December is filled with one of the most anticipated holidays of the year: Christmas. December is also filled with other multicultural celebrations, including Hanukah, Kwanzaa and New Year’s Eve. All these holidays are celebrated nationwide with family gatherings and, of course, plenty of food!
Melissa's is your one-stop-shop for recipe ideas and easy-to-prepare foods, including ethnic foods and vegetarian ideas. Try some of our traditional recipes and serve some holiday traditions like black-eyed peas to ring in 2023 with good luck.
This year, Hanukkah begins at sundown on December 18. Hanukah lasts eight nights. Hanukkah is celebrated with the Festival of Lights. Each evening, the family gathers for a candle lighting ceremony where one candle of the menorah, an eight-branched candlestick, is lit each night until all eight candles are burning. The festive evenings are filled with games of dreidel (an ancient ancestor to today’s spinning top) and Hanukah gifts. The feasts of Hanukkah are abundant with Jewish specialties such as brisket, matzo ball soup and potato latkes.
Winter is not really a celebrated holiday, but winter validates that the holidays are here! Each year winter begins on December 21. Home-cooked winter meals are often welcomed with squash, soups and stews.
Melissa’s offers several convenient ingredients for your favorite winter recipes. Our Steamed Line and Soup Kit are perfect for keeping on hand for last-minute meals.
Christmas falls on a Sunday this year. Families will gather to celebrate with their favorite family foods, possibly attend Church and exchange gifts. The night before Christmas is also very popular for families to participate in these traditions.
Christmas is the most celebrated holiday of the season and celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. There are lights and trees everywhere, along with decorations and festive gatherings. Christmas Eve is often spent with families and friends exchanging gifts, leading into Christmas day, when everyone enjoys gifts, family, friends, and a delicious feast.
Some popular ingredients for preparing a Christmas feast are fresh and dried cranberries, mashed Dutch Yellow® potatoes, sweet potatoes, pearl onions, fresh herbs, mushrooms and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Charcuterie boards have become very popular for gatherings; try our new guava paste for added flavor and texture. Add colorful grapes, sliced baby beets, and fresh edible flowers for garnish.
Kwanzaa begins on December 26 and ends on January 1, 2022. There are many traditions for Kwanzaa, from food to beliefs. There are seven principles upon which Kwanzaa is based:
To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race.
To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves and speak for ourselves.
Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility)
To build and maintain our community together and make our brother's and sister's problems our problems and to solve them together.
Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics)
To build and maintain our own stores, shops and other businesses and to profit from them together.
To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.
To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.
The colors of Kwanzaa are black, red and green; black for the people, red for their struggle, and green for the future and hope that comes from their struggle. There is a candle holder called a Kinara that holds 7 candles. There is one black candle, three red and three green candles. These are the mishumaa saba (the seven candles) and they represent the seven principles above. Fresh colorful fruits and vegetables are eaten on Kwanzaa. Corn is a necessity for the holiday signifying children or family.
New Year’s Eve
Ring in the new year with Melissa’s Black-Eyed Peas! Considered a traditional “good luck” food, southern tradition states that eating black-eyed peas on the first day of the New Year will bring you good luck in the following year. Melissa's makes it easy with our ready-to-eat, steamed black-eyed peas! Enjoy them in soups, stews, or dips.
Happy New Year from Melissa’s!