Tasty Christmas Eve Traditions

Roslyn Celebrations & Gift Ideas Chinese food on Christmas, Feast of the Seven Fishes, holiday food, Holidays, Jewish Christmas celebrations

Roasted Red Snappertthearts1652 share-fb share-tw share-pin share-gplusRoasted red snapper | Photos: Lizzie Munro/Tasting Table   Read more: http://www.tastingtable.com/entry_detail/national/18526/Feast_of_the_Seven_Fishes_Seafood_Menu_and_Recipes.htm#ixzz3MRXa92cQ

Roasted Red Snapper

Most families have Christmas Eve traditions. Some gather and exchange gifts, put milk and cookies out for Santa, go to Midnight Mass and some may first decorate the tree.
One especially tasty Christmas Eve tradition I have been fortunate to share in is the Feast of the Seven Fishes. We didn’t know quite what to expect when were invited to share the evening meal with our neighbors, Camille and Tony. Well, we were in for a culinary treat, as we are seafood lovers.

We learned that the Feast had been their family Christmas Eve tradition for generations. They shared the murky history of this tradition but we could barely listen as we started eating. Our senses were overwhelmed as scrumptious courses graced the table;  salt cod, an oily fish such as sardines, an octopus salad, langostinos, peas and rice and a seafood pasta you could die for. We also had fried calamari, fish fritters, and lots of wine to wash away the salt from the olives and anchovies.
This was one tradition we hoped to repeat.

Is the Feast of the Seven Fishes a fish tale?

The Feast of the Seven Fishes is part of the Italian-American Christmas Eve celebration.
Where the practice of eating seven different types of fish on Christmas Eve comes from and why the number seven, doesn’t seem to matter.
It may have started in Southern Italy where it is called La Viglia or with Italian Americans. The seven could refer to the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church or that creation occurred in seven days. Some families are known to have even more than seven courses and like all good family traditions, every family does it their own special way.

There are of course, gourmet versions of the Feast. The Tasting Table, a website and newsletter for culinary enthusiasts suggests a Seven Fishes menu like so:


View the recipes here:


What do you do on Christmas Eve if you are Jewish?

For as long as I can remember we always went out for a local Chinese meal and a movie on Christmas Eve. It seemed that is what everyone who was Jewish did.  It may have started out that way because it was the only type of restaurant open on Christmas Eve but now it seems that it’s done because it’s fun, it’s delicious- it’s tradition. And it just doesn’t taste as good if you order take out, rent a movie and hang out at home. You have to over order, try new dishes and leave stuffed. Here is an example of dim sum, a bite sized assortment of many types of dishes.
Go with a group and sample it all.


The practice of going out for an authentic Chinese meal for non Christians has spilled into Christmas Day. It has become a festive affair, sometimes in large banguet halls with huge groups of people, a long wait and harried service. Due to the ethnic diversity in the region, New York has 3 Chinatowns in various boroughs; lower Manhattan, Sunset Park, Brooklyn and Flushing, Queens. Aren’t we lucky?

For a list of New York’s best Chinese restaurants and Dim Sum, read more: http://www.tastingtable.com/entry_detail/nyc/18543/The_Best_Chinese_and_Dim_Sum_Restaurants_for_Christmas_Day_.htm#ixzz3MP42nxyU 

I am sure there are other great traditional and non-traditional ways to enjoy Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. Whatever you choose to do, have a wonderful time and share in the comments what your tradition is.

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I loved going to work each day for 30 years as a professional career counselor. When I retired, I explored my creativity and regard for crafts until I discovered beading. At age 68 I turned my new found passion- jewelry design, into a business. At age 72 I took on learning about social media marketing and developing my computer skills. I am sharing my journey from inception, to frustration, to elation -in the hope of inspiring others that 'it is not too late to start again'. Welcome to my re-invention!

Comments 16

  1. Those sound like great Christmas eve traditions, Roslyn. Since I have married my high school sweetheart 13 years ago, (No we are not 30 years old!) we celebrate his birthday which falls on Dec. 24. When he was a child, one of 7 siblings, people felt sorry for him because his birthday got a bit buried with the holiday festivities. But his retort was always, “It’s great on my birthday. Everybody domes!”

