Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Your Favorite Holiday Food Tradition

No other time of year is so richly steeped in tradition than the holiday season, and lucky for us, lots of those traditions involve cooking, eating and sharing great food. We’ve all got memorable dishes and must-make recipes connected to this time of year. Maybe it’s Uncle Charlie’s extra-strong eggnog or Grandma Ruth’s red cabbage sauté. How about your own famous scalloped potatoes or a special-batch baklava you make every New Year’s Eve? We want to know about your treasured holiday food tradition. Tell us about it in the comments section below by December 21 and we’ll pick a winner at random to receive a $50 Whole Foods Market® gift card. To get in the spirit, we asked some Team Members to share their favorite food traditions. From Mara: "Our family is part Puerto Rican and we celebrate Christmas each year with paella. My mother-in-law spends the entire day cooking and makes her own sofrito as the base seasoning for the rice. While I love Christmas dinner, my favorite is leftover paella — it seems to even be more flavorful the next day." From Anna: "When invited out on Christmas I ALWAYS bring a huge green salad with lots of crispy fresh veggies with mandarin sections and dried cranberries. I use a light lime dressing. It is a tangy wonder that offsets all of the heavy food we love to eat this time of year." From Jennifer: "The children in our Chinese-American family insist on traditional holiday food – stuffing, ham, turkey, cranberry sauce, casseroles — the works! A few years back, one of my cousins who isn’t big on cooking ordered noodles from a Chinese restaurant as his contribution. Now our holiday meals aren't complete without some takeout Chinese noodles — it's the one dish at our table guaranteed not to have any leftovers." From Elizabeth: "For the past four years, my nephew and I have baked molasses cookies while listening to the Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack. The cookies have gotten tastier as he's gotten older, and now we know the songs by heart." From Betsy: "It's an unofficial Jewish tradition to go out for Chinese food on Christmas, so last Christmas Eve, my husband, in-laws and I decided to try a hole-in-the-wall Chinese barbecue joint. We enjoyed an amazing feast of Peking duck, hot and sour soup, fried rice, Chinese broccoli and all of the fixings. It was so good we now plan to ring in Christmas every year with Chinese barbecue." From Allison: "My husband’s family in Houston does tamales and chili every Christmas Eve. My mother-in-law makes the chili and the tamales come from our favorite Mexican restaurant down the street, and we open presents with plenty of hot sauce on the side." What’s your favorite food tradition of the holiday season? Share it with us by December 21 for the chance to win a $50 Whole Foods Market gift card. We can’t wait to hear about your festive feasting traditions! The fine print: No purchase necessary. Promotion ends December 21, 2011. Must be a legal resident of the US or Canada (except in Quebec, where it is void) age 18 or older to participate. Taxes on prize, if applicable, are the responsibility of the winner. Employees of Whole Foods Market, Inc., are not eligible. Void where prohibited.

Leave a reply

To provide feedback or ask a question about our company, a store or a product, please visit our Customer Service page.

For more information about posting comments to our blog, please see our Comment Posting Guidelines.

1104 comments

Comments

may delory says …

I buy organic apple cider at Whole Foods and brew with rum or brandy & cinnamon sticks.

Robin says …

My favorite holiday food tradition was a really simple one. While we were opening presents, my dad would make scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage and fresh biscuits. Then we would all sit on the floor eating and passing around presents.

Joe says …

For the past two years my cousin Timm and I get together on Christmas Eve to bake some goods for our family Christmas party the next day. Timm and I are in every essence baking partners and we share a passion for vegan baking, so although we live in different parts of the country, we always get back together to bake for the holidays - Vegan style!

Dustin M says …

Debating politics and religion with relatives.

Rose says …

I make soups and breads and have an open house for those alone. Its wonderful...feeding people and visiting with friends!

Tiffany says …

Mother makes Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate! To die for! For Christmas eve, mother serves a simple meal. Besides the PB Hot Cocoa on the stove, she also prepares her pineapple glazed ham & swiss cheese sliders. Finally, her "sopas" or filipino version of chicken noodle soup, the difference is the cream and shells she adds to the soup. Merry Christmas!

