Huffpost Parents

8 Meaningful Family Meal Traditions During The Holidays

Posted: Updated:

Holidays are reminders of who you are and where you come from. Christmas, Independence Day and Thanksgiving are not just days off from work and school. They are about the people that surround you, the memories you share, and – of course – the delicious food that you consume.

Family traditions are a common thread that forever bind us to those with whom we have shared countless celebrations and special occasions. More often than not, special memories with your family revolve around mealtime traditions. Whether it's scarfing down turkey the day after Thanksgiving or enjoying a delicious clambake during a breezy Labor Day, we all remember those delicious pastimes we've shared with loved ones.

Below are our favorite family traditions, created in partnership with New York Life. Does your family have a special holiday meal tradition that isn't on this list? Let us know in the comments below!

New York Life recognizes and wants to share all of the good that comes from special family holidays and traditions. Tell us how you Keep Good Going by tweeting at us with the hashtag #KeepGoodGoing.

  • 1
    Independence Day: July 4 Picnic
    Getty
    One of the most exciting parts of the summer is the Fourth of July, the quintessential family vacation weekend. Many people have their own traditions, including wearing patriotic colors, setting off dazzling fireworks, and more. Clearly though, the picnic takes the American-flag themed cake.
  • 2
    Chinese New Year: Dim Sum Brunch
    Getty
    Chinese-American families across America know that Dim Sum is more than just a basket of dumplings eaten on Chinese New Year (and all 364 other days, of course). This meal, which includes buns, rice noodles, tea and more, is better with all your brothers, sisters and cousins surrounding you.

    If you are looking to throw your own Chinese New Year brunch, this collection of traditional dim sum recipes will help you get into the good luck spirit. And don't forget to wear red!
  • 3
    Good Friday: Southern Fish Fry
    Popular in the Deep South, a fish fry allows families to spend time together while abstaining from meat on holy days like Good Friday.

    To wow your family with the crispiest, tastiest fish, check out this recipe for a Louisiana-style fish fry. Holiday ham will be the furthest thing from their minds.
  • 4
    Thanksgiving: Leftovers Lunch
    Is it just us or is the turkey a little juicier, the cranberry sauce a little sweeter, and the sweet potatoes a little creamier when you are eating them the next day during family lunch?

    Though the Pilgrims (likely) didn't eat our traditional foods during the Thanksgiving feast, we are lucky that this tradition has stuck, giving us days upon days of delicious family meals. Check out how to make the ultimate Thanksgiving Leftover Panini here.
  • 5
    Christmas Day: Feast of the Seven Fishes
    This Christmas meal, also known as "The Vigil," is very dear to many Sicilian-American families. Some even serve upwards of seven seafood dishes!

    If you want to throw a Feast of the Seven Fishes like a real Italian family man, check out Mario Batali's how-to guide.
  • 6
    Veteran's Day: Carolina Oyster Roasts
    Getty
    During chilly winter evenings, many families in the south gather 'round the grill to shuck oysters and share stories. This coastal custom is very specific to the Carolinas, particularly during the cold months when the oysters are tastiest.

    Looking to get your family in on this lovely Southern tradition? Follow these tried-and-true instructions for throwing the ultimate Richmond-style oyster roast.
  • 7
    Labor Day: New England-Style Clambake
    Getty
    This seafood extravaganza is a New England Labor Day special. The rudimentary cooking, which uses seaweed, rocks, and sea water, has been passed down from generations, following a similar path to the southern oyster roast.

    One of the most important parts of a clambake is saying goodbye to summer with the freshest, most delicious side dishes. Follow these instructions for a corn on the cob dish that will impress all your family and friends.
  • 8
    Passover: The Seder
    Getty
    The Passover seder is a traditional Jewish meal, celebrating the ancient Jews' freedom from slavery in Egypt. Families gather from all over to partake in unleavened bread, symbolic bitter herbs, and of course, Grandma's matzah ball soup.

    For an authentic taste of the European delicacy, try this matzah ball recipe from Manischewitz.