Planning a holiday party? Here are a few entertaining tips to make your holiday cocktail parties & get togethers simple yet sophisticated this year!

Pick up some frozen puff pastry to have on hand this time of year and you won't regret it. You'll be able to whip up homemade appetizers in no time. Tip: look for a brand that uses all butter; the end result will have more flavor and will produce more flaky layers!

Blue Cheese, Cranberry & Walnut Bites by @ahappyfooddance


These sweet and savory pastry puffs make a great one-bite appetizer. Once you get the technique down, the options are endless! Make the pastry cups using the same method the recipe describes, but consider switching up the toppings. A slice of brie topped with homemade cranberry sauce would make for a festive presentation. Or, sauté some wild mushrooms to fill your cups with; then top with freshly grated parmesan cheese!

When serving a tart at a party, make sure to cut it into bite-size squares so it's easy for guests to eat with just one hand.
Pesto & Feta Roll Ups by @cloudykitchen
Erin from @cloudykitchen made this dough from scratch, but if you are short on time, puff pastry would work really well here, too! Just skip the rising time and bake the roll ups at 400˚ F for about 20 minutes.

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Make Ahead Bites
No one wants to be standing over the stove when guests arrive. Add these make-ahead items to your menu so you can actually enjoy the party!

Spinach, Red Pepper And Brie Dip by @carlsbadcravings
Hot, cheesy spinach dip? Yep, pretty much a holiday party requirement. The best part about this version is it can be prepped in full ahead of time. Just pop it in the oven a few minutes before guests arrive.
Roasted Carrot, Beet & Onion Tarts With Cashew Bechamel Filling And Spiced Sesame Crust by @amychaplin
These tasty tarts are both gluten free and vegan and can be prepared several days in advance. Try making them in a mini muffin tin for the perfect bite-sized appetizer.
Sweet Potato Crostini recipe by @camillestyles, photo by @ashamorskitchen
Roast slices of sweet potatoes ahead of time, then serve as crostini with some of your favorite toppings. Toppings pictured here: goat cheese & salmon, pear & honey and goat cheese, pomegranate & candied pecans.
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Party Platters
Prepping a platter in advance is a great way to serve hungry guests fast!

Thai Inspired Crudité Platter with Thai Chili & Lime Hummus, Spicy Thai Relish Greek Yogurt Dip and Thai Chili and Garlic Goat Cheese by @c.r.a.v.i.n.g.s
A welcome upgrade to standard veggies & dip! Use this beautiful platter as inspiration when creating your own crudité display.

Plant Based Snack Board with Roasted Garlic And Butternut Squash Dip, Mushroom & Olive Pâté & Creamy Beet Cashew Spread by @thefirstmess
Plant-based snacking for vegan guests, or those who are looking for a lighter option to traditional heavy holiday snacks.
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Keep the Festive Cocktails Flowing!

Bottom's Up!

Pomegranate Mezcal Margarita with Rosemary Salt by @jillianraecooks
To make these festive cocktails for a crowd, prep the simple syrup and lime juice in advance and combine it with the pomegranate juice. When you are ready to serve, just shake two ounces of the juice mix with the mezcal and triple sec per cocktail.
Cranberry Apple Persimmon Sangria by @lifeisbutadish
We've seen dozens of great holiday sangria recipes, but this flavor combination is one of our favorites! The best part? You can make a big batch the morning of your party and store it in the fridge. The flavor improves the longer it sits, so you don't have to worry about mixing drinks once guests have arrived.
Vanilla Old Fashioned by @nerdswithknives
Set up a DIY Old-Fashioned Bar and let guests get creative! Start with a few different sweetener options: brown sugar cubes, white sugar cubes, demerara syrup, or even vanilla bean sugar (as pictured above). Next, set out your favorite rye whiskey and a few different bitters for guests to experiment with. Lastly, have fun with the garnishes! Think oranges, wedges of pineapple, sugared cranberries or Maraschino cherries.
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When in Doubt, Just Add Cheese!
Worried you're going to run out of food? A cheese board is an easy way to feed a lot of guests with very minimal effort.

Holiday Cheese Platter by @thefeedfeed
We made this seasonal cheese board featuring cheese, fruit, nuts and our favorite pickles including pickled eggs. Check out some of our tips for creating the perfect cheese board at home, here.
Cheesy Garlic Pull Apart Bread by @recipe_tin
Just add some some homemade marinara to dip this bread into, and guests will be in cheesy carb heaven!
White Cheddar, Mascarpone and Cream Cheese Ball with Toasted Almonds, Crispy Sage and Pomegranate by @howsweeteats
Sorry Mom, but this holiday upgrade on the old-school cheese ball is our new favorite!
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A Little Something Sweet
These bite-sized treats are just what you need to cap off your holiday bash.

Chocolate, Coconut and Almond Thumbprint Cookies by @chelseasmessyapron
We look forward to thumbprint cookies every year, but this version with a fudge-like chocolate cookie, coconut frosting and toasted almonds may become our new go-to recipe!

Santa Hat Chocolate Sandwich Cookies by @bakeaholic_mama
Kids will love helping out with these adorable sandwich cookies!
Chocolate Gingerbread Petit Fours by @yummybeet
Spicy gingerbread cake is mixed with whiskey to create perfectly formed petit fours, which are then drizzled with chocolate and sprinkled with flaky salt!

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