When life hands you boring veggie trays, you make veggie tray Christmas trees. (Or shrimp cocktail Christmas trees. Or meat and cheese Christmas trees.)
Hack inspired by the December 1974 issue of Bon Appétit magazine, by the way of one of our very own editors' moms.
When a Tablespoon editor first told us about the shrimp cocktail trees her mom made every Christmas, we thought she surely was joking. This could not possibly be a thing.
But a quick Google image search proved that it was definitely a thing. In fact, the shrimp cocktail tree dates all the way back to Christmas 1974. It was a magical time when The Godfather: Part II was packing theaters, “Kung Fu Fighting” and “Cat’s in the Cradle” were America’s favorite songs, and a visionary team of editors at Bon Appétit created the Christmas Shrimp Tree, which 42 years later would inspire one of our favorite holiday party hacks.
Naturally, for 2016 we put a Tablespoon twist on the whole thing. The original seemed far too tedious, so we simplified and sped up the process big time—our tree is ready to decorate in 10 minutes, tops.
We know shrimp isn’t everyone’s thing (or in everyone’s budget), so we tested versions with a veggie tray and meat/cheese tray, too. This would also work well with fruit, olives, etc.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Styrofoam floral cones, various sizes (available at craft stores)
- Plastic wrap
- Lettuce leaves
- Store-bought deli tray (vegetable, shrimp, or meat and cheese)
Gather your supplies and cover a foam floral cone in plastic wrap.
Use toothpicks to cover cone in lettuce leaves to make your “tree.”
Use additional toothpicks to decorate with “ornaments” from the veggie, shrimp or meat tray. Serve immediately (for best results) or refrigerate 2-3 hours.