The Feast of the Seven Fishes: A Christmas Eve Tradition


Entertaining for the Christmas Eve  Holiday is very important to many cultures, almost more than the Christmas Day itself! Being fully Italian, we have a tradition of “The Seven Fishes”. It is such a great night for our family, and recently our dear friends, too! Growing up we had the tradition of the same fish every year: bacala (cod), smelts, and anchovies, adding flounder when my Irish husband joined the family.


The feast is part of an Italian-American tradition, although it’s not really called that in Italy. It’s more like a grand meal, and is a celebration that commemorates the wait for the midnight birth of the baby Jesus. And the number seven is significant because of the numerous times it is referred to in the Bible, and in Catholicism, there are seven sacraments and seven deadly sins. 

Well in the last few years, we have invited our dearest friends to join us for our fish meal, and boy, have they turned it up a few notches! A few of the members of the family are AMAZING cooks, and we have expanded our fish dinner to include shrimp, lobster, calamari, crab, whitefish and salmon! And this year, in 2021, it will be a feast among feasts!


Christmas Eve Menu 2021

APPETIZERS and SIGNATURE COCKTAILS: We’ll start with a couple rich and creamy ones:

  • Cream Cheese Crab Dip
  • Baked Brie (from ErinLivesWhole)
  • Whitefish spread
  • Pear Christmas Cocktail with Ginger Infused Syrup
  • Pomegranate Cranberry Cosmopolitan with Rosemary Infused Syrup

The MAIN COURSE will be:

  • Red Anchovy Sauce over Capellini (our family tradition which you will LOVE even if you wrinkle your nose at the word “anchovy”)
  • Lobster Ravioli
  • Fish Piccata
  • Shrimp and Pork Tortellini
  • Salmon Cakes
  • Roasted Vegetables
  • Caesar Salad (from ErinLivesWhole)

DESSERT will top us all off:

  • Kahlua Cheesecake
  • Chocolate Pecan Bars (from ErinLivesWhole)
  • Variety of Homemade Christmas Cookies
  • Irish Coffee


Two tables will be set in my sunroom for 16 guests, decorated with gray, black and white gingham tablecloths, silver, white and red candles, and Holiday plates and napkins. Surrounding the table will be the wet bar, buffet table, and our 9 foot Christmas Tree decorated with red, black, white and gray decorations, topped with a black and white gingham bow! The candles in the window will be lit, along with the candles on the fireplace mantel with the stocking hung by the fire! Literally! The fire will be roaring when the guests arrive, and the cocktails and appetizers will be ready!

I’m so excited for a magical night with family and dear friends, sharing delicious food made with lots of love, re-living childhood stories when our children almost made us question why we became parents, and our adult children making fun of us at every opportunity! In the end, we’ll have laughed and cried until our sides hurt, eaten until our stomachs are bloated, and grateful beyond belief for the health, happiness and love we share together.

So whatever your tradition is at the Holidays, embrace it with all the love you can muster, and enjoy every minute of it! This is what life is all about!

Until next time,

Let’s get cookin’, bakin’ and entertainin’,



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