My husband, who was born in Berkeley to native Californians, says Christmas dinner was a bit different from Norman Rockwell's at his house. His grandfather would go to the docks and get a bag of fresh Dungeness crabs, cook them immediately, and serve them with a loaf of buttered sourdough bread. (I'm sure there were side dishes, too, but they have not made it down in the retelling of the lore.)
As much as I loved the Atlantic blue crabs this summer, something about the one-per-person size of the Dungeness, with its delicate flavor and drier texture, makes it a special treat. I hope we can enjoy fresh ones when we go West for New Year's.