How to style a Christmas party

Christmas is a great time to throw a canapé party, here are our top tips to making yours a success.

Christmas canapes

1. Mix it up

Plan your menu to make sure you have a nice mixture of canapés. For a party of eight or more, serve a variety of at least six different types of canapé with an equal split of meat, fish and vegetarian. Serving half cold and half hot will mean less time in the kitchen and more time to enjoy the soiree.
Feta & cucumber bites
Mini meatball sliders
Anchovy palmiers

2. Get spearing

Serving your canapés on decorative skewers can transform your nibbles into stylish hors d'oeuvres. Look out for skewers in cookware shops or online, or use rosemary sprigs stripped of their leaves. Don't forget to have plenty of napkins on hand and bowls for used skewers.

Pear platter3. Pretty platters

Look out for large vintage serving platters in charity shops, wooden boards and trays, and pieces of slate to serve your canapés on. You'll be able to fit more on, meaning you won't have to keep returning to the kitchen.

4. Feeling saucy

Where canapés are served with a thick sauce or dip, you can blob the sauce directly onto the board in neat lines and place the canapés on top. Not only does this look stunning, it will hold the canapé in place meaning your plate of food will look up to caterer standard.

Leek and goat's cheese tartlets5. Cases and bases

Transform shop bought goodies to save you time. Fill tiny ready-made pastry cases with fig preserve, crumbled blue cheese and a few thyme leaves or try topping blinis with smoked mackerel pâté, a few capers and a sprig of dill.

6. Bottoms up

Make sure you have a selection of spirits, wine and beer as well as soft drinks. Stock up on glasses; aim to have one wine glass, one cocktail glass and one tumbler per person. A few cocktails will go down well, mix the spirits for this Merry cherry fizz in a jug and top up with the sparkling juice just before serving.

mini New York cheesecakes7. Sweet treats

To finish off the evening serve a selection of sweet canapés. These can all be assembled before the party and bought out when you are ready to start sending people home! These mini cheesecakes are sure to be a big hit!

8. A helping hand

For a large party of 15 or more, it's a good idea to hire a few waiters and waitresses to serve food and drinks. Why not ask your children and their friends to help out for some extra pocket money? It will allow you to socialise and enjoy the party.

Tortilla chips and dips9. Finishing touches

The finishing touches will really make your party a success. Play some soft music, dress the tables with flowers and bowls of nuts and crisps, and light the room with candles and fairy lights. Make extra space by pushing tables and chairs to the walls.

10. Wrap it up

For a party that your guests won't forget, send them home with a homemade gift. Pop these delicious truffles into gift boxes or wrap up these Christmassy biscuits in cellophane and tie with ribbon.

For more on entertaining with panache, read our tips for styling your Christmas table.

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