Even with a thousand things on my to-do list before the year wraps up, I have to say I’m beyond excited for the holiday season. You’ve probably seen that excitement if you’ve been following me on Instagram.
For my family, holiday fun is easy because we love spending time together and making memories through our family holiday traditions. We put down the phones, turn off the TV, and enjoy some quality bonding time—all while practicing gratitude! One of our favorite traditions that amplifies this occurs right around Christmas time. It’s usually packed with fun Christmas food ideas that give us all full bellies and warm cheeks. Any guesses? It’s a Bethlehem dinner! If you’ve never heard of it or you always find yourself wondering what to do on Christmas Eve, grab your eggnog and keep reading because you’ll love this one!
If this is your first time hearing of a Bethlehem dinner, I’ll break it down for you. A Bethlehem dinner is a reenactment of the type of dinner that may have taken place all those centuries ago when Christ was born.
Some families have fun with it by wearing similar clothes and scents that those in Bethlehem may have worn. As with any special family tradition, make this as simple or extravagant as you want! My family and I are typically very low-key. But I know that no matter how we choose to do it, the focus is always on the shared experience of coming together by celebrating Christ and honoring everything given to us throughout the year.
Typically, we have it on Christmas Eve or the Monday before Christmas, serving as a thoughtful build-up to the main event. For one night, it takes the materialism out of the season and lets us focus on Him and His love.
Now that I’ve given you your history lesson and got all my emotions out, let’s set the table. What gets served at a Bethlehem dinner? While I encourage you to research and create your own fun Christmas food ideas to place at the table, traditionally, our main dish is chicken, onions, and potatoes. A fan favorite all around!
Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make it:
Here’s the recipe:
Once that’s out of the oven and looking like the mouthwatering meal it truly is, we typically fill up the table with these must-have side dishes:
The result? It’s a family tradition we come back to time and time again. Like I said, it’s a fan favorite! Are you looking to satisfy your sweet tooth after dinner? Try out these delicious caramel rolls! I doubt they were on the menu for Joseph and Mary, but I think they’d approve!
As far as family holiday traditions go, a Bethlehem dinner is one of our Christmas favorites. But because it only lasts one night, I like to find other ways to get festive for the holidays and spread the cheer all month long.
One of the easiest ways to do that is putting up some Christmas house décor! Whether in just one spot of the house or every single room, putting up Christmas house décor creates an uplifting atmosphere that brings the family together in unexpected ways.
Decorations can serve as a reminder of the true reason for the season. They can also get kiddos excited to count down the days until Santa arrives or just put an extra smile on their or your face throughout the day. And as far as I’m aware, you’re not turning down free reasons to smile, are you?
But if decorating has always seemed like more stress than sense to you, then take this as a reminder that there are 0 rules to this game. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and that means decorating in ways that feel wonderful to you. Whether that’s silly, classical, or colorful Christmas decor, do what puts a smile on your face.
Does the thought of seasonal decoration cleanup turn you into the Grinch? Check out this super efficient wreath + garland storage bag I found online! It definitely makes my life so much easier.
Family holiday traditions should be personal. Even if it’s a tradition that millions of other people do across the country, no one is sitting around the table with the same people as you! As you start planning how to celebrate Christmas with family by putting together the grocery list for your Bethlehem dinner or deciding what decorations to put up, do what you can to make it a tradition you ALL love.
Instead of typical grapes, you may use cotton candy grapes because your kids love them, or you get your parents’ favorite cheese from the deli! For decor, let the kids pick out some new items, or you can make a real show out of counting down to turn the Christmas lights on!
No matter what you choose to do, focus on what you’re truly celebrating, and the rest will fall into place.
For more holiday-inspired traditions, follow me on Instagram!