Glazed ham and roasted turkey are two of the most popular dishes for holiday feasts. Put a light spin on these classics by serving them as sliders. Here, a glazed ham is sliced, then served on warm, cheesy biscuits. A few small dollops of cranberry compote allow guests to easily dip the sliders.
Once you've curated your cheeses, it's important to choose versatile accompaniments. Consider a mix of salted and unsalted crackers, as well as shortbreads and baguettes. Dips like honey and raspberry compote are commonly used to counterbalance sweetness or saltiness. For a more polished look, present dips in white ramekins layered on top of wood cutting boards.
To create a stylish centerpiece, fill a compote with water and whole limes, and tuck flowers – stripped of most stems – in amongst the limes. Pinecones, ornaments or fresh, colorful vegetables like artichokes and radishes also serve as sturdy anchors for blooms. In addition to candle-filled votives set casually on the table, succulents placed in water-filled votive cups make charming tabletop decorations.
By grouping together cheeses with distinctly different tastes (aged, soft, hard or blue), then mixing them with sweet and savory food pairings, a cheese plate can be the standout appetizer of a social occasion. Suggested ingredients: 1/4 pound manchego cheese; 1/4 pound fontina cheese; 1/4 pound goat cheese; 1/4 pound blue cheese; 1/2 pound figs; 1/4 pound prosciutto, thinly sliced; salted crackers; unsalted crackers; olives; herbs; black pepper; one bunch red grapes; one bunch green grapes; baguette; honey; raspberry compote.
A selection of exquisitely wrapped gifts are perfect for pop-over guests and for sprinkling around the house for touches of holiday spirit. "Welcome guests with a porcelain compote filled with tiny boxes of chocolate wrapped in colorful, patterned paper from a stationary store," home stylist Matthew Mead says. For kids, "cards, puzzles and mini games can be wrapped and trimmed with candies." He suggests keeping other little pre-wrapped surprises, such as books and gift cards, on hand as well. Photo courtesy of Matthew Mead.