Christmas Eve entertaining provides the perfect blend of family and friends, festive attitudes, and delicious food. If you have the honor of hosting Christmas Eve, keep the evening light with a relaxed atmosphere and menu to match. This way, you can really enjoy the people around you and not be slaving away in the kitchen by yourself.
One of our favorite ways to handle Christmas Eve is an open house style get together, where friends and family can pop by in an established timeframe and stay for a few minutes or a couple of hours. Be sure to include this information on the invitation (email or printed), so that guests know it’ll be informal and that it will give them an opportunity to see you as well as attend church or have a more formal dinner with a smaller group.
For this type of gathering, we recommend serving appetizers with plenty of easy make ahead options that are refillable as the evening unfolds. Pretzels come into play here as the perfect Christmas Eve appetizer ingredient. Here are 4 of our staple Christmas Eve appetizers:
Christmas Eve Fondue: Who doesn’t love gooey, warm cheese? For a Christmas Eve twist on cheese fondue, we opt for using a nutty gruyere as the base. Season the cheese with a little white wine, garlic and touch of dry mustard. Once it’s melted, transfer it to a fondue pot to stay warm throughout your Christmas Eve get together. For dippers for this perfect Christmas Eve appetizer, you’ll need sliced apples, fresh broccoli florets, and of course, pretzels! We prefer our Chesapeake Spice and Garlic flavors with this savory fondue.
For a sweet fondue, melt a blend of milk and dark chocolates. Once the chocolate is settled in the fondue pot to stay warm, place fresh strawberries, marshmallows, and little squares of poundcake on a platter. Then, set out small bowls of Sweet & Salty, Sweet Chili and Sweet & Spicy OMG! Pretzels for guests to dip into the fondue. This sweet treat really highlights pretzels as the perfect Christmas Eve appetizer.
Cheesy Christmas Wreath: Elevate the look of your Christmas Eve appetizer selections with a festive, edible wreath. Here are a few options:
- Use your favorite cheese ball recipe, but mold it into the shape of a wreath instead of a ball (HINT: a Bundt pan can help with this job). You can use fresh dill or parsley to add some greenery to the wreath and serve it with a variety of savory OMG! Pretzels.
- For a more freeform approach, use slices of fresh mozzarella slightly overlapping to create a circle. Here’s where it gets fun! You can make it savory by adding marinated chopped tomatoes and olives as “decorations” on the wreath OR give it a slightly sweeter spin by adding fig or cherry fruit compote and dried fruit. Either way, this Christmas Eve appetizer needs a crunchy sidekick of pretzels!
- You could also make it more of a pull-apart pretzel Christmas Eve appetizer by crafting your edible wreath out of bite-sized foods. We like the Italian flavors of using cherry tomatoes (marinate them first in some balsamic vinegar and oregano for added flavor), small balls of fresh mozzarella, fresh basil leaves, and Garlic OMG! Pretzels. Basically, you’re making a deconstructed caprese salad or bruschetta that looks like a wreath!
Hot Dips: At an open house style gathering, dips are great options because you can make them ahead and then guests can just grab a bite or two as they are mingling. For Christmas Eve, opt for hot dips which show you took a little extra time and care in the preparation. Plus, they’re warm, which is ideal for the cold weather outside. With crab dip, we serve our Chesapeake Spice Pretzels. For our vegetarian guests, we always make a warm spinach and artichoke dip served with Lemon Pepper Pretzels on the side, as well as crumbed on top for some brightness. These are a great way to use pretzels as the perfect Christmas Eve appetizer while not working too hard.
Handhelds: Make it easy for your guests to hold a drink in one hand and food in the other with handheld Christmas Eve appetizers. We think using lettuce cups is the most versatile way to accomplish this entertaining must.
- Roasted beets in endive leaves are savory and perfect for the winter. You can really jazz them up with fresh herbs, a bit of crumbled goat cheese and crushed Garlic OMG! Pretzels.
- For a heartier option, sauté ground chicken or pork, or tofu (for a plant-based version) with some garlic, ginger, soy sauce and sesame oil. Then, add a few spoonfuls to bibb lettuce cups and sprinkle on some crushed Sweet Chili OMG! Pretzels. The hint of sweet will make these Asian flavored Christmas Eve appetizers perfect!
- For a Tex-Mex twist, charred corn and peppers mixed with black beans inside a romaine lettuce leaf topped with crushed Cheddar Jalapeno OMG! Pretzels are delicious. While a little untraditional for Christmas Eve, this bold flavor statement will bring holiday cheer to your guests’ taste buds.
However you are celebrating Christmas Eve, we hope you’ll try one of these fun and festive ideas. After all, pretzels make the perfect Christmas Eve appetizers!