Entertaining during the festive season doesn't have to be stressful - get a little prepared, keep things simple and you can enjoy these Holiday party ideas (including some strawberry santas) as much as your guests!
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It's that time of year. The decorations are up, gifts have started to arrive from family (since we are not near any of them) and we're desperately trying to sort out what we're sending to others.
Plus while we're not necessarily doing all that much entertaining ourselves this year, I know that's on the agenda for many. To get you in the spirit, I thought I'd share some cute little strawberry Santas, as well as some easy Holiday party ideas.
Holiday party tips
If you're planning to host a Holiday party, here are a few ideas to help things be easier on you as a host:
- Set up a drinks station so you don't have to serve for everyone - I have some more tips about that alongside my cranberry sangria recipe.
- If you're in a cold location, like me, think about having a warm drink to beat the cold such as spiked mulled apple cider, mulled wine or try my warm cranberry cocktail or warm pomegranate punch.
- Buffet-style appetizers are often easier than serving a meal - that way guests can take as much or as little as they like and choose what they like or don't.
- Try to find out if you have any allergies or dietary requirements to accommodate and make food accordingly. For me, this is another reason to do a few different dishes, so some will work for different needs but you can still have other things that work for others. Just because there is one vegetarian doesn't to mean that meat should be off the menu for all, unless it makes sense.
- Make as much as you can ahead of time, even if it's not the whole dish. For example you can make the bacon jam, apples and toast the bread for my caramelized apple and bacon jam crostini ahead of time then assemble them nearer the time. Similarly you can toast the crostini and make the mushroom pate for steak crostini and just do the steak last minute, or do all and serve it cold.
- A mix of sweet and savory can also be good, as well as some hot and cold, but without giving yourself too much extra work.
Basically make it all as easy as you can on yourself!
Some of my favorite appetizers to serve include:
- smoked salmon bruschetta
- pesto goats cheese filo parcels
- Catalan coca (Spanish pizza)
- scallop and chorizo stacks
- hot phyllo crab cups
- sausage rolls
- blini with smoked salmon
- and dips like baba ghanoush, muhammara and my cheesy corn pumpkin dip.
Making strawberry Santas
Strawberry Santas are a super easy, fun appetizer to add to your collection. In fact they are so easy, I made a video to show you how quickly they come together! Take a look below, and you'll see what I mean.
While I have made a semi-savory version here with mozzarella, balsamic and mascarpone you could also make this in a dessert format with marshmallows, chocolate and whipped cream. In some ways the dessert version would work better as the chocolate will dry to make better eyes than the savory version, but this appetizer is just for fun so I don't think it matters.
See how easy these are in this short video:
You get the idea - why not play around with what you put in there and have fun! Plus there are lots more delicious Holiday party ideas below:
- 3 Ingredient Citrus Salad by Wholistic Woman
- Caprese Dip by The Freshman Cook
- Easy Persimmon Appetizer with Minted Mascarpone by Caroline's Cooking
- Goat Cheese & Basil Stuffed Peppadews by My Life Cookbook
- Mom’s Cheese Ball by Grumpy’s Honeybunch
- Candy Cane Fudge by Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Easy Lemon Bundt Cake by That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Pumpkin Nutella Cookie Bars by Take A Bite Out of Boca
- Sweet and Salty Toffee Bark by Pies and Plots
- Cheese Ball Pops by Palatable Pastime
- Cranberry Bacon Jam Crostini by Life Tastes Good
- Hoisin Beef Purses by Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
- Jalapeno Potato Poppers by Mindy’s Cooking Obsession
- Spicy Sausage Tarts by A Mind Full Mom
- St. Louis Ravioli by Bottom Left of the Mitten
- Tuna Salad Deviled Eggs by Food Lust People Love
- 5 strawberries
- 5 mini mozzarella balls
- 5 pomegranate seeds
- ½ tsp balsamic reduction or pomegranate molasses probably won't use all
- 1 tbsp mascarpone cheese approx
- Slice the stalk end off the strawberries. Cut a little off one side of the mozzarella balls so they have a flat edge then put a cocktail stick through the mozzarella ball and strawberry so the two flat edges join. Repeat with the rest. (If anything, have a bit of the cocktail stick poke out the bottom to help with holding and/or presenting in an up-turned half grapefruit.)
- Make a slight indent in the middle of the mozzarella balls and press in the narrow end of the pomegranate seed in each one. Use the flat end of a cocktail stick to dab a little balsamic reduction or pomegranate molasses above for 'eyes'.
- Spoon a little mascarpone on the end of the strawberry and serve.
See some of my favorite cooking tools and ingredients in the Caroline's Cooking Amazon store.
Remember to pin for later!