Whether it’s a glitzy cocktails and canapé gathering or a restorative post-party brunch, these delicious food and drink ideas will definitely deliver feel-good festive cheer.
Kick off the party season by inviting friends over for a pre-Christmas drinks do. Make the most of festive flavours with this seasonal clementine prosecco cocktail or try a crowd-pleasing rum punch that's full of warming ginger to combat cold winter evenings. Make things just as special for non-drinkers with a pretty cranberry and pomegranate punch or indulgent salted caramel white Russian mocktail.
‘Tis the night before Christmas, the presents are wrapped, and all that’s left for you to do is to enjoy a cosy night in with your favourite people. Some easy sweet treats are great for relaxed gatherings, so why not try these mincemeat pop tarts for a super-simple twist on the traditional pies, or rustle up a batch of this spiced gingerbread popcorn for grabbing by the handful.
Although the main event is sure to leave everyone stuffed to the brim and ready for a snooze, there's always someone who gets a little nibbly in the evening. Make a tangy onion chutney ready to serve with a cheeseboard for those in the mood for something savoury, or crack out this stunning Christmas pudding rocky road bombe to keep chocoholics satisfied. Both can be prepped far ahead and are easy to serve as the celebrations roll into the evening.
After the full-on efforts of Christmas day, a buffet is a great way to host a more relaxed gathering. Opt for dishes that guests can serve themselves, such as some cheat's Chelsea buns stuffed with Christmas dinner leftovers or a pile of veggie sausage rolls. For afters, you can't go wrong with a retro trifle and this stunning Black Forest trifle is easy to assemble ahead with some ready-made shortcuts.
That period between Christmas and New Year's is still a time of feasting and celebrating, but without the pressure of the big day. For hassle-free hosting try our easy three-ingredient canapé ideas which are ideal for feeding a crowd; hot and herby pesto and Parmesan stuffed mushrooms, oozing with cheese Brie and cranberry focaccia bites, sweet and sticky pineapple satay skewers or beefy mini mozzarella meatballs.
Ring in the New Year as you mean to go on with plenty of fun, laughter and good cheer. Cook up a big plateful of these loaded lobster fries or hand round some cheesy Mexican quesadillas for a special street food-style twist on party fare. To end the night, try toasting midnight with one of these brilliant marshmallow shots; an edible glass of gooey, chocolate-dipped marshmallow you can eat once you've had a sip of boozy Irish cream liqueur.
Don't let the celebrations stop when the clock strikes twelve, carry on into New Year's Day with a hearty brunch to help everyone start the right way. There's no need to cook eggs and toast to order, dish up slices of this smoked salmon frittata or an all-in-one brunch bake for easy entertaining first thing. Just ensure there's plenty of coffee on the go, or perhaps some classic Bloody Mary's for something with more of a kick.
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