Variety name of the game when it comes to Christmas dinner

A vision of Christmas turkey or ham baked to perfection and lathered with glaze on a platter usually comes to mind when thinking of a traditional Christmas dinner. Usually side dishes include an abundance of loaded potatoes, cheesy vegetables, stuffing with apples or raisins and maybe some fresh baked rolls. But the main dish isn’t always turkey or ham, and has evolved to include different kinds of beef, pork and seafood.

“We always have prime rib and shrimp and sauce for Christmas dinner,” Aggie Ferguson said. “I have three sons and that is what we’ve been having since they were little.”

Shrimp is a popular appetizer in Christmas dinners, and usually is served with a few other snack style foods before the main dish.

“We have a lot of good finger foods for our dinner,” Patty Hanna said. “We usually have shrimp, ham slices, different kinds of dips, a cheese ball and always have cookies and drinks at Christmas.”

When it comes to specialty drinks on Christmas day, it seems egg nog takes the proverbial cake as a standout choice.

“We all have to have egg nog to drink on Christmas,” Janine Grefe said. “We make the traditional holiday ham and have shrimp and usually a cheese ball to snack on, but always have eggnog.”

Some families have their own special traditional food they only eat around the holiday, like Amy MacArthur’s family. Her mother-in-law makes a dish called stollen, which is a German Christmas traditional sweet bread packed with dried fruits and has a ribbon of marzipan in the middle.

“The only time we have it is when she makes it for Christmas,’ MacArthur said. “The homemade sweet bread with candied fruit pieces is one of my favorites.”

Mary Jane Wysocki has a different type of traditional dish during her Christmas dinner, she said the best part of dinner is her grandmother’s cabbage salad.

“The salad makes the whole dinner,” she said. “We have chicken and dressing and a lot of other dishes, but the cabbage salad is my favorite.”

Prime rib is the main dish at Mary Bray’s Christmas dinner, but it also includes a special recipe that came from a hotel in Boyne City that has become a staple during Christmas.

“Our family tradition is prime rib with tomato pudding,” Bray said. “It’s a sweet dish with lots of sugar, and you either love it or you hate it, but we have it every year.”

Whether the main dish at Christmas dinner is ham, turkey, ribs, or beef tenderloins, the most important part of the meal always seems to come down to the company.

Sonja Clark said it best when she said “the best part of my Christmas dinner is having my family there.”

Nicole Grulke can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5687. Follow Nicole on Twitter @ng_alpenanews.