8 Dishes to Get You in the Christmas Spirit

Or the “Holiday Spirit.” Or the “Hanukkah Spirit.” Or the “Feast of Kwanzaa Spirit.” Or the “Celestial Celebration of the End of the Lunar Year Spirit.” Or the “Christmas Spirit!!” (with double exclamation points) because if anyone says anything else, it makes it feel like Christmas is being stolen (STOLEN!).

If you’ve been slow to get into a festive frame of mind, here are a few of our favorite holiday recipes to help get the holidays kickstarted:

Chipotle Rosemary Mixed Nuts

1. Chipotle and Rosemary Roasted Nuts
“The chipotle and maple syrup provide an interesting, if somewhat predictable contrast, but the charred bits of rosemary and chunks of kosher salt introduce a brand new flavor, that you never quite see coming, and that ends up tasting like a hot bowl of Christmas.”

2. Roasted Bone Marrow with Parsley Salad
“The finished product is much, much different than I had expected: the marrow smells very strongly of beef (I found myself referring to it as “super-beef,”) with a very loose consistency not unlike that of half-rendered fat. Spread onto toast and topped with the parsley salad, each bite was satisfying, with the sharpness of the salad preventing the heavy beef notes from becoming overwhelming, and the heavy fat coating my lips. After my first bone, I was hooked, and didn’t stop until they were all clean.”

3. Our Family Lobster Bisque Recipe
My family has eaten lobster bisque on Christmas Eve for as long as I can remember. My efforts to reproduce my mom’s bisque never turned out quite right, since she never works from a recipe and makes it up as she goes along. One year, we forced her to measure her ingredients as she added them to the pot between slugs of white wine taken straight from the measuring cup. This recipe is the result.

4. Tomato Pie
I want to be very upfront about the fact that this pie is insane, in a way that only the collected recipes of the Maine Junior League can be. Featuring layer upon layer of tomato, mayonnaise, and cheese, it’s a rich, decadent dish that’s just perfect for the holidays.

5. Mustard-Crusted Standing Rib Roast w/ Dijon Créme Fraîche and Roasted Balsamic Onions
Because I don’t want to live in a world where I can’t eat my weight in beef at the end of each year…

6. Prime Rib Breakfast Hash
…while still having plenty left over to make a world-class breakfast hash the next day.

7. Eggnog Cake
“There is one tasty Christmas treat more sacrosanct than all the rest. And yet it is humble. It can be hand crafted, but I will always argue that the very best of its kind comes from the refrigerated section of your local supermarket. Yes, friends, I speak of eggnog.”

8. Bourbon Eggnog Ice Cream
Alcoholic ice cream is not only delicious, but the alcohol in the bourbon keeps the ice cream soft and scoop-ready, right from the freezer.

Malcolm Bedell is co-author of the critically acclaimed "Eating in Maine: At Home, On the Town, and On the Road," as well as the taco-centric blog "Eat More Tacos," and the junk food-centric "Spork & Barrel." His contributions include Serious Eats, Down East, L.A. Weekly, The Guardian, and The Huffington Post and his food truck, "'Wich, Please," was named "Hottest Restaurant in Maine" for 2015 by Eater. Finally, he finds it very silly to be trying to write this in the third person.

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