If you’ve been “Americanized” like so many of us living in this globalized world, you probably think Christmas Eve is all about stuffed turkey, eggnog, and Santa. Well, think again. While there’s no denying that Santa is a fixture of Christmas traditions, Christmas dinners can vary widely depending on where in the world you happen to be celebrating.

Here are six “non-traditional” Christmas meals from around the world to inspire your culinary endeavors and color your holiday table. Bon appétit!

1. Italy:

You would think our Italian friends would gorge themselves on pastas and pizzas for the holidays, but you would be wrong. While there are some pasta dishes present, the feast of the seven fishes, also known as the “Vigil” is how Italians celebrate Christmas Eve. The typical meal includes seven or more kinds of seafood such as eel, anchovies, lobster, sardines, and the famous Baccala (salted cod). That and a Panettone (a thick, sweet bread loaf) for dessert of course!

2. Germany:

We have one word for you: Pfefferkuchenhaus. Named after the witch in Hansel and Gretel, this gingerbread house decorated with candy and sugar-icing is a German Christmas staple, usually following a meal of roast goose and red cabbage. Lots of it.

3 Iceland:

What else would Icelanders have for Christmas dinner but roasted reindeer? So much for children’s sleigh fantasies. Enough said.

4. France:

Foie gras, oysters, and crepes. The French are nothing if not consistent. In Provence, thirteen desserts are served in remembrance of Christ and his twelve disciples during the last supper. These include dried figs, almonds, raisins, walnuts, dates, nougat, fougasse (brioche made with olive oil), candied fruit, oreillettes (deep-fried sugar pastries), and fresh fruit.

5. Poland:

Twelve dishes for the twelve Apostles. No meat. An empty chair in anticipation of an impromptu guest and a bit of hay under the tablecloth as a reminder of the stable where Jesus was born. The Polish Christmas Eve menu? Beetroot soup, carp, and ceps. Yup. And you thought some of our traditions were strange.

6. Japan:

We’ve saved the best for last. The fact that the large majority of Japanese people are not Christian is no matter. Christmas Eve dinner is as sacred as Buddha and consists of lots and lots of KFC. You read right. Complete with long queues at KFC outlets and fried chicken buckets pre-ordered months in advance. There, now you don’t have to feel bad about your addiction to McDonald’s.

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