UNTIL turkey was roasted and served at the tables of early New World settlers in 1621, during the first Thanksgiving in Plymouth, Massachusetts, the highlight of Christmas dinner was traditionally goose. Ever since, turkey has become synonymous with festive-season dining and many Hong Kong tables will certainly be groaning with the plump birds this year. For the most spectacular view of the Hong Kong skyline over dinner during the festive season, nothing quite matches either The Regent or neighbouring New World Renaissance. With a spectacular Christmas Tree in its lobby and every restaurant, The Regent's tour de force on December 24 is a six-course gourmet dinner at Plume. For the family on Christmas Day, The Regent ballroom's annual lunch with Santa from noon until 3pm is priced at $468 ($200 for children) and includes unlimited soft drinks. For an elegant Chinese flavour, try a Wok 'n Roll Christmas with dinner and dancing at Club Shanghai. On New Year's Eve, Plume's elegant six-course dinner and dance is in precise tune with the time, costing $1,999. With its 'White Christmas' theme and decorations in white, cream and gold with glass icicles, Mandarin Oriental's festive menu is inevitably at its most traditional in The Grill, where Christmas Eve dinner (accompanied by carol singing by the Good Hope School Choir) is priced at $1,288, and Christmas Day's feast is $928. Buffet lunches for all the family will be served in the Connaught Room and Clipper Lounge at $498 for adults and $268 for children. Also look out for performances by the Jean Wong School of Ballet. New Year's Eve at the Mandarin means a gala dinner at both Vong and the Mandarin Grill, with the Hong Kong Pipe Band welcoming 1999. Vong tickets are priced at $1,998 (what else!), while The Grill's black-tie celebra tion costs $1,999, presumably because it continues longer into the new year. The Peninsula reckons it has been 'perfecting the art of Christmas for 70 years', but cannot be accused of being staid. A big band and a funk combo are being flown in to entertain guests, while the annual black- tie dinner on Christmas Eve at The Verandah is priced at $1,780. Island Shangri-La caters for everyone this year. Three-star Michelin chef Alain Verzeroli is conjuring up dinner at Petrus on Christmas Eve at $1,480, while on Christmas Day the menu costs $580 (lunch) and $990 (dinner). On New Year's Eve, the most spectacular celebration of all costs $1,998 - again aptly priced. If you have children with you, make sure they don't miss posting a wish on the Christmas tree during buffet lunches and dinners at Island Cafe. Santa stops by and often makes those wishes come true. For fun lovers, a live band will be entertaining diners at the Island Shangri-La's popular Cyrano on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve. Prices are $980 and $1,098 respectively - or $280 after 10pm to see in the New Year without dinner, but only if seats are available, which is probably unlikely. At the Holiday Inn Golden Mile's new restaurant, Avenue, there is a variety of gastronomic menus from $198 to $888 come in a wide variety, while Delicatessen Corner is sure to attract the 'office Christmas lunch' crowd in Tsim Sha Tsui with three and four- course lunches at $128 and $180. Those who wish to experience the gourmet spirit of Christmas past may want to try Cafe Deco on The Peak, where German Christmas goose is being served with all the trimmings as the highlight of a $450 four- course Yuletide feast on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. New Year's Eve at Cafe Deco will, meanwhile, welcome 1999 with a spectacular Cuban-style salsa extravaganza, complete with Havana cigars, cocktails and a gourmet seven-course dinner, priced at $1,200. At The Repulse Bay's Verandah there will be a gala dinner-dance on both Christmas Eve ($1,188) and New Year's Eve ($1,688), which includes cocktails on the lawn, a sultry way to start the night if the climate is kind. At the New World Renaissance, an 'Angelic Christmas' is the theme - although this is also the place to be if you plan on rocking into the New Year in less angelic fashion at the Catwalk Nightspot. For a candlelit dinner and harbour view, try the hotel's Panorama - $1,200 on Christmas Eve and $1,350 on New Year's Eve. Those with children should head for buffet parties with carol singing and Santa throughout Yuletide at the Patio Coffee Shop and Lobby Lounge. Prices are as low as $188 ($118 for children), and take note that an unlimited soft drinks offer at $20 for youngsters extends to beer for adults. Across the harbour at the Renaissance Harbour View, the seasonal theme is also family-oriented. A disco-buffet with Santa on Christmas Eve at the Oasis is free for those under three. For adults, the charge is $600 - and $480 for children. The party continues on Christmas Day at Oasis - as well as the hotel's other outlets. For an Italian flavour, try either Sabatini at the Royal Garden (which is serving buffet lunches), or sumptuous feasts at Nicholinis, in The Conrad, priced at $1,480 on December 24, $800 on December 25 and $2,280 on New Year's Eve. Regional French-style festive dining is on offer at the Grand Stanford's Belvedere. Of course, there are many other options. But wherever you celebrate, feast well.