For friends and family who like to spice things up, host an international potluck. Not everyone around the world celebrates the holidays the same way we do: in Cuba they eat Moros y Cristianos (black beans and rice), in the Czech Republic fish soup is a Christmas dinner tradition, and in Finland, liver casserole is on the holiday menu. Some international traditions are more appealing than others, but whatever your guests decide to bring, it will be an interesting holiday meal.
You don't have to eat at home; there's no shame in eating out! We all remember the Christmas dinner debacle in A Christmas Story when the neighborhood dogs destroyed the family meal and they ended up eating duck at the only restaurant, a Chinese restaurant, in town open on Christmas. Going out to eat on Christmas saves you a lot of time in the kitchen and a lot of time cleaning up, but if you're eating with family it's still a holiday meal even if there's no turkey or ham on the menu.
All Holiday Dinner
This country is a melting pot and not everyone celebrates Christmas, so host an All-Holiday Dinner where you can celebrate traditions for all the holidays being recognized at this time of year. Eat potato latkes to honor Hanukkah, serve milk rice for Bodhi Day or dish out spicy blackened catfish for Kwanzaa. You can even decorate according to all the holidays and still put up your own ornaments! It's a chance to celebrate Christmas as well as experience traditions and customs from all cultures that also cherish this time of year.
Try making a Christmas feast from different culture every year. This year choose something from a different part of the United States like a Cajun Christmas: serve shrimp and Andouille sausage with grits, spicy crab claws and cornbread casserole. Next year, go a little farther afield and serve a Greek Christmas feast of stuffed cabbage, egg-lemon rice soup and sesame baklava. The tradition will be trying different traditions and it will never be boring!
We pass down traditions from one generation to the next, but there's no harm in taking a break or branching off from that tradition to create our own customs. The most important part of the holidays is spending time with people you love, whether it's over a turkey dinner or kung pao chicken.