Most people play host at least once over the holiday season. Some people dread it, because it can be a ton of work and overall just a stressful experience. If you don’t know by now, we love hosting. We’re firm believers that hosting can and should be just as much fun as being a guest. And with some hot tips and tricks, it totally can be.
If you’re planning a full-on holiday party, food is usually the hardest part. You’ve got dietary restrictions to think about along with making everything easy to grab and eat without needing to sit down. On top of that, you also need to think about the temperature the food you’re serving should be and how long the items you plan to serve can be left out. Doing it all right can be a fine art. So when we hosted our ugly Christmas sweater party this year, we decided to do one big grazing table. And now that we’ve gone the grazing table route, we can honestly say that it’s the best way to host the holidays.
If you’ve never heard of a grazing table, it’s like a buffet, but checks all of the must-have holiday food requirements off our list:
- It allows your guests to nibble here and there throughout the night instead of having one big helping.
- It usually consists of items like charcuterie and cheese, which can be put out and left for the duration of the night without concern
- Presents a ton of different food options, making it easy to accommodate dietary restrictions because guests can just take the items they can and want to eat
- It’s straightforward to maintain throughout the night; you can just replenish certain items as they deplete
As an added bonus, it’s also easy to coordinate as a potluck. Pick and choose the items you want at your table and delegate accordingly. For example, tell one guest to bring a soft cheese, tell another to bring a dip, or a nut of their choice. You get the idea. This way, people can still pick and choose what they want but you’ve given them some parameters and know roughly what you’ll end up with so it all goes according to plan.
- Cheeses, we used Boursin, brie, cranberry goat cheese and cheddar
- Cured meats
- Crackers, at least three kinds
- Dips, we used roasted red pepper, tzatziki and spinach
- Nuts, we had almonds, walnuts, cashews and a nut medley
- Dried fruits
- Compotes, we used sour cherry and zucchini horseradish jam
- Antipasto, we used olives, feta stuffed peppers, pickles and mushrooms
- Caprese skewers
- Spanakopita triangles
- Serving platters
- Ramekins or small bowls
- Cheese knives
- Spoons (for the dips, compotes and mustard)
- Small plates
- Christmas decor like pine branches, Christmas ornaments, poinsettias, holly, etc.
- Start by assigning platters to the items you know you’ll be serving and placing them out on your table, starting with the biggest platters. Feel free to use post-it notes to label them if that’s helpful.
- Do the same exercise with the smaller ramekins and bowls
- Place the plates and napkins at one end of the table
- Fill in any remaining holes between the platters, plates and ramekins with Christmas decor, so that very little surface of the table can be seen.
- Shortly before guests arrive, put out the food, saving the warm items like flatbread until the majority of your guests have arrived.
It wouldn’t be a party without an equally epic bar set up. Get the lowdown on all our tips for hosting an epic holiday party here.
Rocking Around the Christmas Tree
This playlist is filled with Christmas tunes that are sure to get the party started.