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42 Holiday Party Snacks Every Host Should Know

Forget mixing and mingling. A Christmas snacks spread this good means everybody will be bellied up to the buffet. And with holiday party snack ideas like these, who can blame them? Cue the carols!

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Holiday Salsa

When we offer this cream-cheesy salsa of fresh cranberries, cilantro and a little jalapeno kick, everyone hovers around the serving dish until it’s scraped clean. —Shelly Pattison, Lubbock, Texas
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Peppermint Popcorn

Crisp and minty, this simple popcorn snack is a hit with all 10 of our children. For variety, use whatever kind of candy you like. —Shirley Mars, Kent, Ohio
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Snow Pea Holiday Wreath

Santa himself might stop to sample this pretty-as-a-picture finger food! Crunchy green pea pods and juicy red tomatoes add a natural fresh, festive holiday note to my buffet table. —Carol Schneck, Lodi, California
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Festive Guacamole Appetizers

For ages, my brother's family and I have gotten together on Christmas Eve, and we always eat Christmas snacks while we open our presents. This Tex-Mex spin on classic appetizer pizza is one we have again and again. —Laurie Pester, Colstrip, Montana
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Ham Balls with Brown Sugar Glaze

Ham Balls with Brown Sugar Glaze

These smoky-sweet meatballs are a Pennsylvania Dutch specialty. I like setting them out when folks come to visit. —Janet Zeger, Middletown, Pennsylvania
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3-in-1 Cheese Ball

Three incredible cheese balls in flavors like pesto, horseradish-bacon and Gorgonzola make for a dazzling display at any get-together. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Aunt Grace's Eggnog

When I was growing up, I couldn't get enough of the nonalcoholic eggnog my aunt always prepared for us kids. Now I enjoy this adult version. —Susan Hein, Burlington, Wisconsin
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Candied Bacon-Wrapped Figs

I stuffed figs with cream cheese and wrapped them in bacon and spices for an addictive flavor combo that’s sweet, salty and delicious. You can use dates, too. —Shelly Bevington, Hermiston, Oregon
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Chocolate-Dipped Candy Canes

I couldn't resist combining my two loves—peppermint and chocolate—in this recipe. These are so easy, but if one breaks in the process, just pop it in your mouth. —Sandra Baumgarten, Vancouver, Washington
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Savory Party Bread

It's impossible to stop nibbling on warm pieces of this cheesy, oniony bread. The sliced loaf fans out for a fun presentation. It's one of the best savory appetizers I've found. —Kay Daly, Raleigh, North Carolina
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Appetizer Wreath

I have lots of fun with this festive appetizer wreath. I often place a bowl of stuffed olives in the center. —Shirley Privratsky, Dickinson, North Dakota
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Baked Spinach Dip Loaf

Any round loaf works as a serving bowl for this cream-cheesy dip, with spinach, cheddar, water chestnuts and, yes, bacon. Scoop the dip with the extra bread and veggies—then eat the bowl! —Frieda Meding, Trochu, Alberta
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Goat Cheese Mushrooms

Stuffed mushrooms are superstars in the hot appetizer category. I use baby portobello mushrooms and load them with creamy goat cheese and sweet red peppers. —Mike Bass, Alvin, Texas
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Brownie Batter Dip

I’m all about the sweeter side of dips, and this brownie-batter variety fits in with my life’s philosophy: Chocolate makes anything better. Grab some fruit, cookies or salty snacks and start dunking. —Mel Gunnell, Boise, Idaho
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Marinated Olive & Cheese Ring

We love to make meals into celebrations, and antipasto always kicks off the party for Italian dinners. This one is almost too pretty to eat, especially when sprinkled with pimientos, fresh basil and parsley. —Patricia Harmon, Baden, Pennsylvania
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Avocado Goat Cheese Truffles

Avocado Goat Cheese Truffles

Give guests the VIP treatment with luxurious truffles you can make in your own kitchen. The goat cheese is mild, and red pepper heats up each bite just a bit. Crackers are the perfect accompaniment. —Roxanne Chan, Albany, California
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Santa’s Orange-Kissed Cocktail

Refreshing but not overly sweet, this drink is a festive choice for Christmas get-togethers. Serve it during cocktail hour, at dinner or even for brunch in place of mimosas. —Claire Beattie, Toronto, Ontario
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Peppermint Swirl Fudge

Indulge in candy-shop flavor with these rich swirled squares. For Christmasy color, I add crushed peppermint candies and red food coloring. —Suzette Jury, Keene, California
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Santa Deviled Eggs

I love creating special deviled eggs for parties. These little Santas are easier to make than they look, and everyone raves over them. —Crystal Schlueter, Northglenn, Colorado
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Sweet & Salty Snowmen

My son and I made these pretzel snowmen using different candies. They make fun table decorations when set in glasses of coconut “snow.” —Carol Berndt, Avon, South Dakota
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Party Shrimp

The marinade for this dish makes the shrimp so flavorful, you won't even need a dipping sauce. Even those who claim they don’t like shellfish really dig this appetizer. —Kendra Doss, Colorado Springs, Colorado
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Candy Cane Punch

