How to style a Christmas party

Planning a Christmas party or festive get-together? Prepare your canapés with style using our top tips, including serving suggestions and finishing touches.

A selection of Christmas party food

Get in the Christmas spirit with your very own festive soirée. We share our top tips to help you plan, prepare and present your party canapés with style.

1. Mix up your canapé menu

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 party.

Feta & cucumber bites
Mini meatball sliders
Anchovy palmiers
More Christmas canapé ideas

2. Use spears for finger food

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. Try these date, blue cheese & pancetta polenta stacks or naan, spinach & halloumi bites.

Date, blue cheese & pancetta polenta stacks

3. Present canapés on 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. Use sauce to keep canapés in place

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.

5. Save time with ready-made pastry cases

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. Retro vol-au-vent cases are ideal filled with wild mushroom & parmesan, spiced egg & coriander mayonnaise or smoked trout, horseradish & asparagus.

Vol-au-vents on a tray

6. Plan your drinks menu

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.

7. Finish on a sweet note

To finish off the evening, serve a selection of sweet canapés. These can all be assembled before the party and brought out when you are ready. Our mini cheesecakes are sure to be a big hit.

Mini New York cheesecakes

8. Hire 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.

9. Finishing touches and decorations

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.

Chocolate hazelnut truffles on a board

10. Wrap it up

For a party that your guests won't forget, send them home with a homemade gift. Pop these moreish truffles into gift boxes or wrap up these Christmassy biscuits in pretty material and tie with ribbon. If you need more inspiration, try our edible gift collection or our recipes for Christmas sweets.

Now read

How much alcohol to buy for a Christmas party
What dishes should you bring to a party?
Top 10 Christmas drinks

What are your top tips for styling a Christmas party? Leave a comment below...

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