Let’s spill a secret: Holiday parties can be pretty blasé.
Sure, there’s a room full of people you adore. Check. And there’s holiday food. Check. One of the wine drinkers brought a bottle of red. Some of the Pinterest ladies brought things you’ve already seen in your Facebook feed a dozen times. Yeah, yeah. It’s all good and grand. The holidays are happening. Parties are being parties.
But you and me, we’re like, way too clever to let the same old suffice. We want tradition mixed with tinsel! We want classic shaken together and stirred. We aren’t just party people. We are the sort of people who like to PARTY. We wanna throw gigs that don’t just get people smiling, they keep people sighing all week long from wonderfulness.
And so, from my kitchen to yours, I’ve conjured three all-new ideas for your next shindig. Because you so deserve to make it snappy, snazzy and all sorts of spectacular.
Prepare your notepad. These ideas are about to become must-haves for your holiday party!
Serve Up Festive Veggie Dippers
Don’t just serve up a plain ol’ plate of veggies and ranch dip. Zest it up, with the colors of holly and the spicy flavors of the south. Make your own favorite guac and salsa, then layer ‘em all together with sour cream in mini Mason jars. Pop a few sprigs of Christmas-colored veggies up top and serve with tortilla strips on the side. Someone is bound to wish you Feliz Navidad with their mouth full.
What You’ll Need:
- 1 ¼ cups guacamole
- 1 ¼ cups salsa
- 1 ¼ cups sour cream
- 3 cups sliced red peppers, celery and jicama
- 1 cup tortilla chips or strips
- 6 (4 oz.) Mason jars
- 10 minutes for 6 servings
How to Make: Spoon 3 tablespoons of guacamole into the bottom of each Mason jar. Top with equal parts salsa and sour cream. Press veggie strips into the top of each Mason jar. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve with tortilla chips on the side.
Make Serving Simple with a Build-Your-Own Toast Bar
If baking up a party table full of treats has you going crosseyed, fuggheddaboudit. Toss the traditional idea most people have about platters and platters of casseroles. You are way savvier than that. Instead, let your guests build their own bruschetta with a Make-Your-Own Toast Bar.
This is one splendidly easy to put together. Here are a few secrets that’ll have you popping up your party in 60 minutes flat:
- No Chopping for You. Hit the fresh food section of your grocery store and buy pre-chopped veggies right off the salad bar. Sliced radishes, beets, boiled eggs, beans and veggies are ideal toast toppers.
- Olive Bar It Up. Most mainstream grocery stores now have instant access to an olive bar. This is your ticket to serious party toast. Just grab one of those giant deli containers and fill it to the brim with everything on the bar. Olives, feta, peppers and marinated artichokes are awesome party eats.
- Get Cheesy. Gourmet cheese is always a pleaser, but you can save cash when serving a crowd by grabbing cream cheese and ricotta—inexpensive versions that taste great on toast.
- Visit the Deli. Go say hello to the butcher and get them to slice up salami, pepperoni and other deli meats while you shop. By the time it’s time to check out, you’ll have all sorts of meats, perfect for topping off toast.
- Go Italian. Hit the pasta section at any store and grab several different colors of sauce. Pesto, sundried tomato sauce, even a hearty marinara make great toppings. Grab a few and let everyone spread on whatever they please!
Put it all together with a list of favorite flavor combinations, or place a chalkboard by your toast bar and let guests write down their own recipes so other eaters can follow. Boom! Party eats and entertainment are done.
What You’ll Need:
- 1-2 baguettes, sliced thin and toasted
- 3-4 jars savory sauces or spreads (pesto, hummus, tapenade, etc.)
- 1-2 jars sweet sauces or spreads (honey, spicy jam, maple syrup, etc.)
- 2-3 types cheese (bleu, Brie, cheddar, cream cheese etc.)
- Variety of toppings (marinated artichokes, sliced olives, boiled eggs, chopped beets, fresh herbs, sliced avocado, sliced tomato, smoked salmon, salami, etc.)
- 15 minutes to make 8 servings
How to Make: Arrange all ingredients on an oversized cutting board. Invite guests to build their own toasts and enjoy!
Give Guests a Take-Home Treat: White Christmas Muddy Buddies™ Mix
Serve up take home-able party favors in a snap with this simple holiday-inspired Chex™ Mix. Simply grab a bag of ready-to-go Chex™ Muddy Buddies™ and follow the recipe below!
What You’ll Need:
- 2 (10.5 oz. bags) Chex™ Mix Muddy Buddies™
- 1 (12 oz.) bag white chocolate chips
- 1-2 cups red and green candy-coated chocolate candies
- ¼ cup holiday sprinkles (optional)
How to Make: Spread Muddy Buddies™ onto a large, parchment-lined baking sheet. Melt white chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl, cooking on high for 60-second bursts, then stirring until smooth. Drizzle melted chocolate over Muddy Buddies™. Stir to coat. Immediately sprinkle with chocolate candies and holiday sprinkles. Allow to cool before serving or storing.
Another idea: Whip up a batch of our Christmas Chex Mix and serve it in tiny clamp-topped containers (we found ours for $1.49 each at the local craft store).
Don’t forget to tie on holly and a little note that tells guests just how jolly they make your house. Then send them home with a little edible love.
With these clever-cute ideas, your dreams for a creative Christmas might just be delivered a little early this year. Who needs Santa when you’ve got Tablespoon.com?
Brooke blogs at Cheeky Kitchen, where she shares crazy simple, healthy family recipes. She joined Tablespoon to share some of her best, so keep an eye on Brooke's profile to see what she cooks up next!