Allrecipes and Better Homes & Gardens are teaming up to help you have a very merry Christmas.
Hot Chocolate Bar. Set out the basics and let guests add all the extras--marshmallows, peppermint sticks, sprinkles, and other festive fixings.
For fun take-home party favors, offer plain white mugs and ceramic paint pens so guests can personalize them. (Print the manufacturer’s instructions on little cards for them to take home; most just require baking the decorated mug for 30-45 minutes in the oven to set the paint.)
Christmas Movie Marathon. Help set the holiday mood--and entertain the youngest kids--by playing classic holiday films such as "Elf" or "A Charlie Brown Christmas." Keep the volume low so you don't drown out the party, and provide plenty of fun snacks. The editors at BHG.com have put together a list of favorite Christmas movies so you can find the perfect choice for your party.
Decoration Station. Set up a special cookie-decorating area. For easy clean-up, cover a table or countertop with butcher paper. Set out the pre-baked cookies, bowls of icing, decorating gel, sprinkles, edible glitter, and candies. Be sure to include lots of paper towels, and let adults help out if needed.
Decorating Tips and Ideas
Christmas Tree Cookies. Bake these tree-shaped cookies ahead of time, and add decorations at the party. You can find the full recipe and directions on BHG.com.
Cookie Silhouettes. Bake sandwich cookies ahead of time, then dress them up by dusting with sifted powdered sugar over holiday stencils. Tip: Brush the cookie lightly with melted butter before sifting on the powdered sugar so the sugar will stick. Remove the stencil carefully to reveal the shape left behind.
Jam-Packed. Using a sturdy Linzer tart recipe or favorite cut-out cookie recipe, cut the dough into circular shapes, then use a small cookie cutter to cut "windows" into half the batch. Bake and cool ahead of time. To decorate, spread the plain cookies with a dab of raspberry, apricot, or strawberry jam. Top with a "window" cookie. Finish with a dusting of powdered sugar.
Gingerbread Cut-Outs. Simply lay out your pre-baked gingerbread shapes--people, animals, houses, trees--and provide a few different colors of icings, icing bags and tips, and candies. Play around with fun designs using this free cookie-decorating tool from BHG.com.
Mini Cookbooks. These free cookbooks from BHG.com include 10 selections each of bite-size desserts, sweet food gifts, and holiday appetizers. Simply print a cookbook, fold in half, and tie the spine with ribbon to make a fun party favor.
Packing Cookies to Go. To make sure cookie creations arrive home safely, provide small, sturdy boxes for each guest, with sheets of parchment or tissue paper to layer between cookies. Have ribbon and name tags ready to personalize each delicious boxful.
More ho-ho-ho for your holidays!