No matter what part of the world you come from, where you live or what faith you practice, the month of December tends to represent a time for a renewal of relationships, a gathering of family and friends, and the sharing of food.
For many Americans, it has become a time to slow down and celebrate their roots or just gather with friends to make new traditions.
Italian Americans often recreate the Italian tradition in which close friends and relatives join on Christmas Day for a massive feast that often begins with pasta in a walnut cream sauce and an antipasto of cured meats, olives, peppers and cheeses, depending on the specialties of each region. That is followed by a parade of soups, fish, meats, pastas and vegetables, all prepared in a reverently Italian way.
Jewish Americans commemorate the fact that a little jar of oil used in lighting the Menorah (the special candelabra lit in the Temple every night), miraculously burned for eight days – exactly the time needed to replenish the oil for the nightly lighting. Jews have found a variety of ways to incorporate both oil and dairy into their Hanukkah meals – everything from jelly-filled donuts to fried potato and onion pancakes known as latkes.
Mexican Americans celebrate a family-focused holiday that starts to ramp up early in December and involves a variety of special dishes and food traditions. Whether it is a main dish, a beverage or dessert, these treats can help bring the exotic flavors of Mexico to any holiday meal. By a significant margin, the most common holiday tradition in Mexico is to serve tamales for a Christmas feast.
No matter the culture, retailers have opportunities to provide new ideas to help customers make each holiday season one to remember.