My family started the Christmas tradition of eating tamales on Christmas Eve several years ago. Something to do with living in southern California and the heavy Hispanic influence there. I think my mom started considering it sometime when I was in high school when she noticed that our favorite local Mexican food restaurant started taking tamale orders in November. She signed up. Then later, my brother-in-law decided he'd learn to make tamales and has taken over the tradition ever since. Jed and I sort of broke free from this tradition when we were living in California, as well as my entire family, and his parents. We decided to adopt the tradition of eating out at a Chinese restaurant on Christmas Eve so that our little family had family time rather than always having to be at someone else's house doing something else for the holidays. We still do that today, but I love tamales. So tamales have become our Christmas Eve Eve meal.
I like the idea of making my own tamales, but that scares me a little. And I like the idea of tracking down some awesome Mexican restaurant in town that would sell me tamales, but I haven't done that either. Usually I just buy frozen tamales and fancy them up with chili, cheese, sour cream and salsa.
On Christmas Eve, like I said, we go out for Chinese food. This year I've been toying around with the idea of making our own Chinese food. I'm still undecided. But I've come up with an extensive menu for if I do stay home (and if I had an army to feed). The problem is that going out, you are able to order four or five main dishes and I'm not sure that's something I'd be capable of pulling off at home on my own. Especially when there are only five of us to eat it all.
Here's my idea for a menu to feed a crowd homemade Chinese food:
Crab Rangoon dip
Crockpot Teriyaki Chicken
Orange Chicken (or this recipe that I've tried before)
Pioneer Woman's Spring Rolls (but chicken, not turkey)
PF Chang's Mongolian Beef
Fried Rice (minus the chicken)
Egg Rolls (I'd probably just buy them frozen, but maybe try the linked to recipe...)
But that all seems like a ton of work... maybe we should just go out. :) Besides, there are only five of us, the above menu would feed us for half a week!
And onto Christmas day's menu:
Christmas Breakfast: regular breakfast, followed by one hour of 9AM church.
Christmas Brunch/Lunch: after church we'll opening presents, then we'll have our real breakfast at lunchtime.
maybe Hash Browns
Cheese Potato Casserole (aka Funeral Potatoes)
Sweet Potato Casserole (my recipe has different proportions, but is very similar to this one)
Cornbread Stuffing (but my recipe calls for sour cream rather than plain yogurt)
Sparkling Apple Cider or Sparkling Grape Juice
Green Beans (or maybe just steamed green beans or steamed broccoli)
Still kind of a lot of food for five of us... but then there will be lots of leftovers too!
Christmas Dessert:undecided... I'll let you know.