Christmas Party Foods
Presentations That Please the Eye
and Tickle the Palate
Christmas party foods can be presented in so many ways. The important thing is that the spread be appealing to the eye and easily eaten. After all, folks in their holiday finery don't want spaghetti with red sauce dripping down their pristine Christmassy outfits, even if red is the color of the season.
And as you create a vision in your mind of which theme you want to adopt, remember to check out our unique Christmas party appetizers, desserts, and drinks for Christmas party recipes that will make your spread a dazzling success.
Buffet Station Bonanza
You know how restaurants sometimes have specialty stations like omelet stations and carving stations rather than one big buffet? For a nice change of pace, use this concept for presenting your Christmas party foods. A bonus is you get to decorate several small tables, and I for one can't get enough of Christmas decorations scattered everywhere.
Be sure to have appropriate utensils and dishes on each table. Splurge on bright red and green plastic plates and utensils, as well as paper napkins. This isn't the time for economical flat white. And yes, it's perfectly fine to opt for plastic rather than fine china and silverware. You want cleanup of your Christmas party food to be easy. Besides, there are some really cool-looking disposable holiday wares out there.
Christmas party buffet stations should include a few goodies from at least these categories:
APPETIZERS. Set out 4 or 5 choices prettily arranged on plates or platters. In this case, white is the perfect backdrop for your colorful food tidbits—don't want the Christmas party appetizers competing with bright red and green backgrounds. Serve all non-messy finger foods, and all you'll need are napkins and small plates. All of the following are wonderful additions to your spread:
- Canapés such as goat cheese and onion-pineapple marmalade.
- Crudite platter with baby carrots, broccoli florets, grapes, sliced apples, gherkin sweet pickles. Place a small bowl of creamy Italian dressing in the center for dipping the veggies.
- 2 cheeses—one hard, one semi-soft—along with fancy crackers such as Bremner wafers.
- Shrimp dip with mini-toasts (can be found in markets alongside gourmet crackers).
SALADS. Provide 3 choices and your guests will have plenty. For these, you need napkins, small plates, and forks. Make sure all the ingredients are bite-size so that you avoid having folks trying to cut food while balancing a tiny plate on their laps. Colorful and easy, the following will fill out your table in grand style:
- Spinach and mandarin orange salad with poppy seed dressing
- Bibb lettuce, dried cranberries, and walnuts with raspberry vinaigrette dressing
- Arugula, pine nuts, and goat cheese with balsamic vinaigrette dressing
DESSERTS. Again, 3 different desserts should satisfy the most raging sweet tooth. Put out small plates and napkins. Depending on which desserts you opt for, you may not need eating utensils.
DRINKS. Ah-hah, you've arrived at the station that will probably get the most visits. Mulled cider and eggnog are must-haves. Depending on the number of guests, you may want to set out actual glass cups and tumblers instead of plastic. If you're serving wine, I insist that you go for the glass. Don't know about you, but wine just doesn't taste the same swilled down from a plastic container of any sort. Eggnog is a different story: cute glass punch cups are lovely, but plastic will also fill the bill.
Why not set up your buffet table as a miniature Christmas tree scene, complete with gifts? Cut the tops off of several boxes that are just large enough to hold your serving bowls. If necessary, cut the boxes around the top edge so that they're the same heights as whatever bowls you're going to place inside.
Wrap the boxes in bright Christmas wrapping paper. Tie a wide ribbon around the side of the box and affix a large bow on the front. Ribbons and bows should be in Christmassy colors, of course. Wrap a few sturdy empty boxes, leaving the bows off. You'll use these boxes as stands.
Set your serving bowls inside the topless boxes. Put some of the boxes containing Christmas party food on top of the empty wrapped boxes. The goal is to have bowls at varying heights to simulate piles of presents under a Christmas tree.
Speaking of which, set a miniature Christmas tree on your buffet table as a backdrop to the pile of boxes. The tree can be real or artificial. Be sure to brighten it with miniature decorations. Some of our homemade Christmas party favors would make adorable additions to the tree.
When you're ready to lay out your Christmas party foods, carefully spoon your various foods into the bowls already nestled inside the boxes. For additional green on your table: garnish dips with parsley; line salad bowls with romaine lettuce leaves.
Wreaths and Bells and Canes, Oh My!
Arrange the food on your Christmas party buffet table in the shape of favorite Christmas items. Voila, instant additional holiday decorations!
APPETIZER WREATH. On a large round platter, arrange your appetizers in concentric circles to create the base of the wreath. Add artfully arranged bay leaves around the perimeter of the appetizers. Lay a red satin bow at the top of the plate.
DESSERT BELL. On a large square platter, arrange overlapping Christmas cookies in rows of varying lengths so that the end result is the shape of a bell. Underneath the last row place one large round cookie as the bell clapper.
DESSERT CHRISTMAS TREE. On a large rectangular platter, lay out desserts cut into squares in parallel rows. The top row will have only 1 square; the next row 2 squares; the row under that one, 3 squares...you get the picture. Keep going until you've laid out the majority of your sweets in the shape of a triangle. Under the last row, arrange dessert squares in a block shape for the tree trunk. Any dessert you normally cut into squares will do the trick. I like serving homemade lemon squares as the sweet ending to my layout of Christmas party foods.
CANDY CANE SWEETS. On large rectangular platters, arrange miniature desserts in a candy cane shape, alternating white and red for the candy cane stripes. Miniature cupcakes work well—some with red icing, some with white. Another great combination is brownies cut into bite-size squares topped with half a maraschino cherry, paired with dollops of homemade meringues. Complete the look with candy canes scattered about on the table.
Red , Green, & Snowy White
Your Christmas party foods can easily follow the path of holiday colors. For sure, no clashing with your holiday decor here.
APPETIZERS. Assemble tea sandwiches made with white bread. You can also alternate white and brown bread slices, just make sure white is on top. Make a watercress and cream cheese filling for a lovely bright green, smoked salmon and cream cheese for your red. Spinach dip is another tasty green appetizer that folks clamor for each year. Serve this tasty Christmas party food with an assortment of Christmas party crackers. It's also great presented in a hollowed-out round of dark bread, with the bread insides torn into chunks and scattered around the perimeter.
DRINKS. Green melon ball, red mulled wine, white eggnog: all the colors your heart could desire in Christmas party drinks. Go ahead and stretch the concept a bit with clear sparkling wine as your shimmery silver.
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