Christmas: A Lebanese Celebration Tale

Christmas in Lebanon is one of the most celebrated holidays around the year. It reflects a spirit of welcome and joy.

This translates in offering guests who visit to wish you a Merry Christmas, liqueurs, dragées and chocolate as a minimum. In my family we tend to offer Nougat and a spicy rice pudding called Meghleh. Meghleh is usually served with an assortment of nuts, when there is a birth in a Lebanese family, and at Christmas it is made because baby Jesus is born.

Usually Lebanese people race to the supermarkets to buy the Christmas goodies ahead of time to be ready for their guests. This year I decided to make some at home. Meghleh is my mom’s specialty and I honestly never learned the recipe since it is not one of my favorite puddings, so my choice went to the liqueurs and chocolate.

My choice went for Irish Cream and Chocolate liqueur

Almond filled chocolates

Crispy rice white chocolate and accidental fake truffles (which I kept for my personal pleasure :D).

Also with great celebrations, comes great food. Lebanese entertain both on Christmas Eve and on Christmas day. It is a family festivity and in my family the tradition has it that we spend the Eve with my sister and her family while my brothers spend Christmas day over. So can you imagine how much food it is!

Traditional dish for Christmas is Turkey, my mom makes it on Christmas day according to a recipe I got her long ago. I get to help a bit in the kitchen, but the credit is to my mom and her amazing skills as a cook.  I will let the pictures speak.

Christmas Eve Feast:

Pizza

Grape Leaves

Kibbeh

Fatayer Mix

My sister’s pasta salad

Chard Stems with Tahini

My baked potato with garlic

Global view of the feast after it survived a raid from the kids. There was some Hummus of which I forgot to take a pic.

My mom did not make those but they were part of the feast.

Roasted Nuts

And the dessert: Maamoul Ashta.

Christmas Day Feast:

Beet and Pasta Salad (my updated version of my sister’s salad. No we did not eat all the night before!).

Roast with Ham and Cheese

Roasted Turkey and accompanying rice. I ALSO forgot to take pics of the sauce that goes with them and the beet and thyme salad :$.

And a picture of the feast. Wine was of course part of the menu, we had white French wine and a Local rosé.

Of course there is the gifts exchange, the kids get the most presents, while adults can offer each other Christmas themed gifts, like chocolate and wine baskets, poinsettias etc… Guests usually arrive with a gift addressed to the household. On a more familiar level adults can exchange personal gifts with each other, it is all a matter of family tradition.

This is one batch of gifts for one kid, there were a lot of similar ones for four other kids. Lucky eh?

One more thing I need to mention about Christmas in Lebanon: the decoration. Lebanese people give a great importance to the nativity scene which you can find in most homes next or under the tree. Here is a pic of mine.

I hope everyone had a great Christmas and enjoyed their celebration to the max!

Merry Christmas and Cheers.

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8 responses to “Christmas: A Lebanese Celebration Tale

  1. What is the sauce that is served with the turkey? Also, did you boil a stuffed turkey and then roast it to brown it in the oven? How long (per pound) should the turkey be boiled?

    Thanks.

    • The sauce is basically the one from the turkey this one is wine based and it was part of roasting the turkey then some flour was added. The turkey is not stuffed it is roasted in the oven. Actually I dunno the exact amount of time what I do is check by sticking a knife or fork and see if it comes out easily. Hope this helps

  2. Thank you for posting this – I needed pictures of Lebanese food for a class project and this is beautiful! Thank you for sharing your talents :)

  3. Viviane, this looks so incredible! May have to come to Lebanon for Xmas some time … WOW!!

  4. Oh my….sooooo much food. Everything looks great. May I have a slice of dessert?