  2. I love the idea of going with a group and ordering a bunch of dishes you’ve never tried. That sounds like so much fun to me! I don’t think I’ve EVER done that at a restaurant, period. As always, I loved hearing of this Christmas Eve tradition. My family has dinner on Christmas Eve, followed by a church service. In the little town next door there are giant Bayous where the community lines up luminaries with names of loved ones here and gone. It’s truly a beautiful sight to see all the little lights.

  3. Being Jewish we don’t really do anything on Christmas Eve but we generally go for Chinese food on Christmas day and then to a movie. What a lovely tradition you get to share I with your neighbors. Sounds great! Enjoy!

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  4. How fabulous that you got to experience the Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve, Roz! The first time I got to partake was many years ago, when my boyfriend at the time, who was Italian, took me to his relatives for Christmas eve. We got 12 fishes! and as I was reading your blog, my mouth started watering as I remembered how special and delicious it was.
    Great post, and I love that you included recipes~~

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      Hope, always a treat to come upon your comments to my blog. Its great that you read them when receiving our newsletter. Thanks and I always pass compliments on to Beth.

  5. Wow! After reading this … of course … I had to have a conversation with my COACH EXTRAORDINAIRE … Roz Evans Tanner!!!

    A) Gotta love that woman! EVERYTHING … I mean EVERYTHING … She states, or the comments about her … and her re-made career …. ARE COMPLETELY TRUE! Actually, she is much, much more than WORDS can EVER explain!

    B) I can’t believe how gorgeous ALL her jewelery is …. I have QUITE A FEW!!! (HaHaHa!!!) … And whenever I wear them out (which is at least 5 out of 7 times a week) …. the comments NEVER END!!! “OMG! where did you get that?” “WOW, that is soooo beautiful!” … The perfect accent for one like me – ALWAYS want to be the center of attention! Love, Love, Love my BeadzByRoz!!!

    And last but not least, C) The Feast of the Seven Fishes! OMG! I’m over 60 and still in the query of why do we eat SEVEN (or more) fishes!? Why? why? why? Is is the 7 days of the week, the 7 wonders of the world, the 7 sacraments or even the 7 oceans!!! We don’t know … all we and I know … is that it’s gotta be at least seven different fishes!!! They can be prepared differently or several together in a fruitta de mare (fresh seafood salad) or a Fish Stew … like crabs, clams, mussels, lobsters, etc. with a red sauce. Somewhere after the fruitta … there must be a large, large bowl or bowls (or tray/trays) of numberous lbs of linquine. The amount grows proportionately with the amount of guests …. And DO NOT FORGET … the fried filet, lemon sole, bassa or cod!!! Gotta to do be fried course!!! For me … this fried course …. is one of maybe 6 fried dishes I may eat throughout an entire year!!! What w wonderful tradition … would love to hear what other reasons people have as to why we do this? But I’m stickin with … ” Mama did it , Aunt Helen did it … therefore, we do it!” Manga!!!! Lynn

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      Lynn Marziale, I just might include your fabulous description of the Feast of seven fishes next year. Thank you for your kind words about me and your compliments. Always great to have a fan exxtraordinaire in ones corner.

  6. That last long response was in reference to The Feast of the 7 Fishes, held on Christmas Eve … EVERY SINGLE YEAR I can remember!!! And I have some (very, very few) images of my “BABY” brother (maybe somewhere between 1 and 2 years old … and he is NOW 56 !!!) … stuffing his little, face with crab meat … red sauce all over him!!! And of course, the Italian requisite “”juice glass of red wine!” …. We were set-up, even as babies!!!! GOTTA LOVE ITALIANS!!! Mangia!!! Lynn

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  7. Lynn,
    I LOVE your comments and food descriptions – and the image of your baby brother!! And let’s not forget the seafood casserole with cheese; like a gratin? That was so delicious. And isn’t Baccala in there somewhere?
    On another note, Roz will always be my mentor and dear friend. I can see how in her first career as career counselor people must have adored her as she helped them transform their lives. And in her present career as a jewelry designer, I get the same responses from people as Lynn each time I wear one of her pieces!

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      Wow Hope, Lynn, I’m going to reread my blog comments more often. Nice to have you read and reply to another commenter Hope and you don’t even know one another.

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