Are you hosting a home party this Thanksgiving or Christmas? Here are 8 tips on how to set up an easy, quick no-cook snacking station this holiday season.
This post has been sponsored by Tyson Foods, Inc. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
If you are looking for effortless ways to wow your guests for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year’s Eve, I have 8 tips to set up an easy snacking station this holiday season.
Snacking stations are also known as grazing tables or a good old-fashioned appetizer tables.
There are many benefits of having a snacking station at your next party.
For starters, it’s easy and quick to set up and clean up, requires no cooking or baking, and it’s a crowd pleaser.
Your guests will think a lot of work and effort went into it when in reality, it was super easy!
Especially if you choose premium quality products like the Hillshire® Snacking Genoa Salame and Prosciutto Social Platters, which are chef-curated snack spreads made with unique flavor combinations.
Besides Genoa Salame and Prosciutto, the Hillshire® Snacking Social Platter comes with dark chocolate, white cheddar cheese, and crunchy garlic and herb toasted rounds.
To say it’s delicious is an understatement. In fact, I buy the Hillshire® Snacking Social Platters for any type of party.
Its flip-and-serve tray is so convenient. It makes preparation so quick and easy; I can have snacks ready for surprise guests or events in less than 10 minutes.
Add a little fruit and vegetables, and you have yourself a snacking platter that no one will believe already came pre-assembled. For more information, and other fun Hillshire® holiday ideas, check out this brand page!
You can find the Hillshire® Snacking Social Platters in the Meat and Seafood section of your nearest Safeway.
I’ve mentioned before how I love to shop at Safeway for my groceries because not only do they offer premium quality products, I also love the convenience to shop online on their app.
As a busy mom, I usually opt for grocery store pickup or home delivery. It’s so easy!
If you have not tried the app yet, you should, Safeway offers $20 off your first order!
8 Tips on How to Set Up an Easy Snacking Station This Holiday Season
1. Plan your holiday gathering
Here are some questions to ask to best prepare for your holiday gathering.
- How many guests will you host?
- Are they family and friends, acquaintances, or business partners?
- Will there be children in your party?
- Do they have any food allergies?
- Will you serve dinner in addition to a snacking station?
- How about drinks? Will you be paring cheeses with wines?
2. Location, location, location
Once you’ve narrowed down the basics for your holiday gathering, decide where to place the snacking station.
If your guests are family and friends, you might set up the snacking station near your kitchen, the TV, or any informal area of your house that guests naturally congregate.
If your guests are acquaintances and you are serving a sit down dinner besides the snacking station, you might want to have it set up by the dining area, preferably away from your kitchen so that you have space to move around the oven, sink, and fridge.
3. Start with a festive table runner
I like to customize holiday gatherings by choosing a festive table runner. You can skip the runner if the table you chose for the snacking station is made of interesting material or if you plan to add a backdrop, florals or other decoration details that are holiday appropriate.
For a simple snacking station, a table runner and a couple decoration items are plenty. You want the food to be the center of attention, not the decor—which will also help you keep the cleanup to a minimum.
4. Decide which serving plates to use
A variety of serving plates creates interest and help set up the mood for your holiday gathering. Wood makes it rustic. Glass, ceramic, and marble make it more formal. There are no rules on how you serve the food, so have fun and let your personality shine!
I am usually a minimal and practical hostess, so convenience and easy cleanup are big factors for me.
That is why I love the Hillshire® Snacking Social Platters. They are so easy to set up! The flip-and-serve tray keeps me from having to wash dishes or buy more serving platters—win, win!
5. Pick a variety of finger foods and keep it bite sized
Snacking stations work best with bite-sized finger foods that guests can eat without a fuss and also try a variety of flavors.
So, here are some tips on how to choose the best foods for your snacking table.
- Choose foods that have minimal preparation and hold up well at room temperature: cheeses, charcuteries, crudités, fruit, and nuts.
- Include a surprise item to keep things interesting, like something your guest would usually eat as a dessert. For this snacking station, I purchased these decadent brownies from Safeway to add to the dark chocolate bites that come with the Hillshire® Snacking Platters.
- Cut the vegetables in different patterns (rounds, sticks, diagonals) to add interest.
- Repeat items across the table to create cohesiveness, and pay attention to food colors and textures to create variety.
- Don’t overdo it on the snacking table if you are serving dinner. You want guests to feel welcomed, but you also want them to enjoy the main course and dessert.
6. Remember serving essentials
For a practical, minimal-mess snacking station, choose foods that are bite-sized and can be eaten by hand.
However, if you have something that requires utensils or servingware, try to go for disposables if possible.
There are many classy options available nowadays, and Safeway has a great variety of party supplies—like these mini forks.
I like to set up utensils in dried grains or include something more holiday appropriate, like fresh cranberries.
I also like to provide mini plates as it reduces the amount of times a guest might have to break up from a conversation to go up to the snacking station for more food.
One last tip on serving essentials: provide plenty of napkins. It’s awful to not have something to clean your hands and mouth with while attending a party.
7. Add small touches of whimsy
Cute signs for the food boards, a welcome sign or a touch of holiday decoration. Those are little touches that make guests think you put way more effort than you actually did into setting up your snacking station.
These cute cheese boards signs I used for this snacking station were purchased from Safeway in their specialty cheese section. I couldn’t pass them up. They looked so unique!
8. Don’t forget the trash can
Before the party, empty your recycling bin and trash cans. If possible, place trash cans where guests can easily access them.
If you have hidden trash cans, include a sign where the guests can throw away their plates, napkins, and leftovers. It’s much easier than having to pick up after them.
I hope you enjoyed my 8 tips on how to set up an easy snacking station this holiday season!
If you have any additional ones, please leave them in the comments below as I would love to learn it.