Create a winter wonderland holiday party
It's time to start planning your holiday table, including place settings, a centerpiece and, of course, menu items. If this is your first time hosting a holiday dinner, or if you just want to change it up each year, this winter wonderland–themed setting will inspire you.
With ideas for place settings, an easy but elegant centerpiece, some recipes and even free printables, we'll have you on your way to being the host with the most this season.
A winter wonderland tablescape
A winter wonderland theme conjures up visions of white and silver, sparkle and shine, and soft, furry texture. For this table, a silver sequin covering acts as the base while a furry throw acts as a table runner.
A do-it-yourself centerpiece saves on cash but not on style. A couple of bundles of large, white flowers and some $1 wintry embellishments make it easy. Keep reading for the instructions.
Each place setting consists of layers of silver and white. A charger, a silver-banded plate and a silver-gray napkin provide the essentials, while an ornamental sprig adds decoration.
Use the printable place cards and favor tags to guide guests to their seats and to top a small gift for them to take home. A small favor box is embellished with rhinestone trim from the craft store, and it holds sweet treats inside.
Make a centerpiece that sparkles
Working with flowers and creating a pretty centerpiece doesn't have to be intimidating, and there's more you can do than simply place a mixed bouquet into a clear glass vase.
Winter wonderland centerpiece
This winter wonderland centerpiece is as simple as 1-2-3 to create. Here's how you do it.
- White flowers (hydrangeas and spider mums are large and work well)
- Low, white ceramic vase
- Floral foam
- Ornamental embellishments (snowflake ornaments or wintry sprays)
- Long wooden skewers
- Adhesive glue strips
- Wire cutters (if needed to cut wintry sprays)
- Soak the floral foam in water as directed on the package.
- Apply an adhesive glue strip to one end of each wooden skewer and attach a snowflake ornament to it.
- Cut "branches" off wintry sprays.
- Place floral foam inside the ceramic vase.
- Cut the flowers down and insert their stems into the floral foam.
- Add skewered snowflakes and wintry sprays throughout the flower arrangement.
This centerpiece works well because it's low enough that it doesn't interfere with conversation and views across the table.
The white, fluffy flowers also resemble snowballs for this winter wonderland–themed party.
The perfect menu for your party
Since dinner is the main attraction, keep appetizers light so as not to ruin the appetite. Spiced pecans are a holiday mainstay and come in sweet or spicy varieties. Make these savory smoky pecans and set out bowls of them around the room where guests will mingle.
- 3 cups pecan halves
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce
- Combine the wet ingredients and add the pecans to the mixture. Stir to coat the pecans.
- Heat your oven to 300 degrees F and line a baking sheet with foil. Spread the pecans onto the foil in a single layer and bake for 25 minutes. Stir occasionally during cooking.
- Let the pecans cool, and serve.
- Store them in an airtight container.
Set up a small dessert area and keep it in the same decorative style as the main seating area. Use a side chest or even a bookcase if space is at a premium. For the holidays, you'll want to have a few options for dessert. Options we've included here are a traditional pecan pie with a twist and a dessert cocktail.
Traditional pecan pie
This pecan pie is rich and decadent, with the addition of Kahlua to make it festive.
- 1 deep-dish frozen pie shell, thawed at room temperature for about 30 minutes
- 2 cups pecans, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup dark corn syrup
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup Kahlua
- 4 large eggs
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 2 teaspoons cornmeal
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Sprinkle the pecans into the empty pie shell and set them aside.
- Combine the corn syrups, sugars and Kahlua in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and stir constantly over medium-low heat for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, butter, cornmeal, vanilla and salt. Slowly add a small amount of the hot mixture into the egg mixture while whisking. This will help temper the eggs so they don't cook from the heat of the hot mixture.
- Continue slowly adding the hot mixture to the egg mixture while whisking. Pour the filling into the prepared pie shell.
- Bake at 325 degrees F for 55 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
- Serve with ice cream or fresh whipped cream.
Melting snowball cocktail
The signature cocktail for this theme is a melting snowball. What could be more suitable for a winter wonderland party? The visual effect comes from a large scoop of ice cream enveloped by a delicious, creamy cocktail. It's truly dessert in a glass.
- 4 ounces milk
- 1 ounce Baileys Vanilla Cinnamon liqueur
- 1 ounce butterscotch schnapps liqueur
- 1 large scoop vanilla ice cream
- Place a scoop of ice cream in a martini glass.
- Pour the milk and liqueur into a cocktail shaker with ice. Cover and shake vigorously for about 10 seconds.
- Strain the mixture into the martini glass, making sure to surround the ice cream. Enjoy!
These ideas and recipes should help you on your way to a fabulous holiday dinner party. All that's left to do is send out those invitations. Cheers!