Hosting an open house is a wonderful way to entertain during the holidays. Guests can come and go as their schedules allow, hosts can relax and enjoy the celebration, and the whole thing can be planned in a matter of days. With festive appetizers, desserts and drinks taking centre stage, we have a delectable selection of recipes and in-store choices that save you time and stress. Here’s how to bring the flavour to your fête.
Make sure your party adds up
Follow these guidelines to make sure guests have a chance to enjoy everything you’ve prepared.
- Expecting 30 or fewer guests? For variety, most pro caterers suggest that you plan to serve four to five different appetizers. If you’ll be hosting more than 30 guests, plan to serve up to nine different appetizers.
- To make sure everyone leaves satisfied, offer 10 to 14 appetizer servings per guest at open houses taking place during dinner (or around 5 to 8 p.m.).
Celebrate with simple snacks
Serve a variety of easy-to-grab hors d’oeuvres and mix homemade appetizers with store-bought ones.
- Chips and dips are open-house mainstays. Scoop up our hummus-inspired Zesty White Bean Dip with crisp Crunchy Pita Chips. Keep the crunch going with a tray of colourful fresh veggies.
- Charcuterie and cheeseboards are an easy way to feed a crowd, and we can help you assemble the perfect platter from our in-store Olive Boutique, which includes selections of premium olives and antipasti. Add a homemade touch to your platter with Marinated Roasted Red Peppers & Goat Cheese on Baguette.
- From elegant and festive to chic comfort food, hot hors d’oeuvres satisfy all appetites. Save time with Sensations by Appetizers. We have something for every taste—simply heat and serve! If you want to make your own, try our hearty Ham & Smoked Gouda Croquettes or buttery Blue Cheese & Prosciutto Palmiers.
- To feed fussy crowds easily, we love a self-serve sandwich station. Set out platters of cold cuts, smoked salmon and roasted veggies, and let guests help themselves. Dress up your table with a basket filled with freshly sliced artisan breads, croissants or mini pretzel buns from our bakery department.
- Give your table a fun retro look by using small Mason jars to serve condiments and extra toppings such as balsamic vinegar, olives and jams.
Keep the drinks flowing
A well-curated selection of drinks with seasonal garnishes will delight guests.
- You don’t need a fully stocked bar to keep guests happy. Keep it simple by offering beer, and red and white wine, as well as non-alcoholic choices like sparkling water, juice, Italian-style sodas, coffee and tea. Set out chilled berries, fresh herbs and citrus slices for fun, festive garnishes.
- Give guests a warm welcome with a mug of Orange Spice Mulled Apple Cider or Classic Cocoa with Marshmallows. Leave a pot simmering on the stove (or in a slow cooker) and let the inviting aroma drift through the house.
- A signature cocktail is a memorable touch — and far easier than mixing drinks for each guest. A festive red hue and fruity tones make our Pomegranate & Clementine Negroni especially enticing, while our Coconut-Rum Eggnog is an indulgent sipper with tropical flair.
Indulge with easy desserts
For a party that ends on a (sugar) high note, a well-stocked sweets table is a festive must.
- Bite-sized treats like Marzipan Stuffed Dates and Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Truffles are elegant and easy to eat while guests socialize.
- For more casual desserts, our Apple-Pecan & Cinnamon Pull-Apart Loaf will keep guests coming back to pull off just one more piece, and kids of all ages will flock to Candy Cane Chocolate Whoopie Pies.
- From buttery fudge to spun toffee, our Sensations by Compliments Confectionary selection is a fuss-free solution for time-strapped hosts. And try our Belgian Biscuit Collections, the perfect accompaniment to coffee and tea.
- Encourage guests to help themselves to mini candy canes, chocolate candies, red and green jelly beans, and an assortment of gumdrops. Set out in beautiful bowls, the tempting treats can double as table decorations.
Prep ahead of time
A little advance preparation means you’ll have that much more time to enjoy with your guests.
- Choose a few recipes that can be made in advance. For others, prep ingredients in the days leading up to your party and assemble the morning of.
- Start cleaning the house at least a week before your celebration.
- A few days before your party, buy or bring out all party must-haves like napkins, plates, cutlery and glasses.
- Two days before, set up the party area and finish decorating. Move furniture as needed, finish cleaning the house and make room for guests’ shoes and coats.
- The night before, make drinks in batches and store them in pitchers in the fridge.