Lena says …

We make a delicious crabmeat & shrimp pasta salad w/shell pasta, chopped red & green bellpepper & onions, mayonnaise, pepper & salt.

Nicole Herman says …

We all share in cooking the entire meal on Christmas Day. My two young sons and I have a great time cooking together!

Maureen G says …

A family tradition passed down from great-grandma was to make nut rolls to share as gifts and to eat. We now have a family group gather before Christmas (and Easter) and make these rolls

Isabelle says …

My grand mother is from a small town on the north coast of the st laurent river in canada, so i grew up with a variety of meaty goddness and extremly sweet desert all with extremly french name. From a "cipate" ( a beef, pork and patato stew like) to "sucre a la creme" (maple fudge like) it was everything to keep us warm in a cold winter night. I now try to continue these tradition in much warmer climate, but it really is just about the memories!

Eric says …

While putting up the Christmas tree and decorating the house, we listen to Christmas music. After we're all done, we have vegan hot chocolate with candy canes and watch a Christmas film. On Christmas day, every year, I get to have a wonderful vegan feast with my family. There's nothing better than a cruelty free holiday season!

Angela says …

One of our family traditions is making yummy vegan lasagna on Christmas, along with some vegan caramel pecan bars (from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero), and enjoying my loved one's company.

Monika says …

Our family food tradition is to make gingerbread cookies. The fun part is naming and decorating the cookies as they come out of the oven We've had gingerbread cookies with names like "Fat tummy", "Twins", and "Sugar foot."

Julie Strunk says …

Since high school I have made a cheese ball at Christmas. Over the years I've been invited to parties because I bring the cheese ball! Now I make one for many of my neighbors every year and deliver them on the 23rd or 24th of December. In some households, the cheese ball is gone by the end of the day. Others share them at holiday gatherings. My recipe will be carved on my tombstone some day!

Josh says …

Well I am Jewish, but nothing like a honey spiraled ham for the holidays - add some sweet potato mash with brown sugar and I am good to go!

Stefanie says …

I'm still in college (my last year!) and ever since I was in high school, I have made candied orange peels (from a Whole Foods recipe!) after classes finish in December. After a few years of success, I quickly realized that the demand was high enough that I triple the recipe - and triple it I did! Although it takes a few dedicated hours of peeling, slicing, and stirring, I love making them. It's so rewarding to be able to provide people with an unusual, delicious gift, that is a labor of love... and cheap to boot!

Diane says …

I am always in search of a healthier, tastier version of all the holiday classics we love to make at home. Last year, we made cranberry sauce from scratch and jarred several as gifts. It was delicious and filled with fun memories. I plan to do something similar this year.

Candice B says …

One year I decided to use almond extract in my regular old toll house chocolate chip cookies. My uncle went nuts and everyone loved them. They now request them at every family holiday gathering :)

Ryan McAdams says …

My family has a couple traditions. One, my mom always makes sausage balls on christmas morning. Since I was a kid, i've woken up to the aroma a warm sausage balls on christmas morning. Even though I'm grown and dont' live at home anymore, she still makes them every year. Our other tradition is that we never make the same meal two years in a row. We started that a few years ago after my Grandmother passed away and we stopped having a huge family gathering. Since it's just me, my mom, sister, nephew and stepdad now, we make a different meal every year. One year it was Italian with my mom's homemade spaghetti, the next was steak and shrimp, then last year we made an asian meal, courtesy of some awesome recipes by the lovely Rachael Ray! I believe this year we're bringing back the steak and shrimp cause it was just awesome, but rest assured next year, it'll be something different. Merry Christmas to everyone at Whole Foods. Your store is affectionately called my "Mecca" because anyone who loves cooking and loves making good food simply has to shop in a food heaven such as Whole Foods. Merry Christmas everyone!

Lisa W. says …

Floor Picnic. Years ago, when my 5 children were very young, I was completely overwhelmed by the holidays. With extended family out of state, it was just us. In a feeble attempt to cobble together a festive meal, but too tired to set a holiday table, I spread out a blanket on the floor, and made a mish-mash of finger foods: cheese fondue with apples and bread, pigs in a blanket, shrimp, quesadilla, and yes, chicken nuggets. It was a hit. My kids now expect 'Floor Picnic' every year. Right down to the nuggets.

