Features & Stories

A Christmas like no other: how to make your festive meal matter


Not much has gone to plan this year, and that holds true for Christmas celebrations too. Yet despite the trials of the pandemic and the uncertainty it has brought, the urge to observe and celebrate festive traditions seems stronger than ever this year. Gatherings may be smaller than usual, and many of us have had to adjust to last-minute changes to well-laid plans. We hope the recipes and ideas from these books, from classic cookies to traditional dishes, will help you to mark this most unusual of Christmases. Here’s our guide to help you get into the spirit of the season.

Christmas cookbooks

Read up on Christmas traditions, then bake your way through these great books.

New to the site is Yvette van Boven’s beautiful and inspirational Home-Made Christmas. It has recipes for glamorous nibbles such as Gougères, festive main dishes for meat-eaters (try her Christmas Porchetta) and vegetarians (give Celeriac Roast with Citrus Sauce a go) and ideas for creative drinks (try her Pine & Ginger Drink). She also has lots of sensible planning advice: her Christmas stress-relief tips are invaluable.

Josceline Dimbleby’s tips in Cooking for Christmas will make the festive meal memorable for all the right reasons, and is a great starting point for everything from planning the main course to deciding what drinks to serve with which dishes.

Recipe collections to help you plan

We’ve selected some satisfying recipes suitable to take the starring role on your holiday table, whatever its size. Taking a cue from our wanderlust, we built these internationally inspired Christmas collections.

If cozy is what you seek, borrow a festive dish or two from Scandinavia. The Hygge Menu Collection will show you how to celebrate Scandi-style, with Gravlax with Fennel and Cucumber and Finnish Meatballs with Allspice, Sour Cream and Lingonberries. We recommend having aquavit at the ready.

The recipes in the new Yuletide Around the Globe collection may just inspire you to adopt a new festive tradition, such as baking Greek Honey Cookies as part of your annual spread, or adopting crunchy Mexican Buñuelos, drizzled with honey, as your new Christmas treat.

For more menu ideas check out our collection of Festive Fowl (featuring birds of all sizes), Christmas in the Southern Hemisphere (where barbecue is the main event) and make space on the table for some fabulous Festive Beverages.

Get clever with your cookie swap

If you do an annual cookie swap, you’ll know how much fun it is to bake just a few types of cookie, yet be able to enjoy a huge Christmas-cookie panoply. Our Cookie Swap collection may just convince you to add to your repertoire, with recipes for Richard Sax’s Chocolate-Glazed Lebkuchen, Alsatian Christmas Cinnamon Stars and more.

If you haven’t yet discovered the practicality and brilliance of the cookie-swap, make this your year for baking and sharing with family and friends – and maybe even starting a new tradition.

With extra time on your hands, you might consider making Handmade Food Gifts for your annual gift exchange – who would ever say no to a present that's made with such care? From subtly spiced Milk Toffee to Candied Grapefruit Peel, these handmade gifts are guaranteed to deliver.

Seasonal ingredients for your holiday table

We throw a spotlight on one of our favorite festive ingredients: Cranberries. The festive table would be bereft without them but, as our new Ingredient Collection shows, there’s so much more to these berries than just cranberry sauce. Try Apple Cranberry Crumble or Cranberry-Raspberry Tart Pastiche.

Find more seasonal inspiration in our collections for Brussels Sprouts, Acorn Squash, Pomegrante and Chestnuts.


Related Posts

So you think you know Christmas foods …

Take our quiz to test what you know.

Behind the Cookbook

Josceline Dimbleby on Cooking for Christmas.

ckbk is the ultimate gift

Give the give of unlimited culinary discovery.