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New ideas for Christmas appetizers

Heather Barnett is a freelance writer and foodie whose work has been featured in blogs, websites, magazines, and TV and radio ads. She spends her free time relaxing with her soulmate, Keith; her dog, Mosby "The Fly Slayer;" and Felix th...

Festive ideas for holiday starters

Christmas can be a stressful time of year. Let last minute shopping and family travel plans take center stage while you host the best Christmas party around! These low-stress holiday appetizer ideas will make your Christmas party the talk of the town (or at least your friends).

Mrs. Claus' party meatballs

1

Mrs. Claus' secret weapon meatballs

Grab a can of jellied cranberry sauce and mix in 1/4 cup of OJ, a tablespoon of orange zest and a teaspoon of ground cinnamon. Heat on low until the jelly is melted (stirring frequently), then simmer uncovered for five minutes and you have all you need for this killer recipe. Mrs. Claus' secret weapon? Her hungry elves never know her meatball dippers came from the freezer section!

2Christmas package cream cheese

This yummy holiday package begins by softening some cream cheese and mixing in 1/2 teaspoon of dried dill, 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder and a few pinches of salt. Pack it back into the cream cheese box (or another small boxy container) and let it sit in the fridge for three or four hours. When you're ready to serve it, tie it up with a scallion string bow! Press in diced red bell peppers for that extra Christmas-y touch and serve with crackers.

3Snowman crunch-sicles

If you're a fan of salty-sweet appetizers, you'll love these pretzel-based treats. Dip 8 inch pretzel rods in melted white chocolate (leaving a few inches to serve as a handle). After drying them on wax paper, use some reserved melted white chocolate to affix mini candies, gum drops, fruit leather and decorators gel to fashion little mini snowmen.

How to melt chocolate >>

4Christmas wreath appetizer

Nothing says Christmas like a wreath on the door… except maybe a wreath on the table. To jazz up your table setting, use two packages of refrigerated crescent roll dough to make an edible holiday wreath. Simply slice the rolled-up dough into eight pieces and arrange them on an ungreased pizza pan or cookie sheet to form a circle. Bake at 375 for 15 or 20 minutes, then cool on the serving dish.

Dress it up with your favorite savory cream cheese spread (like this one), then top it with a mix of green and red chopped veggies. For green, try broccoli, celery, lettuce, etc. For red, think red bell peppers or tomatoes. Give it an Italian flare with green olives and roasted red peppers. Or try another ethnic theme.

Check out these inspired holiday party ideas >>

More appetizer ideas

How to make any appetizer look gourmet
5 Last-second party appetizers
How to choose the right appetizer for your dinner party

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