Jennifer Cox says …

Our family tradition is tamales for Christmas dinner. Our relatives grew up in South Texas and brough this tradition to our family.

Lisa H says …

Southern Supreme fruitcake. And dinner out!

Michelle m says …

We are now Vegan this year well have to make a new tradition with Vegan stew, tofurkey and dark chocolate pumpkin muffins

Sarah says …

My family started a tradition of fondue on Christmas Eve about 6 or 7 years ago. We have a traditional Swiss cheese fondue, soup, and salad for dinner before the candlelight Christmas Eve service at church. Then we come back for dark chocolate fondue with fruit, cake, and (my brother's favorite) marshmallows. It's a little out of the ordinary, but it's easily my favorite family tradition.

Nancy says …

We make batches of homemade toffee to share with service providers and friends. Have to admit that we love to make it, but we also love all the rave reviews, and the comments from those who wait to receive it each year.

Victoria says …

My family is your very typical (but unique!) big, loud and obnoxious Italian bunch, but we modified the Seven Fishes to about four and concentrate on making them worth the zillions of calories. I have to say, though, that my favorite meal of Christmas time isn't the grand Christmas Eve dinner but the Christmas morning breakfast when my mom makes homemade Monkey Bread.

Gina Rossi says …

No Christmas is complete without our family's traditional scungilli salad, a luscious mix of calamari rings and sometimes the tentacles, slices of conch ( the scungilli), and shrimp. The fish marinate in lots of fresh lemon juice, olive oil, sliced garlic, and red pepper flakes. The longer it marinates the better. It's served cold as a first course to our king crab and linguine extravaganza on Christmas Eve!

Eleonor L. says …

We always buy a whole roast pork on Christmas eve and any very special occassions,and we always cook pansit which is a white rice noddles with chicken pcs.and vegetables mix all together as a filipino tradition,with a dessert of sweet rice cakes.

Jill Osborne says …

My family eats fried oysters for breakfast every Christmas morning. Yum!

Cassie says …

I took piano lessons for many years growing up and always played Christmas songs in the family living room. The family sang along to my fumbling music while sitting in front of the fire and sipping egg nog. This year, my mom and dad came to Denver to celebrate the season early. We were enjoying downtown where there are pianos decorated in winter themes. Spontaneously, I sat down and played a tune. Soon, my family and everyone around was singing Christmas tunes - again, to my fumbling music. It was an old tradition reincarnated and was a fabulous twist on an old theme...

Eddy says …

Our traditional Chanukah treats are Beignets; we keep frying them all through the dreidl games.

Stephanie says …

My mother-in-law makes the BEST whole wheat cinnamon rolls every Christmas morning. I always look forward to them. They're delightfully sweet...but not TOO sweet.

Jess says …

We celebrate our Norwegian Heritage every Christmas. We have lefse and lutefisk. It isn't the tastiest dish in the world and we don't all like to eat it but we have so much fun trying it and laughing around the dinner table.

Liz says …

My favorite holiday tradition is making sugar cookies with my family. Every year since I can remember, my brother decorates only the cookies he eats, my dad just participates in the taste testing, and my mom and me roll out the dough and decorate the cookies for Christmas.

[ Phyllis says …

Our entire family makes and decorates Christmas sugar cookies. We judge the most creative, the prettiest, the craziest- any category we think appropriate. We eat some that night, the rest are part of dessert on Christmas day. We finish them between Christmas and New Year's. My son-in-law has quickly become the most adept at rolling the dough! Not bad for only two years into the tradition!

Yael says …

Frying and gobbling up latkes followed by Chinese food and movies (with all the other Boulder Jews & Buddhists on Xmas eve). No standing in line!

Sue says …

A tradition that we started over 15 years ago was to give my father a crown roast of pork for his christmas gift. He had always talked about wanting to try one and so instead of getting him another pair of pajamas, we tried the roast one christmas. It was a hit, and dad passed away 10 years ago and we still enjoy the roast every christmas day and toast to him!

Amy Butcher says …

My mom or I, or both of us, make chocolate chip oatmeal drop cookies. They are the embodiment of my childhood in cookie form! One whiff of them baking in the oven transports back in time.

