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  • Writer's picturedeborahreinhardt

8 Tree-Trimming Party Recipes

Decking the halls is less work when family and friends help. These soups, appetizers, and cookies will keep your holiday helpers happy.

trimmed Christmas tree on gold background

Many of us are preparing our homes for the winter holidays, and while the end results are gorgeous, let’s face facts—it can be a lot of work. I remember members of my family pitching in to deck our halls, creating a wonderful experience I still carry with me from year to year. Dad’s job was lugging all the boxes out of the attic after Mom and Grandma cleaned the house from top to bottom. Christmas records played on the stereo while we unpacked the tree, ornaments, and other familiar decorations.

I wonder if many households today see holiday prep as more of a necessary nuisance rather than a memory-making moment? With packed schedules and endless demands on their time, trimming a Christmas tree or putting out decorations for Hanukkah or Kwanza is just one more big item on the to-do list.

This year, why not make decking your halls an event? With a few simple recipes, some holiday music, and maybe an activity (like watching a classic movie, playing a board game, or doing a puzzle) everybody can enjoy amid the beautiful decorations, you can create lasting memories for your family and friends; you might even start a new tradition!

Warming bowls: Sweet Potato and Jalapeno Chowder

There’s nothing like wrapping your hands around a warm mug of soup in December. Nourishing and comforting, soups, chowders, or stews are an easy meal when paired with bread, butter, and maybe a salad or some fresh fruit. And the pot of yumminess can be bubbling on the stove as you put up the decorations.

The great thing about Sweet Potato and Jalapeno Chowder (courtesy is you could use any leftover roasted sweet potatoes from Thanksgiving in this recipe. And for vegetarian or vegan family members, this recipe is something they can enjoy with you. Serve with warmed flour tortillas or chips and salsa. Download the recipe below! Here are other recipes for your Warming Bowls party menu.

Apps in a snap: Roasted Garlic Whipped Feta Crostini

Plates of great appetizers paired with a holiday cocktail or a bottle of bubbly is a party just waiting to happen! Prepare Roasted Garlic Whipped Feta Crostini in advance and have this colorful platter waiting when the family gathers. The pomegranate seeds are a perfect garnish to this holiday bite.

Want more appetizers to fill out your menu?

Cocktail wieners are wrapped in flaky dough with my Pull-Apart Piggies. St. Louis Beer and Provel Cheese Dip is best friends with warm pretzel bites. And who doesn’t love a dip in a bread bowl? Spinach and Ham Dip is a nice switch from the familiar dill dip often served with round rye bread.

Holiday cookie tray: Coconut Snowball Cookies

For a cozy night at home, holiday cookies with a hot chocolate bar are perfect to enjoy while decorating. Coconut Snowball Cookies are crunchy on the outside and soft inside, and the flaked coconut garnish is a winter wonderland in a bite.

More cookies to round out your platter

Everyone loves variety, and Snickerdoodles will please any cookie monster. Beautifully uncomplicated, these would be perfect complements to the Coconut Snowball Cookies; they also freeze well if there are any left after your halls are decked. Gooey Butter Cookies are ready in no time thanks to the brilliant box cake mix short cut.

Preparing your home for the holidays can be a joyful part of the season. I hope these menu ideas will inspire you to savor the simple pleasures: family, friends, food and festive fun.


About the blog

Three Women in the Kitchen is an award-winning food blog offering today’s home cooks comforting, hearty recipes with a personal touch. The website also pays tribute to Deborah’s mother, Katie Reinhardt, and paternal grandmother, Dorothy Reinhardt (the “three women” in the kitchen). Whether you’re an experienced or a novice cook, you’ll find inspiration here to feed your families and warm your heart. Subscribe today so you won’t miss a single delicious detail.

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