Menu for A Holiday Open House

A quick snapshot of one of the dessert trays
A quick snapshot of one of the dessert trays

The food at our first Christmas Open House today was simple: baked goods and a few savoury bites that our guests could eat without plates or cutlery. There was coffee, red and white wine and mulled cider on tap. The focus of the event was on sharing the spirit of the holiday with friends, family and colleagues. Big thanks to Jenn and Mere for helping out, and to the Little and Littler Misses for being charmingly entertaining, even if they kept us all on our toes!

Just over 40 people came and went between one and five o’clock, and it was such a pleasure to hear the buzz of conversation and laughter as people visited with friends and made new ones. My mother, aunt and uncle came from back home and it was lovely to see them enjoy meeting people from our circle of acquaintance here in London.

I wanted to quickly share some photos of what we served. I started baking two weeks ago, so the work was spread out. I froze some cookies baked, some were refrigerated (depending on timing) and some doughs were shaped and frozen raw, to be baked this morning. I’ll be sharing recipes in the posts to come, but here is a list of what I made, with links to recipes I’ve found on other sites or that I’ve already blogged about.

Sweet Offerings

Fruitcake Bathed in Rum

Ginger Snaps


Cranberry White Chocolate Chunk Cookies*

Nell’s Sugar Cookies*

(*from the beautiful blog, Just a Smidgen)

Pecan Snowballs

Elfin Brownies with White Chocolate Buttercream

Glazed Nut Diamonds

Butter Horns

Cherry Coconut Bars

Leuken (a Belgian treat made by my mother)

Chocolate Peanut Mounds

Savoury Bites

Spiced Party Nuts

Rosemary Mixed Nuts

Gougères (French Cheese Puffs)

Peperonata Crostini

Old White Cheddar & Crackers with Sweet Horseradish Jam

We had a wonderful time today, and are already talking about next year’s open house. Is there anything I would do differently? Well, I would definitely have more savoury offerings. More and more people are cutting back on sweets these days, and we were out of all the savoury bites by the end of the party, which tells me that had there been more they would have been eaten! I was also surprised that only one person had coffee (so much for the 36-cup urn I rented) so next year I’ll definitely be brewing in my own pot.

What else did I learn? Today was a good reminder of how many good friends we have, both old and new, and the tremendous pleasure to be had in gathering together people for a time of mingling and conviviality, especially during the holiday season.

From my kitchen to yours, best wishes for the happiest of holidays.



  1. Such a nice, varied menu you put together for your guests, Mar, just perfect for an open house. Your organization obviously paid off. You look fantastic standing next to your tree. I am not at all organized and the last thing you’ll ever see is a photo of myself taken on the day of a party here. 🙂
    Here’s wishing you and yours wonderful holidays!

    • Thank you, John! The photo was taken after the party when it was only us and dirty dishes left! Definitely no time to pose in the time leading up to the event!

      Wishing you and your Zia a wonderful Christmas too.

    • I’ve wanted to have a Christmas open house for years and years, and I’m so glad I finally did it! Everyone seemed to have a good time. The buzz in here was great!

  2. You did an incredible amount of baking and everything looks delicious. I’m sure everyone had a wonderful time…it sounds like fun. I’ve found that no one drinks coffee at our parties as well. Also savory seems to be more popular than sweets. And last, no matter how much I cut down on the amounts I prepare, I always make too much food. Merry Christmas!

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