Peppermint ice cream makes this creamy drink taste—and look—more like a dessert than a punch! I've mixed it many times for ladies' lunches and buffets. For a fun garnish, hang mini candy canes around the punch bowl or on cups. —Neva Schnauber, Ft. Collins, Colorado
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Seven-Layer Mediterranean Dip

Seven-Layer Mediterranean Dip

I like traditional seven-layer Mexican dip, but I love Mediterranean ingredients even more. When I made this mashup, my husband wolfed it down. And he won’t even touch hummus or Greek olives on their own! —Bee Engelhart, Bloomfield Township, Michigan
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Holiday White Fruitcake

Years ago, when I attended Koloa Missionary Church in Hawaii, a friend gave me this recipe. Now I whip up at least 60 loaves for the holidays. —Eileen Sokolowski Flatt, Chandler, Arizona
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Coconut Yule Trees

People say they love my coconut macaroon-like Christmas trees because they look so festive. Once decorated, these trees light up a room—just like the real thing. —Michelle Retterer, Marysville, Ohio
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Chocolaty Chips

My two little guys can't get enough of this sweet-and-salty snack, which uses just three ingredients and is ready to eat in 15 minutes. The boys like to drizzle on the melted chocolate, too. Sometimes we replace the potato chips with apple slices. —Jami Geittmann, Greendale, Wisconsin
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Apple-Pecan Baked Brie

As family arrives for a get-together, I make sure this fruity and savory Brie is in the oven so the aromas of cinnamon and apples fill the house. —Alicia Gower, Auburn, New York
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Cranberry-Jalapeno Martini

I describe this cocktail as slightly tart, a little sassy and completely delicious. I make a big batch when I'm hosting a party because it tends to disappear quickly. Garnish with fresh mint and cranberries for an extra-special touch. —Kelli Haetinger, Virginia Beach, Virginia
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Slow-Cooker Spiced Mixed Nuts

Slow-Cooker Spiced Mixed Nuts

What slow cookers do for soups and stews, they’ll do for mixed nuts, too. The scent of spices is delightful, and the nuts are delicious. —Stephanie Loaiza, Layton, Utah
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Holiday Cornflake Cookies

I can't seem to make enough of these cornflake wreaths around the holidays. The cookies firm up quickly, so you'll need to place the Red Hots right away. —Kathleen Hedger, Fairview Heights, Illinois
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Caramel Pretzel Bites

I created this recipe wanting to make my own version of a pretzel log dipped in caramel, chocolate and nuts from a popular candy store. These are smothered with homemade caramel. —Michilene Klaver, Grand Rapids, Michigan
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Melting Snowmen

These sweet, minty snowmen that are sure to melt hearts. Feel free to experiment with different candies for the decorations. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Festive Holiday Sliders

Turkey sliders with ginger, horseradish and cranberry sauce refrigerate well, so I keep them ready for get-togethers when we bake gifts and wrap presents. —Pamela Miller, Big Rapids, Michigan
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Inside-Out Veggie Dip

Kids have fun eating these bite-sized veggie snacks. Change up the seasonings in the dip to fit your family's tastes. —Judie Thurstenson, Colcord, Oklahoma
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Reindeer Brownies

My son, Jeremy, is 36 but acts as if he's 5 when he sees these brownies—I've been making them for more than 30 years! My daughter, Jayme, and my four grandchildren love them, too. If you're short on time, a boxed mix works just fine. —Jeannine Schneider, Fremont, California
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Pesto Twists

Use pesto made straight from your garden if you make these in the summer or purchase it prepared from the grocery store to fill these easy appetizers. —Jaye Beeler, Grand Rapids, Michigan
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Grinch Punch

My family expects to see this frothy green beverage on my buffet each Christmas. It always makes everyone happy. —Janice Hodge, Custer, South Dakota
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Peppermint Candy Cookies

Taking a cue from Star Mints, I created a buttery cookie with a holiday look. This one melts in your mouth faster than its candy cousin. —Gloria McKenzie, Panama City, Florida
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Pomegranate Pistachio Crostini

Pomegranate seeds intrigue me, so I sliced French bread, smeared it with cream cheese, and added seeds, pistachios and chocolate. —Elisabeth Larsen, Pleasant Grove, Utah
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Saltine Toffee Bark

These salty-sweet treasures make delightful gifts, and their flavor is simply irresistible. The bark is like brittle, but better. Get ready for a new family favorite! —Laura Cox, Brewster, Massachusetts
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Sensational Crabmeat Fondue

We entertain a lot, and luxurious crab fondue makes guests feel indulged. —Debbie Obert, Middleburg, Florida
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Bacon Water Chestnut Wraps

The holidays around the house just wouldn't be the same without these classic wraps. Through the years, Christmas Eve guests have proven it's impossible to eat just one. —Laura Mahaffey, Annapolis, Maryland

Ellie Martin Cliffe
Now an executive editor at Taste of Home, Ellie has been writing about food and parenting for more than a decade. When she isn't at TOH HQ, she's likely trying gluten- and dairy-free recipes, canning whatever's in season, listening to anything with a fiddle, or playing Uno with her family.

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