A South African Christmas Feast: Celebrating Tradition, Carols, and Cheer
The festive season in South Africa is a time of joy, togetherness, and celebration. As we prepare to usher in the Christmas spirit, let’s delve into the unique blend of traditions that make this season truly special. From delectable Christmas dinner treats to the rich history of our favorite Christmas carols, and the timeless joy of watching classic movies on a festive day with the whole family,
“There’s something for everyone to enjoy.”
Christmas Dinner Delights in South Africa: South African Christmas dinners are a mouthwatering blend of local flavors and international influences. A true feast for the senses, here are some ultimate favorites:
- Braaied Chicken or Turkey Roast: South Africans love to celebrate Christmas with a barbecue, or as they call it, a “braai.” A perfectly braaied turkey or chicken, marinated in flavorful spices, takes center stage on many festive tables.
- Bobotie: This spiced, baked minced meat dish topped with an egg-based topping is a staple in South African Christmas dinners. Its unique blend of flavors makes it a must-try during the festive season.
- Snoek Pâté: A delectable spread made from smoked snoek, a popular local fish, served with crackers or freshly baked bread. It adds a delightful taste of the sea to the Christmas table.
- Braai Sosatie Skewers / Malay Kebabs: Assorted Chicken, Pork, Lamb or Fish / Prawn Skewers grilled or cooked on an open fire “braai” draped / glazed in a honey & mustard Sause, or apricot jam, splash of lemon & mint, cherry compote or mango chutney flavor Sauses, served alongside some homemade potato salad or grilled corn on the cob
- Malva Pudding: No South African Christmas is complete without Malva Pudding, a warm and sticky dessert served with a generous dollop of custard or ice cream.
- Peppermint Crisp Tart: A heavenly layered dessert featuring layers of caramel, whipped cream, and Peppermint Crisp chocolate bars. It’s a sweet indulgence loved by all.
- Creamy Cheese Cake with fruitcake crumb: This delicious desert is heavenly perfect for that summer months and festive season as its also then topped off by a sprinkle of dashed berries or strawberry toppings to give it that fruity flavor.
- South African Summer Trifles: Made for the perfect festive season gatherings with family and loved ones, it’s safe to say you will find this easy made Trifle on every family’s table when its Christmas time… as its time to whip up that favorite whip cream, sponge cake layers, jelly and custard, mixed with assorted favorite fruits, nuts and a splash of Old Brown Sherry
Christmas Carols: A Melody of Tradition and History The history of Christmas carols in South Africa is as diverse as the nation itself. From traditional hymns sung in churches to joyful tunes echoing through neighborhoods, Christmas carols hold a special place in our hearts. Here are some historical favorites and modern classics:
- “Silent Night” (Stille Nag): This timeless carol, translated into Afrikaans as “Stille Nag,” encapsulates the peaceful and reflective spirit of Christmas. Performed by Andre Rieu
- “Hande” – performed by Karlien van Jaarsveld, also “Lief” – performed by Karlien van Jaarsveld & Jacob Swann: An afrikaans celebration of LOVE & JOY together with your loved one or partner for the festive season (Christmas Time in togetherness).
- “Mistletoe and Wine” by Cliff Richard: This international classic is a favorite during South African Christmases, capturing the festive joy and spirit of giving.
- “Mary’s Boy Child” by Boney M: A globally cherished carol with a joyful beat, perfectly suited for family gatherings and festive celebrations.
- “All I want for Christmas is You” performed by Michael Buble or Mariah Carey – A Christmas time Carol enjoyed by the whole family!
- “Pille vir Kersfees” performed by Die Heuwels Fantasties – An AFRIKAANS festive season jingle that’s true to SOUTH AFRICA enjoying the sights and sounds of CHRISTMAS TIME and being thankful for what festive season at home is celebrated together with friends & family (home is where the heart is) right around SOUTH AFRICA!
- “You Make it Feel Like Christmas” performed by Gwen Stefani & Blake Shelton – A Christmas Jingle to get you truly in a festive mood!
Top 10 Christmas Carols and Movies for Festive Family Fun: Now, let’s round up the festivities with some timeless Christmas carols and movies to enjoy with your loved ones:
Favorite Christmas Movies as follows:
- “Home Alone” (1990): A hilarious and heartwarming classic that has become synonymous with the holiday season. When an eight-year-old boy is left all alone at home #HOMEALONE to defend himself as two burglars invade his home sweet home on Christmas Eve. (Starring Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci & Daniel Stern)
- “Family Switch” (2023): It’s time to switch it up… an out of body experience when one’s parents switch bodies with their witty & wacky teenagers for the holidays to embrace and embark on a comedy filling hilarious festive season holiday… their hilarious journey to find their way back to normal, will bring them closer together than they ever thought possible! (Starring: Jennifer Garner, Ed Helms, Emma Myers & Brady Noon)
- “Elf” (2003): Will Ferrell’s comedic brilliance shines in this feel-good movie about a human raised by elves at the North Pole. (Starring Will Ferrell, Zooey Deschanel, James Caan & Faizon Love)
- “The Polar Express” (2004): An enchanting animated film that captures the magic and wonder of Christmas through the eyes of a young boy on a magical train journey. (Starring Tom Hanks, Micheal Jeter, Nona Gaye & Leslie Zemeckis)
- “Love Actually” (2003): A heartwarming ensemble film that weaves multiple love stories during the festive season. (Starring: Hugh Grant, Keira Knightley, Liam Neeson, Emma Thompson & Rowan Atkinson)
- “Last Christmas” (2019): A Festive season love story… Influenced by ambivalence, Katarina, an aspiring singer, works as an elf in Central London where anything and everything goes wrong for the buildup to Christmas Eve. However, she gains a new perspective on life when she meets Tom, which she falls head over heels for… (Starring: Emilia Clarke, Henry Golding, Michelle Yeoh & Emma Thompson)
As we savor the delicious flavors of a South African Christmas dinner, harmonize with our favorite carols, and enjoy timeless movies with family and friends, let’s embrace the spirit of love, unity, and joy that defines this festive season.
“May your South African Christmas be filled with laughter, good company, and cherished traditions that create lasting memories for years to come.”
SPECIAL THANKS #SHOUTOUT & credits to the following SOUTH AFRICAN Music Artists: