Holiday Party Ideas

Host the holiday party of the season with fun and festive ideas from Food Network Magazine.

Photo By: Kang Kim

Photo By: James Wojcik Prop Stylist: Marina Malchin 917 751 2855

Photo By: Jeff Harris

Photo By: Charles Masters

Photo By: Kang Kim

Photo By: Melissa Punch ©Hearst Communications Inc., 2013

Photo By: James Wojcik Prop Stylist: Marina Malchin 917 751 2855

Candy Platter

Put Santa’s cookies on this candy platter and you might catch him licking the plate on Christmas morning. To make one, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom and sides of a small rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, leaving an overhang. Fill to the edges with hard candies (we used peppermint sticks), arranging them flush against one another. (If the candies don’t reach the edges of the pan, create a barrier with folded aluminum foil.) Bake for 10 minutes, or until the candies have just melted into each other. Let harden for about 30 minutes, then lift the parchment to remove the candy platter from the sheet. Use it to serve treats like cookies and brownies; hot or wet stuff will create a sticky situation.

Golden Dessert

Get a booklet of “transfer leaf” edible gold (about $40 for 25 three-inch-square sheets;, then brush the top of already-baked brownies with warm honey and, starting in one corner, place a sheet gold-side down on top. Gently rub the paper until the gold transfers onto the brownies.

Festive Crackers

Use your holiday cookie cutters to make fun tree-shaped crackers: Just punch out shapes from wonton wrappers (usually found in the refrigerated section of the produce aisle). Place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet, brush with pesto and season with salt; bake at 350 degrees F until golden around the edges, about 8 minutes. Let cool, then store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Bite-Size Cheese Balls

Improve on the usual cheese ball appetizer and serve these fun bite-size ones instead. 

Get the Recipe: Mini Cheese Balls

Tasteful Decorations

At the end of this year’s holiday party, send guests on their way with a double-duty gift: some homemade sugar-cookie dough and a clear glass or plastic ornament filled with sprinkles or other cookie toppings. Your friends can use the toppings to decorate the cookies at home — or they can just hang the ornament on the tree.

Get the Recipe: Homemade Sugar-Cookie Dough: Iced Sugar Cookies

Sweet Advent Calendar

Make your own candy advent calendar in minutes: Just buy two 12-packs of candy canes and slide a numbered tag onto each one. We used jewelry tags (available at craft stores) and miniature clear hair bands to label these. Hang all 24 over a glass container and give out one a day until Christmas. 

Holiday Sugar Cubes

Serve coffee with a holiday twist: Make your own Christmas-themed sugar cubes. You’ll need small silicone candy molds, granulated sugar and food coloring. (We found molds at Mix 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cold water, and 12 drops red or green food coloring, then fill the molds with the mixture, pressing down with your fingers to pack it in. Let dry overnight, then carefully remove from the molds.