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A Definitive Ranking of 10 Classic Christmas Foods from Best to Worst

Let me just start off with a disclaimer: I love most things Christmas. I mean, I’m the type of person who starts listening to “All I Want for Christmas is You” the second that November hits, all while watching Christmas classics like Elf or Love, Actually. 

However, one aspect of the holidays I don't love as much is the food. To be fair, not all holiday food is terrible – but not all of it is good either! As December 25th approaches, here are some foods I’m dying to eat and some foods I’d rather die than consume.

The following are my OPINIONS only!

Mashed Potatoes

Obviously, the best part of any holiday dinner is the mashed potatoes – they’re undeniably the perfect food. Mashed potatoes are creamy and indulgent, which makes them the ultimate side dish. Of the two types of potatoes you could make for Christmas dinner (the other being roast potatoes), mashed potatoes are the superior choice. Therefore, they’ve secured the number one spot for most delicious holiday food.

Christmas Cookies

Christmas cookies are a close second to the all-mighty mashed potatoes. They’re sweet and crunchy, as well as being brightly-colored and fun to decorate. Plus, who can resist them when they’re in fun shapes like trees, stars, Santa hats, and snowmen – after all, what’s Christmas dinner without dessert!


Stuffing comes in at a solid number three, and for a good reason. As a classic side dish, stuffing is always a reliable and safe choice. Given the fact that it's basically bread, it deserves to be ranked pretty high on the list. Whether it’s cooked inside a turkey or roast, or it’s in a dish of its own, stuffing is always delicious.

Cranberry Sauce

Whether it’s canned or freshly made, cranberry sauce is one of those foods that just screams of the holiday season. Though it’s not the most delicious dish on the table, cranberry sauce earns its place on the list because of the nostalgia factor.


For many people, the star of a holiday dinner – whether it’s Christmas or Thanksgiving – is a perfectly cooked turkey, large enough to feed an army. Even though turkey isn’t really anyone’s favorite Christmas food, it’s a defining feature of the holiday dinner, which makes it a great middleman at number five.

Roasted Carrots and Parsnips

So, there are the typical Christmas–y foods, and then there are the vegetable side dishes. However, even though it’s the holiday season, eating some vegetables once in a while is probably a good idea. When it comes to vegetable side dishes, carrots and parsnips reign supreme. They’re sweet but savory, and satisfyingly crunchy.  

Brussel Sprouts

I think brussels sprouts used to be everyone’s worst enemy when we were younger, but now that we’re older and slightly wiser, we can all appreciate them a bit more. They’re actually not that bad – in fact, I quite like them. Plus, a holiday dinner is a marathon, not a sprint – so you’re going to need at least a little bit of nutrition to keep you going.  


Although it’s the most iconic Christmas drink, eggnog has always just seemed kind of gross to me. Made of raw eggs, heavy cream, milk, sugar and nutmeg, eggnog is super festive and definitely a holiday drink. I think it’s overrated, but I also know a few people who swear by it.

Candy Canes

Candy canes make great ornaments for your Christmas tree, and that’s pretty much all there is to them. They’re basically for aesthetic only – nobody looks forward to eating them. Sucking on a candy cane is like sucking on hard toothpaste.


By far the worst Christmas food has to be fruitcake. It’s gross. I mean, seriously, does anybody actually like it? It’s a dry cake filled with artificially-colored fruit that tastes stale even if it’s just come out of the oven. At this point, it’s more of a punchline than a serious dessert.

Aidah is a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania. She is a planning on majoring in Biology.
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