Plant-Based Party Planning Guide
Are you hosting (or attending) a Christmas or New Year’s Eve Party? We’ve already been to one Christmas Party this year and will likely attend others. For years we hosted a large Christmas party and would usually have around 70 people squeezed into our house for a few hours. It was a lot of work and a lot of fun. After our babies were born we took a break from hosting such large events. I’m hoping we can return to them in a few years when our kids need a little less supervision.
If you are attending a party you have it pretty easy, you can just bring a dish to share and be done. If you are like me, you want your dish to be a show stopper and as allergy-friendly as possible. The list below will give you some ideas.
If you are hosting a party I’ve found an Open-House Style Dessert and Appetizer/Hors d’oeuvre Party to be the easiest and most fun to host. If you are hosting a Dinner I highly recommend you check out my Thanksgiving Dinner Meal Plan! It work’s great for Christmas as well and you can still add a few of the ideas below.
The great thing about a Dessert and Appetizer/Hors d’oeuvre Party is that you can ask everyone to bring a treat to share to cut down on work. We never specified what people should bring and ended up with a great assortment every year.
My guests were welcome, but not required, to bring a treat. As I made my preparations I would plan enough treats to feed everyone, even if no one brought a dish. I would only plan foods that could be left room temperature for a few hours, unless you are using a crock-pot. I also liked to have a good mix of sweet and savory foods to choose from.
- Gluten-Free Brownies
- Fresh Fruit Parfaits (make them in small “shot glass sized” cups and keep extras refrigerated until needed)
- Cupcakes with crushed candy canes on top
- Chocolate Mousse with fresh fruit (I recommend you nest the chocolate mousse bowl in a bigger bowl filled with ice)
- Cookies, lots and lots of cookies! I would make dozens of sugar cookies, chocolate chips cookies, no-bakes, and peanut butter.
- Chocolate Covered Pretzels. Glutino makes great GF pretzels, just pick a great dairy-free chocolate to melt.
- Peppermint Black Bean Brownies
- Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake or Cupcakes
- A Nacho Bar featuring Chips, Salsa, Guacamole, Faux Cheeze Sauce (in crock-pot), and maybe Quinoa-Lentil Taco Meat
- Hummus and Veggies
- Savory CHICKpea Salad with Crackers or on mini-sandwiches, you can add spicy pepper and tomatoes for a spicier dish
- Spring Rolls
- Tortilla Rollups, use vegan cream cheese and finely chopped veggies
- Baked Potato Wedges with assorted dipping sauce
- Stuffed Mushrooms or Stuffed Shells
- Trail Mix
Many people will be holding a plate with one hand and eating with the other. I try to stick to foods that can be eaten without utensils when possible.
- Water and Fruit Infused Water
- Sparkling Water with Lime Wedges, Cucumbers or other fruit
- Coffee (chose decaf if you are making a lot at once and choose flavored creamers) Check out Sarah’s ebook The Natural Barista for some great ideas.
- Punch or lemonade
- Hot Chocolate or Hot Apple Cider with fun additions like candy canes, cinnamon sticks, etc.
I recommend setting up a Drink Station so most of the spills are confined to one area, hopefully near the sink. I buy small cups because many will be filled to the top then forgotten completely. Placing a few makers near the Drink Station will help. I also strategically place a few dish towels and a roll of paper towels to handle spills. Hot Chocolate or Apple Cider can be kept warm in a crock pot but you will need cups appropriate for hot beverages.
- Turn your thermostat a few degrees cooler than normal, the extra body heat will warm things up.
- Set up name tags near the front door and ask everyone to wear one. This will cut down on awkward moments when you forget your neighbors name.
- Have your spouse, older child or close friend check the restroom periodically for spills, low supplies or anything else that needs attention.
- Let your guest know if children are welcome at the party. If so, try to have a special seating/eating area for them. Many will need to sit down to eat. Put away any fragile items that may be intriguing to little fingers.
- If your dining table is used as a serving table remove the chairs and move them to another area. We forgot one year and lots of people sat (and sat their kids) at the serving table and no one else could get to the food, and the kids helped themselves. You could also use the table for dining and chose another area for serving.
- Move furniture around to create plenty of sitting and standing room.
- Turn OFF the TV if it is in the main area. If you play music make sure it is low enough that no one has to compete with it to talk.
- Have food refills available to grab easily. For example, I would have cookies on a plate wrapped up but ready to go and one veggie tray assembled with veggie refills in individual containers.
- Have extra tongs or serving utensils handy.
- If serving allergy-friendly treats label them and consider placing them away from foods that could cross-contaminate them.
Do you have a recipe or tip to share? Finish this sentence, It’s not a party without ____________!