Stefanie says …

It never seems like the holiday in my house until my mom bakes up a batch of her christmas fudge. I love helping her and then we pack up some for gifts and eat the rest. Other holiday foods are lumpy mashed potatoes and lots of green beans.

Karen says …

In addition to the traditional cut out sugar cookies, I always make a several batches of cheese crackers that we cut into shapes, bake and decorate for a savory addition to all the sweets. YUM!!

Janet says …

My memories of my grandparents home in New Orleans revolve around the foods and aromas from my grandmother's kitchen. She always had an assortment of cookies, including date pecan pinwheels, anise meringues, pecan spice, vanilla wafers and sugar cookies. We would have shrimp and stuffed crabs for appetizers. Then main course was always a medium rare prime rib from my grandfather's meat market on Magazine street. Mirlitons stuffed with shrimp for a side. My parents had continued to create the same wonderful foods and now I will continue the tradition with my family.

yvonne schenck says …

I don't eat meat so my favorite dish around the holidays is Scallops with Bechamelle sauce and good gruyere cheese. we also have a cheese plate with Gorgonzola and pears. sometimes I make belgian endive salad with Bleu d'Auvergne and walnuts.

Lora Reynolds says …

My family comes over for a prime rib dinner. We then make a birthday cake for Jesus and read the story of Christ's birth and sing happy birthday and the kids get to blow out the candles. I want my kids to grow up knowing the true meaning of Christmas and this is a great Christmas tradition, plus they get chocolate cake!

annie says …

I love to cook and tend to make different kinds of food every year because I can never settle on just one thing (cracked crab one year, roasted beef tenderloin the next, seafood-heavy Italian dishes this year) . However my mom, who doesn't cook, happily puts out her go-to appetizer every single year on Christmas eve: A block of cream cheese covered with red pepper jelly, served with crackers. No matter what kind of meal we're having that evening, it doesn't feel like Christmas eve until everyone starts digging into "Mom's Christmas Special", which is actually quite yummy despite its simplicity. It's the only holiday food she makes, and she's adorably proud of it. We like to have it with cocktails and/or champagne.

Leah says …

My mother is Jewish and my father is Catholic so our holiday traditions have always been a little, well, nontraditional. As the years have passed and diets have changed, we've tried it all, but the one constant has been my dad's favorite cherry wink cookies. We've tweaked them a bit; vegan-ized them, substituted out the sugar, you name it, but the holidays just aren't complete without those moist delicious nut and date cookies rolled in corn flakes and topped with a cherry! Happy Holidays!

Kimberly says …

My oldest boy is autistic and on a restricted diet. We are learning that he likes to help out in the kitchen. So our tradition now is to make grain free cookies! (almond flour!)

Courtney says …

Being from the south we have LOTS of food related traditions but one of my most fond is of making pecan candy with my mimi (grandmother). The sight of her 5ft tall frame standing on a stool over the stove. The smell of carmelizing sugar and butter filling the house. Getting popped with the back of a wooden spoon for trying to snag already cooled pieces off the counter before all of the bags for family were finished. Absolutely nothing better!

Kristine says …

When I was younger we'd drive up north to the UP to see my Grandparents. There was always a ton of snow because she lived acrossed the street from a hillside park sledding a big part of these holiday visits. We'd come in from the cold and put our gloves on top the warm stove to dry out. We'd have coffee with warm milk and fresh warm Nisua, a Finnish cardamom bread. Just the smell of cardamom is enough to remind me of my Grandma's kitchen in the UP.

angie lilly says …

This time of year I am a huge sucker for frosted sugar cookies and chocolate walnut fudge!!! mmmmmm! Can eat both until I am sick! LOL

Jordan says …

Growing up my mother would always make a traditional Chanukah dinner. To this day she uses the same recipe to make her potato latkes and every year they seem to get better and better. She doesn't take any shortcuts and puts her heart into each batch. She hand grates 10 potatoes and 3 onions. She then drains the mixture and adds six eggs, garlic, salt, pepper, a cup of flour, and some baking powder. This is followed by several hours of frying in a skillet on the stove top. I cant imagine celebrating any other way! Now that my sister and I are older the three of us compete every year to see who makes the best batch.

Pages