Easy Holiday Party Ideas

A holiday open house is the perfect way to reconnect with friends and neighbors—and treat them to a happy feast of food and fun.

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Make-Ahead Crowd Pleasers

Photograph by Mark Lund

Make-Ahead Crowd Pleasers

Creamy Baked Broccoli Rice
Cheesy and warm on the inside, crunchy on top: this casserole is comfort food at its finest. Brown rice gives it a nutty flavor and ups the nutrition factor.

Get the Recipe Here

Sweet-Potato Slider Biscuits
Bake up a batch of tender, flaky biscuits and watch them play a starring role at the party. Sliced across, they're the perfect delivery system for pulled pork. (Our fave version: Boston butt slow-cooked with a bottle each of root beer and barbecue sauce.)

Get the Recipe Here

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Make-Ahead Crowd Pleasers

Photograph by Mark Lund

Make-Ahead Crowd Pleasers

Sausage-and-Cheese Bites
A classic party appetizer, often made with biscuit mix, gets a homespun makeover in our recipe. Tip: Serve them with pepper jelly for dipping—and make a lot. Nobody eats just one!

Get the Recipe Here

Sweet and Spicy Pecans
This version of a down south nibble cools the heat just a bit for extra kid appeal.

Get the Recipe Here

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Jewel Box Jigglers

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Make-Ahead Crowd Pleasers

Photograph by Mark Lund

Make-Ahead Crowd Pleasers

Texas Sheet Cake
This beloved staple of Lone Star State holiday parties and church socials is unbelievably moist and chocolatey. It bakes up easily in a big sheet pan (hence the name!) and disappears fast. Here, we've sprinkled it with crushed peppermint candy, but we also adore the traditional topping of crunchy toasted pecans.

Get the Recipe Here

Jewel Box Jigglers
As bright and sparkly as Christmas itself, make-ahead gelatin-and-condensed-milk squares will inspire oohs, aahs, and yums. The process of making them is fascinating, so be sure to recruit a bunch of young elves to help out.

Get the Recipe Here

Fruit Trees
It's simple to prep a forest of these tiny tannenbaums from kiwis, pomegranate seeds, mangoes, and maraschino cherries. The result is a fresh and lovely treat and a lighter option for dessert lovers.

Get the Recipe Here

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Keep the Elves Busy

Photograph by Mark Lund

Keep the Elves Busy

Snowman Game & Guest Board
Get guests into the spirit by setting up this multitasking game board in a prominent spot. For the game, attach poster board circles to a presentation board with glue, cut two holes as shown (ours measure 5 1/2 and 8 1/2 inches across), then add details with paper. Have guests test their skill at throwing Styrofoam snowballs through the holes. For the guest board, invite visitors to make paper snowflakes, then tape them to the board and use a marker to sign their work.

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Keep the Elves Busy

Photograph by Mark Lund

Keep the Elves Busy

Bells-&-Beads Bracelets
Here's a no-mess craft that'll have kids of all ages ringing in the holiday. Simply set out pipe cleaners (try the really fluffy kind!), pony beads, and jingle bells. Crafters can slide the bells and beads in place, then twist the pipe cleaner into a circle to fit. Adults can trim any excess pipe cleaner as needed (nail clippers are perfect for this job).

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Send Guests Home with a Tidy Gift

Photograph by Mark Lund

Send Guests Home with a Tidy Gift

Dandy Hand Wash Favors
Send revelers on their way with this jolly useful little gift. Start by wrapping hand soap bottles with white felt, cut to have about an inch of overlap in the back. Adhere the two edges together with a line of fabric glue. Use more felt and glue to add the faces, buttons, and fringed scarves. Display the gifts with a card stock sign that reads "We wash you a Merry Christmas!"