do fondue, except with pre-prepared ingredients so it’s ultra easy. We always buy the Trader Joe’s fondue and raclette cheeses and heat in our fondue pot (or on a baking sheet). Here are some of the things we dip:
- Apples & pears
- Cooked potatoes
- Steamed broccoli & cauliflower (we often do steamer bags of these)
We also meat some good chocolate at the end and dip some things for dessert, although we’re not usually super keen on tons of sweets by this point.
- Mandarin oranges
- Any other treats we have around
Holiday High Tea
Finally, the last couple of years, we’ve done a family holiday high tea. It’s been the most delightful thing!
We purchased this server (along with a 3-tier one that’s now sold out, but here’s one that’s in stock) several year’s ago and I’ve been shocked at how much use we’ve gotten out of it. We use it for personal family tea parties or nicer dinners, and we’ve used it for countless parties and gatherings.
For food, we do a mix of making some things and purchasing others. We never want it to feel completely overwhelming and stressful so we try to limit the total number of things we make. We do love pulling out our wedding china for the event!
This was our vegetarian afternoon tea menu this year:
- Tea Sandwiches
- Cucumber, cream cheese, and mint sandwiches on white bread
- Coronation paneer sandwiches on dark brown bread
- Toasted bread with honey goat cheese and pears
- Buche de Noel (I loved how this turned out! None of us is a giant cake fan so we likely won’t make it every year, but it was very fun to do once)
- Asparagus puffs (puff pastry cut into squares wrapped around frozen grilled asparagus and slices of cheddar or brie cheese)
- Trader Joe’s mini tea cakes
- Trader Joe’s frozen macarons
- Fresh pastries from a bakery
- Trader Joe’s scones (this is something we usually make that we bought since I made the buche)
- A huge variety of herbal teas
I hope that’s helpful in thinking through your own Christmas food traditions. Happy holidays!
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