Christmas Potpourri: A Collection of Tips and Treats to Welcome Guests
by Karen Whiting
Get in the Christmas spirit and welcome your holiday house guests with these simple suggestions for food, decorations and hospitality.
MAKE FESTIVE FINGER FOODS
Easy Microwave Christmas Toffee
1 tablespoon butter
12 -16 saltines
½ cup butter
¾ cup brown sugar, packed
12 ounces white or milk chocolate chips
Candy sprinkles or mini candies (or other desired topping such as nuts, coconut, dried cranberries)
1. Grease a 12 x 7-inch baking pan with 1 tablespoon butter.
2. Place saltines in pan, side by side, to cover bottom. If needed, cut crackers to fill space.
3. Put ½ cup butter and ¾ cup brown sugar in microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds.
4. Pour sugar and butter mixture over saltines and spread evenly.
5. Melt chocolate chips (Check package directions. It should be about 30 seconds on high. If not melted, cook on defrost or low an additional 20 seconds at a time until melted).
6. Spread melted chocolate on top of saltine and sugar layers.
7. While chocolate is still melted, sprinkle on candies or desired topping.
8. Let cool and then use spatula to remove from pan and break into pieces.
9. Store in airtight container.
Simple Ranch Dip
Make an easy ranch dip that keeps for weeks, and have veggies or chips on hand to use with it. Mix one container of plain yogurt with an equal amount of mayonnaise. Stir in dry ranch dip or your own mix of dry spices. Whisk it all together and refrigerate. It’s easy to take out and serve for guests.
For more dips (savory and sweet), click here to check out Karen’s videos.
ADD SIMPLE DECORATIONS
Fill spaces that seem too plain with clear bowls filled with colorful balls, pinecones and bows, or garland. It’s a fast way to add a little holiday color. If desired, tape a ribbon or tie a bow around the outside of the bowl.
Create easy decorations that can also serve as package bows. Gather scissors, favorite scraps of giftwrap, and some chenille stems for the following two crafts.
Fold a 6 x 4-inch paper in half the long way.
Cut the ends to round the edges.
Open out and fold in half the other way. Start at the fold and cut into the lower half-oval to the bottom of it.
Open paper. Accordion fold it from top of shape to bottom of the cut oval.
Wrap half a chenille stem around the middle to form body of butterfly. Curl ends to form antenna.
Wrap the other half of chenille stem around a pencil and slide it off. This forms a curly caterpillar shape. Wrap it around the first chenille stem to form a fluffy body and twist ends in back together.
Cut various size paper trees. Accordion fold each one. While paper is folded, punch a hole through the center folds with a small hole punch (or push a needle through center to make a hole). Use a chenille stem to push through hole and spread paper out a bit to form a tree. These can be added to packages or pushed into a Styrofoam base to create a scene of trees. You can also use a toothpick or wooden skewer in place of chenille stem. Check out this video to see how to make the bows and trees.
FILL YOUR HOME WITH HOSPITALITY
Make visitors feel welcome during the Christmas season. Goodwill begins in the heart, so be sure you read the account of the birth of Christ in Luke 1 and Matthew 2. Ask God to fill your heart with love, joy and peace so it will overflow.
Make sure your entry way is clean and festive to welcome guests. Plan where you will put any coats as guests arrive.
Smile before you open the door and greet your guests. Greet each one with a cheerful “Merry Christmas” and a compliment. Have special cards made out ahead to give to each visitor as he or she leaves. Write a note asking for God to bless them this year and in the coming year.
Consider having simple tree ornaments visitors can decorate or add their name with a marker. These can be as simple as craft foam cut in the shape of angels or stars. They can hang it on your tree, and you can keep them to pray over each person in the coming year.
Invite friends for an afternoon or evening Christmas gathering. Serve cookies (or ask friends to bring a small plate of favorite cookies) or cheese and crackers, plus drinks like cider, tea or punch. Share favorite Christmas memories, snap photos, play carols and enjoy your guests.
Set up a spot for taking photos. Choose a place with proper lighting and some colorful background decorations.
If visitors will stay over for Christmas day, be sure to include them in gifts and stockings with a few wrapped presents and a stocking filled with little treasures. Set a little welcome giftbag on their pillows with a note and a few snacks. Let them know where to find things like drinks, snacks and the bathroom.
Have some planned chat prompts. Fill out slips of paper with ideas such as funniest Christmas memory, favorite carol, most treasured part of the Christmas story, or what intangible gift you’d love to get. Let guest draw a topic for all to share.
Share a short Advent reading and then share favorite Scriptures and traditions.
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