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The Ultimate Holiday Party Guide

The Ultimate Holiday Party Guide

Just in time for your holiday entertaining, we have a store of ideas and amazing tips for flavourful foods, table setting and even fun conversation starters to delight your family and friends!

Tempting Hors D’Oeuvres for Merry Munching


Get the holidays off to a delectable start with appetizing, easy-to-make, hors d’oeuvres. These tasty tidbits give guests the freedom to circulate with a glass in one hand and a scrumptious bite in the other.


Plan for 3 to 5 portions per person as an appetizer, 4 to 6 per hour per person for a cocktail party and 8 to 12 per person for a buffet.


Here are some tips and ideas for party bites that will wow!

  • For canapés that stand out, pile delicious garnishes on unusual bases such as miniature crêpes or blini, polenta cubes, diminutive patty shells, corn chips or tarts.
  • Shrink typical mains into novel bite-size portions, such as mini-meat pies, smoked salmon mini-quiches, mini-pizzas and finger sandwiches.
  • Make star sandwiches using a cookie cutter and bread with crusts removed.
  • Bruschetta is a favourite at any party. Lightly toasted slices of baguette are typically topped with fresh chopped tomato and basil. Get creative by adding ingredients such as feta, pancetta or pesto––whatever suits your palate!
  • Give your holiday spread some exotic flair by serving Asian, Mediterranean and Tex-Mex-inspired hors d’oeuvres, such as sushi, spring rolls, falafels, stuffed grape leaves, tiny chicken tacos and miniature shrimp enchiladas.
  • Complement your canapés with fine cheeses and olives, marinated mushrooms and artichoke hearts, cold cuts, fresh fruit and an interesting assortment of crackers.
  • Put out crudités and various breads along with dips and spreads like pâtés, rillettes, vegetable terrines, cream cheese spreads, hummus and guacamole.
  • The cheese platter should be taken out of the refrigerator an hour before serving and decorated with nuts and fruit.
  • Short on time? Serve ready-made Irresistibles mini-quiches, mini-pastries, Asian hors d'oeuvres and other selection of their sophisticated nibbles.

Drink to Happy Holidays

Drink to Happy Holidays

Welcome guests with traditional Christmas cheer—rich, creamy eggnog! Make sure to have plenty of other drink options, including wine, mocktails, sparkling water and fruit juices. Here are some dos and don'ts to keep in mind.

  • Do let guests serve themselves by setting up a drink station and offering an assortment of glasses, ice and garnishes. And cinnamon and nutmeg shakers for the eggnog!
  • Do prepare a cocktail punch and a festive non-alcoholic drink.
  • Don't forget to offer fruit juices, sparkling water, non-alcoholic wine and beer.
  • Do remember the three classic rules when playing bartender. Cocktails have 3 ingredients, 4 at the most (hard liquor, a liqueur, fruit juice and sometimes a little syrup). If a cocktail includes a sparkling beverage, add it just before serving the drink. Avoid mixing fruit juice with eggs and cream.
  • Do put out twice as many glasses as there are guests.
  • Do get creative with garnishes. Decorate drinks with tiny cherry or pineapple brochettes, clove-studded slices of citrus fruit, sprigs of mint and serve with colourful straws.
  • Do use labels with guests' names or colourful rings to identify glasses.
  • Do substitute frozen grapes or berries for ho-hum ice cubes in drinks. They make a colourful ice-breaker.

Expert Tip

Mocktail ideas to try:

  • Cranberry cocktail: Cranberry juice, lemon-lime soft drink, grenadine
  • Kir Royal mocktail: Apple juice, sweet cider or grape juice with a few drops of black currant syrup
  • Kid-Friendly grape spritzer: Equal parts white grape juice, purple grape juice and ginger ale

A Sweet Spread

A Sweet Spread

A holiday party isn't complete without an assortment of tempting Irresistibles pastries, cookies and cakes from METRO. Round out your dessert tray with tasty squares, tarts, cookies, shortbreads, chocolates and caramels. A beautiful platter of diminutive cakes is an attractive alternative to a big cake––no cutting, no crumbs! Mini-éclairs, nut clusters and miniature fruit cakes will satisfy the sweet-toothed and bring the meal to a glorious finale.

Festive Full Course Dinner

Festive Full Course Dinner

If you're hosting a full dinner, make sure to follow these tips for a most memorable evening.

  • Guests will want to see the list of culinary delights in store for them. Include a handwritten or printed menu with each place setting decorated with a sprig of holly or a bit of pine.
  • Don't make too many appetizers; you want people to be hungry for dinner. The first course should be set out before guests are called to dinner and the wine decanted to breathe.
  • The table setting plays an important part in the enjoyment of the meal. Don't feel limited to just traditional red and green decor! Play with colours of fuchsia, chartreuse, orange and white. Cloth napkins can be folded into fancy shapes, or simple squares, rectangles or triangles. Rolled napkins with a decorative tie make an equally elegant statement. The china doesn't all have to be the same; set a theme and mix patterns harmoniously.

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Fun Conversation Starters

Fun Conversation Starters

Holiday customs from other countries can make for interesting fodder. Get the conversation going with these fun facts on traditions from around the world.

  • In Argentina, each household keeps a cup filled with touron (almond paste with nuts or candied fruit), chocolates, dried and candied fruit in the entrance hall throughout the holidays to offer guests.
  • In Austria, people eat gingerbread men during the holidays to keep the devil away.
  • In Spain, each of the twelve strokes of midnight on New Year's Eve is marked by swallowing a grape for good luck.
  • In Japan, the New Year involves a major housecleaning. Once the home is clean, small potted pines with bamboo are put on both sides of the front entrance.