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Christmas shortbread cookies

Winter food — what to make in December

Looking for popular winter food for December? Find the perfect festive dish for your Christmas feast from our list of seasonal fruits, vegetables, meats and seafood. Need even more ideas? You can also check out our list of food holidays for December.

December is, of course, the month to eat, drink and be merry. For some, that means finding your bag of cookie cutters (Why are they in the box with Santa’s village?) and baking up shortbread cookies like a Keebler elf. For more enterprising merry-makers, it’s patient hours of frosting-glue and gum drops to make an impossible Escher-esque gingerbread house while your kids play Despicable Me: Minion Rush. For most though, it’s a once-a-year shopping spree of marshmallow-stuffed Santas, plastic candy cane tubes filled with generic M&Ms and candy cane-flavored Pop Rocks. Hey, to each their own. I still get a box of Crackerjacks in my stocking every year and I have no idea why.

Despite all evidence to the contrary, Christmas isn’t just about desserts and sweets. Sure, we may hang candy canes on our Christmas trees and you’ll have to pry my Pangburn’s Pecan Millionaire from my cold, dead hand, but this time of year is for the feasts and celebrations celebrated by many cultures throughout the world, a time when… everyone breaks out the good stuff. Take some time this holiday season to try some of the savory dishes and sweet treats available from the different cultures and food traditions that permeate our country. They are unique and delicious and far better than that handful of reindeer corn your holding.

December Food Ideas

Babka, baklava, blintzes, Buche de Noel, butter tarts, candy canes, catfish, challah bread, cheese balls, collard greens, chocolate-covered cherries, cotton candy, cookies, duck, feijoas, fritters, fruit cake, gazpacho, gingerbread house, goose, grits, ham, hamburgers, jam, Jollof rice, kourambiedes, latkes, maple syrup, melomakarona, mince pie, mixed nuts, pavlova, pebber nodder, pecan pie, peppermint bark, pheasant, pies, plum pudding, porchetta, root vegetables, shortbread, sticky toffee pudding, stollen, stuffing, sufganiot (deep-fried doughnuts), sweet potato pie, tamales, tomatoes, trifles, turkey, ugli fruit, winter squash, wreath cookies, Yorkshire pudding

December Drink Ideas

Amaretto, apple cider, apple pie moonshine, barleywine, bisschopswijn, bordeaux blend, Brandy Alexander, cabernet sauvignon, Champagne, Christmas beer, Christmas punch, Christmas soda, coquito, fudge, egg nog, holiday ales, hot chocolate, hot-buttered rum, hot toddy, ginger ale, glögg, gluehwein, La Danza, lagers, malbec, mulled wine, oaked chardonnay, piña colada, poinsettia cocktail, porters, prohibition-era cocktails, Russian tea, sangria, Scotch ale, smoked rauchbier, sparkling wine, spiced apple tea, spiced cappuccino, stouts, syrah, Tom & Jerry, wassail, zinfandel

Seasonal Fruit

  • Almonds
  • Apples
  • Asian pears
  • Avocados
  • Bananas
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Cactus pears
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cherries
  • Chestnuts
  • Citron
  • Coconut
  • Cranberries
  • Dates
  • Dragonfruit
  • Elderberries
  • Feijoas
  • Figs
  • Grapefruit
  • Grapes
  • Guava
  • Honeydew
  • Jackfruit
  • Key limes
  • Kiwano
  • Kiwi
  • Kumquats
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Mandarins
  • Olives
  • Oranges
  • Papaya
  • Passionfruit
  • Pears
  • Pecans
  • Persimmons
  • Pineapple
  • Pistachios
  • Pomegranate
  • Pomelos
  • Quince
  • Raspberries
  • Starfruit
  • Tangelos
  • Tangerine
  • Tomatoes
  • Ugli fruit
  • Walnuts
  • Texas red grapefruit

Seasonal Vegetables

  • Acorn squash
  • Artichokes
  • Arugula
  • Beets
  • Bell peppers
  • Bok Choy
  • Broccoli
  • Broccoli rabe/Rapini
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Burdock
  • Butternut squash
  • Cabbage
  • Cardoons
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celeriac
  • Celery
  • Chard
  • Chile peppers
  • Collard greens
  • Cucumbers
  • Delicata squash
  • Endive
  • Escarole
  • Fennel
  • Garlic
  • Green beans
  • Herbs
  • Horseradish
  • Iceberg lettuce
  • Jicama
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Lambsquarters
  • Kohlrabi
  • Lambsquarters
  • Leeks
  • Mizuna
  • Mushrooms
  • Mustard Greens
  • Okra
  • Onions
  • Orach
  • Parsnip
  • Peas
  • Potatoes
  • Pumpkins
  • Purslane
  • Radicchio
  • Radishes
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Salsify
  • Scallions
  • Shallots
  • Spaghetti squash
  • Spinach
  • Sprouts
  • Sunchokes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Tatsoi
  • Tomatillos
  • Turnips
  • Watercress
  • Winter squash
  • Yacon
  • Zucchini

Seasonal Meat & Seafood

  • Tuna
  • Catfish
  • Clams
  • Cod
  • Crawfish
  • Duck
  • Dungeness crab
  • Sole
  • Goose
  • Grouper
  • Mahi Mahi
  • Mussels
  • Oysters
  • Partridge
  • Quail
  • Rabbit

Food in italic is entering or leaving their peak season, or may only be available in limited quantities. Food in bold is available all year long, but may not consist of one species (for instance, tilapia is a common term for nearly a hundred different cichlid fish) or be imported from different regions of the world at different times of the year (avocados, pineapples) and therefore may have different flavors and characteristics.

Also, please note: While almost all fruits and vegetables, meat and seafood are available in some preserved form out of season and many of the most popular are effectively in season year round, the availability and quality of seasonal foods can vary dramatically according to species, region and natural circumstances (like weather and disease).

Image: rawpixel/Pixabay