In New York City, I get a lot of quizzical stares when I use the term "relish tray." When I first moved here, I had no idea that this was not a ubiquitous American term for the annual holiday platter of fresh and pickled vegetables. Growing up, it was tradition in my family to load up a serving platter with pimiento-stuffed green olives, black olives, pickled beets, dill and bread-and-butter pickles or gherkins, baby pickled corn, and fresh carrot and celery slices. Half the celery was stuffed with pimento cheese (Kraft brand—we also love the olive spread they make) and it was always the first item to be devoured. A Ranch-style dip was also customary. We even used to have a special round wooden platter fit with removable plastic trays for each vegetable (so the pickle juices wouldn't run into each other) that would spin.
Over the past several years to avoid the relish tray confusion, I had to train myself to say "crudites" when referencing this platter, and then be careful back home in Kansas to avoid that word as I would get similar blank stares—seems I can't win with either reference in any given part of the country. Reading this forum on Chowhound, I found that there are others out there with the same relish tray traditions—even the stuffed celery!
Above, you'll see my updated relish tray. I made my own pimento cheese for it (based off a Paula Deen recipe; I left out the onion and added more cream cheese) as well as my own dip (blend of mayo, nonfat yogurt, sour cream, and chopped fresh dill and tarragon). I added an extra fresh vegetable, too—sliced radishes. What will be on your relish tray this year?