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Since I have family near and far to see at Christmas time, I spend time with one daughter's family on Christmas Eve and the other with her family family during the week before the New Year.

My mom always made a big beautiful dinner and everyone has so much going on at the time, so I make a snack buffet table for the gatherings and celebrations at my house.

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Setting up a Christmas snack table is very simple and helps keep my stress level down. I can make all of it ahead of time and just set the table up later. I don't get fancy with the table decorations, but do include a pretty tablecloth and festiv holiday paper plates and napkins.

Holiday buffet recipes and snack table tips

It's now a tradition that everyone looks forward to because it's easy and provides delicious snacks all day long. The best part is that by using paper plates, there are no dishes or pots and pans to wash!

The only clean up involved is putting away any leftovers, that is, if there is any!

Here are a few tips to plan your own snack buffet. When you have time, take out a piece of paper and start writing down some possibilities. Write down any recipes that come to mind as you read the following:

Holiday Snack Table Serving Ideas

~ Trays of things to dip are always popular. I like to put out a veggie platter with ranch dip (I use the packet of Uncle Dans brand found in the grocery store to make the dip) and an assortment of crackers with my popular recipe clam dip.

~ A tray of sandwich makings. I load a tray with deli meats and cheeses, and other sandwich makings such as onion, tomato, pickles, mayonnaise, and mustard. You might try a tray of club sandwich makings or Reuben sandwich makings. You can also experiment with different breads such as party rye or sourdough.

~ Cookies and Candies. Each year I make two or three of our family's favorite recipes which are included below. What's your family's favorite cookie and candy recipes?

~ Beverages. The Irish Cream recipe below served over ice is wonderful and a special treat. We also buy soda pop and beer and this seems to make everyone happy. You might have a favorite punch, eggnog or hot buttered rum recipe you'd like to serve.

~ Crunchy things. I always have the Chex mix out.

Don't forget that you can have family members or other guests contribute! This will give you more variety and less work! Just tell them to bring a snack type item.

Favorite Recipes

Clam Dip

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (6-ounce) can minced clams, save juice
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
salt to taste

Combine cream cheese and clams. Stir in just enough clam juice to make a nice consistency for dipping. Add remaining ingredients and thoroughly combine. Serve or cover and chill. Serve with crackers or chips.

Toffee Treats

1/4 Box Saltine Crackers
1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Butter or Margarine
1 large bag Chocolate Chips
Chopped Walnuts-Opt.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover a large cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Grease with butter. Cover with saltine crackers.

Bring 1 cup sugar and 1 cup butter to a boil & continue to boil for 2 1/2 minutes. Pour over crackers & spread fast. Bake 5-7 minutes.

Spread a large bag of chocolate chips over, like icing. Top with chopped walnuts if desired.

Home Made Irish Cream

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk

1 2/3 c. Whiskey

1 tsp. instant coffee

2 Tbsp. chocolate syrup

1 tsp Vanilla

Put all the ingredients in a blender and mix on high for 30 seconds. Refrigerate. Shake well before serving over ice.

Should keep for at least 2 months in the refrigerator.

Peanut Butter Bon Bons

1 - 1 Lb powdered sugar
1 C butter
1 C peanut butter
Chocolate Chips or Chocolate Almond Bark

Mix all ingredients except chocolate. Shape into round balls. Chill. Insert toothpick & dip into melted chocolate. Chill until set.

I know the recipes aren't for the health conscious, but it's only once a year. Here's to hoping you have an easy does it Christmas celebration this year.

Copyright ©, 2003, Monica Resinger - used with permission

ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Monica Resinger publishes an e-mail newsletter Mon-Fri for homemakers that poses fun questions to readers about organizing, crafting, gardening, frugal living and other homemaking subjects; readers can respond to the questions and receive the resulting, very informative 'tip sheet'. If you'd like to join the fun, send a blank e-mail to: to subscribe.

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