Fun Holiday Food Ideas for The Whole Family

Deck not only the halls, but the table with all things holiday themed. Yes, we're talking about a tasty spread that not only fuels little brains and bodies, but gives everyone a dose of the Christmas spirit. Think kid-friendly feasts, family happy hour spreads, desserts and more. Pick one or all these ideas for your holiday celebration.

Bling the Buffet 

Holiday table spread

One of the easiest ways to add pizazz to the holiday spread is to decorate it. This is a great way for littles to help too. Let them make popcorn and cranberry strings to lay around plates and napkins. Give them a handful of holly and/or festive edible flowers to spruce up the charcuterie plate and crudite bowl. Place easy-to-clean or handmade ornaments in free spots on the table. Or, instead of a tablecloth, get butcher paper and let your kids draw, paint and write holiday-happy pictures and phrases all over it before the spread goes out. 

Another way to add some holiday glam to an appetizer-style feast is to purchase festive plates, either with fun patterns or in traditional holiday colors such as green, red, gold or silver. Have the kids make napkin rings out of decorated and cut paper towel tubes to put around each colorful cloth. Utensil holders crafted using empty jars and cleaned-out peanut butter containers can be blinged out with glitter, ribbon and even wrapping paper, an end product that also makes for an easy way to have guests serve themselves all they need. 

Dazzle the Dishes 

There's no reason to leave the bling to the tree and hearth, food this time of year can sing to the season too. Imagine the joy of serving your kid a ham and cheese sandwich cut into triangles and layered to look like a Christmas tree. Mashed potatoes can become 3D snowmen, and, with the addition of pretzels, candy eyes and a small tomato, any chicken finger can have a reindeer-like visage. For an easy any-time meal, whip up a bowl of macaroni and cheese with a sprinkle of red and green peppers on top. Finally, for those special holiday dinners, add garnishes of holly, cranberries and pine tips to give the meal a winter wonderland vibe. 

Holiday Desserts

Holiday cookies

Sweet things may be the best part of the holidays, and there's so much you and your family can do with cookies, cakes, chocolate and other tasty treats. Let's start with cookies. Instead of simply making a bunch of Christmas cookies, turn the decorating session into a mini party with your kids and a few of their friends. This is a great way to not only decorate cookies to the heart's content, but cookies can be sent home with each family. Even better, make it eco-friendly and tell the guests to bring their own containers to take the masterpieces home. 

After the cookie party, make Santa hat cupcakes using red-dyed buttercream frosting and a white M&M, or another candy, on top. The savvy child will like turning cupcakes, cookies, chocolates or any sort of confection into Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer with a handful of pretzels for ears, candy eyes and red candy for the nose. And, if you're feeling lazy and you have little kids, feel free to make a bunch of reindeer poop, they will love it and giggle endlessly. 

Morning Memories

Little girl on Christmas morning

Whether it's Christmas morning or any morning in the month of holiday celebrations, you can give it a festive twist. Instead of basic toast, take a cookie cutter and serve trees, reindeer, Santas and any other fun shape your kids might want. Add a dash of cinnamon and sugar to the buttered bread for an even sweeter treat. The same cookie cutters can be used on eggs too, and the scraps eaten on the side or by a hungry parent. 

By cutting a waffle into fours you can stack them like a Christmas tree, made even better if green food coloring is added to the batter. Then let the kids decorate the tree with blueberries, raspberries, dried cranberries, chocolate chips and sprinkles. Bonus, add whipped cream around the base as snow. 

Pancakes too can make for a winter wonderland. Take three small ones of varying sizes and let your littles build a snowman. Raisins make for good buttons, bacon for a top hat, candy eyes and of course, a bit of carrot for the nose. Pretzel sticks work for arms, and when it's done, sift powdered sugar for the snow. Or, make cute Santa faces with the pancakes. Use chocolate chips for eyes, whipped cream for that famous beard, and layer sliced strawberries as a hat. 

Make Drinks Stand Out 

While adults revel in the mulled wine and Champagne cocktails, make something special for the kids too (and for all those times grown ups aren't imbibing). Throw a little edible glitter into the next smoothie for a magical Christmas protein and fiber boost. Even water, apple juice or milk can become a holiday fairy drink with this product. Next, trick out hot chocolate with whipped cream (using a can is fine), candy canes, red and green sprinkles and a maraschino cherry on top. Or, find the coveted hot cocoa bombs, which, if feeling adventurous, can also be made at home with a simple silicone mold, chocolate and marshmallow. 

There's also Grinch Punch, a bright green Kool-Aid drink made to serve a crowd of thirsty, festive children. And, if all else fails or you're simply tired, a glass of eggnog is classic, easy to pour, and makes many kids and adults feel the Christmas spirit with each sip. 

No matter how you feed your family this holiday season, make it fun, easy and tasty. After all, there's not too much that really has to be done when it comes to Christmas, all you need is a good appetite, a bit of holiday magic, and the joy of eating together.

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