When it comes to sustaining one's energy for Christmas merrymaking, it's all about the snacks. A lot of people think it's the Christmas cookies, but we bet Santa's secretly fueling up on festive crudités to get through his night of global sleigh-travel.
Around the holidays there's often so much to do — from gift-wrapping and giving to festive entertainment and gathering with family and friends — planning out meals ahead of time is key. Sure, maybe you've nailed down the menu for Christmas dinner or brunch earlier that day, but make sure to remember the snacks. Whether you're having folks at the house all day, need a delicious morsel to bring as a hostess gift or throwing a big bash, it's important to prepare little plates to keep everyone tied over.
Opt for an elegant but easy platter of deviled eggs or a mezze platter with briny feta and fresh herbs. Want something more fun and cozy? How about pigs in a blanket but with an everything bagel twist? Or perhaps some healthy and satisfying zucchini fritters that taste just as good at room temperature as they do hot and fresh. Choose salty or sweet reindeer cookies, peppermint bark or Christmas trail mix.
Just like Santa feeds his reindeer, just be sure to feed the guests to keep them from getting hangry during the big day (but make sure they save room for Christmas dinner!).
"After making your own glazed nuts, you will never be satisfied with the store-bought variety again. Preparing them yourself allows you to control the levels of sugar and spice, choose the nuts that you like, and leave out the ones that you hate. Also, there's nothing like eating glazed nuts still warm from the oven, toasty and flavorful through and through," says Bobby Flay.
"This dip is downright addictive — you just cannot stop eating it! I have never taken it to a party without at least three people requesting the recipe," Elizabeth Heiskell says about her go-to holiday dip.
Greek yogurt is an amazing base for a heavier store-bought spinach dip because it's so healthy, but it doesn't taste so healthy. It's satisfying and rich, full of great probiotics and it has a luscious mouthfeel. Fresh herbs, garlic and lemon make it really come alive.
This is a great recipe for family snacks any time of year but is especially fun for the holidays to counter the abundance of sweet snacks. The cranberry mustard is also great served with roasted turkey or pork and added to turkey sandwiches.
Beet hummus is a great snack for adults, babies and kids of all ages. Filled with wholesome ingredients and a nutrient-rich veggie, this bright and merry dip will add a little nourishment between lavish meals for everyone.
Craving something crispy coated in Buffalo sauce, but don't want wings? This is your recipe. It can be easily made vegan and really hits the spot when you're curled up watching a Christmas movie.
These zucchini fritters are the perfect finger-food snack. They're super easy to make with few ingredients and the perfect way to use up any extra zucchini. They're delicious warm and also served at room temperature, which makes them great to sit out on the counter while people graze at their own pace.
This is perfect served warm or it can be made up to eight hours in advance and just stored lightly covered at room temperature. They're a nice elegant snack that's simple enough to prep if you're entertaining all day.
"The holidays are the most festive time of year!" says Al Roker. "I love to make and gift these nuts because they are full of bold flavor but also a healthier alternative to the sugary cookies and other indulgent treats of the season."
Kimchi is one of the cornerstones of Korean cooking, and Koreans consider it vital to their daily diet. It can be made far in advance and is delicious on its own and on top of a variety of snacks and meals, like lettuce wraps, mini-tacos and more.
Eating with your hands is always more fun! These lettuce wraps are so easy to make but still have a fancy feel to them. They make a solid snack, especially when you're gearing up for a big pasta dinner or Christmas roast.
When a craving for something like popcorn chicken strikes, instead of opting for takeout, whip up a quick batch of these vegetarian-friendly poppers made with cauliflower. Tossed in warm, flavorful spices, these bite-sized florets are irresistible when they come sizzling out of the oven in between meals.
Searching for a fabulous guacamole dip to accompany some fresh veggies, tortilla chips or toast at snack time? Look no further — this one really shines. Plus, in addition to repping the Mexican flag with its color scheme, it'll also match the red-and-green decor.
Deviled eggs are a classic snack for any festive gathering. This recipe is extra special because it adds a a tad of vinegar for punch and some curry powder for warmth. Make this your go-to when you need to bring something to a gathering but are short on time.
Slice feta and sprinkle it with thyme, fennel, crushed red pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. The flavor is much clean and bright. Serve it with toasted pita triangles or on a Greek mezze platter with hummus, olives and stuffed grape leaves for some elevated but light snacking.
Make a veggie-packed dish that is light, fresh and robust in flavor. The sweet and spicy pickled vegetables go along perfectly with this herby and briny feta dip that is a unique, addictive snack that satiates a craving for something salty and cheesy.
Forget the popcorn tin this year. This garam masala-infused olive oil will bring earthy, savory flavors to any plain popcorn. Drizzle it on top of those freshly popped kernels with a sprinkle of nutritional yeast and you’ve got an incredible vegan snack for Christmas.
Roughly bashed salted pretzels and toasted hazelnuts are stirred into melted chocolate, then decorated with crushed, freeze-dried red strawberries and green pistachios for festive color and flavor to complete this delicious treat.
"When the holidays come around, I always crave these hand pies, which are packed with a sweet cherry and goat cheese filling and topped off with a savory salt-pepper-sugar coating," says Will Coleman of these conveniently sized, snackable pies.
The addition of the moose tracks mix-ins adds to the festive look of these protein bites. This is a a great snack to take with you on winter activities like skiing, skating or sledding or just hanging out with the family. They will hold for several days in the refrigerator.
Whip up an easy batch of our own Hoda Kotb's reindeer truffles. They're salty, sweet and absolutely adorable for Christmas snacking.
This sweet treat is reminscient of baklava or strudel but with its own personality. The chocolate-hazelnut dip really brings it all together.
It's that time of year — time for to keep the freezer stocked with Christmas mix so there's a little somethin' somethin' on hand when your sweet tooth strikes.
Not overly sweet with the perfect nutty and buttery texture, these universally beloved cookies are named after the Spanish word, "dust," as in a dusting of sugar ... or snow! Also known as Mexican Wedding Cookies or Russian Tea Cakes, polvorones are a perfect sweet snack to keep around between meals on Christmas.
This colorful bark is bursting with chocolate and mint flavors. It is also quick and easy to put together and makes a great holiday gift.
Hoda is obsessed with these warm stuffed dates from Samah Dada. When dates are heated up they get a delicious caramel flavor that’s balanced perfectly by any kind of nut butter. Add a little salt and, if you want, chocolate, and you've got yourself an afternoon treat that's deceptively good for you.
This adorable snack can be decorated with Christmasy sprinkles but features bananas at the center. It's a wonderfully kid-friendly "sushi" snack that's a good alternative to cookies or cake.
Even though it has plenty of zucchini, this bread doesn't taste like veggies at all. In fact, the water from the vegetable just makes this cake incredibly moist. The sweet apple sauce, warm cinnamon spice and dark chocolate chips give it a lightly sweet and wonderful flavor.