The Nation’s annual guide to tasty holiday entertaining

By Amy German

As Eeyou Istchee is blanketed by the first snowfalls of the season, so too comes the time of year to bask in the lovely glow of the Christmas tree with loved ones – old and young – while enjoying some delectable seasonal delicacies.

Whether you are looking to make some festive treats to enjoy while watching holiday specials with the little ones, fun little nibbles for everyone at a holiday gathering, sensations to sip or a dish to beef up your holiday fare, the Nation once again is happy to present our holiday entertaining guide.

Meaty Morsels

If you want a surefire hit for your holiday party that will quickly disappear, try the following cocktail meatballs from

Tangy Cocktail Meatballs

2 eggs

2 cups quick oats

1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk

1 cup minced onion

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

3 lbs lean ground beef or wild meat


2 cups ketchup

1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar

1/2 cup minced onion

1 teaspoon liquid smoke

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves


1) In large bowl, beat the eggs.

2) Add all remaining ingredients and mix well.

3) Shape into 1-1/2-inch balls.

4) Place on two 13-x-9 baking pans.

5) Bake, uncovered, at 375°F for 30 minutes.

6) Drain; place all meatballs on one pan.

7) In saucepan, bring all sauce ingredients to a boil.

8) Pour over meatballs.

9) Bake, uncovered for another 20 minutes.

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Christmas Cocktail Meatballs

These tangy, savoury meatballs are like a preview to Christmas dinner while also being a party in your mouth so they are the perfect seasonal treat.


For the meat part

Equal parts ground turkey and ground bulk sausage meat totaling two pounds

1/2 a cup of breadcrumbs

1/3 cup of grated onion

1/4 of fresh minced parsley

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon of ground sage

1/2 teaspoon of ground savory

1/2 teaspoon of thyme

Salt and pepper to taste

1 can of cranberry of jellied cranberry sauce

1/4 cup of hickory (smoky) or chipotle BBQ sauce

2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 teaspoon of soya sauce

1 teaspoon of grated orange zest


For meat balls 

1) Mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

2) Form into bite-sized meatballs (about 45 little balls).

3) Place on a greased baking sheet.

4) Bake at 400°F for 15 minutes.

5) Stir halfway through to brown on all sides.


For sauce

1) In a large saucepan or pot cook all remaining ingredients until your sauce starts bubbling and cranberry jelly is liquefied and bubbly (about five minutes).

2) Throw in meatballs and simmer for five minutes, rolling them around carefully until they are all coated.

3) Serve hot with toothpicks.

Holiday Devilled Eggs

Eggs are usually more synonymous with Easter than Christmas, but that doesn’t mean that this party favourite can’t be done up festively for your holiday happening.

12 hard-boiled eggs

6 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 tablespoons finely chopped red bell pepper

2 tablespoons finely chopped green onion

2 teaspoons yellow mustard

1/2 teaspoon salt

1) Slice eggs in half lengthwise, separating the yolks from the whites.

2) Put yolks into a bowl with remaining ingredients and mix.

3) Fill egg whites with egg yolk mixture, heaping lightly or pipe in using a pastry bag for a fancy effect.

Holiday Beverages for your festive event

If you are looking to go with a red and green theme for your cocktails at the holiday party, look no further than these fun and festive drinks.

Midori punch (green)

1 ounce of Midori melon liqueur

1/2 ounce of vodka

2 ounces of regular grapefruit juice (you can’t use ruby if you want the colour effect)

2 ounces of lemon soda (7Up)

Balled melon (honey dew) for garnish

1) In a tall glass, add ice and then the other ingredients in order.

2) Garnish with balled melon in the drink.

Raspberry Cooler

3 ounces of sparkly raspberry soda and extra for ice cubes

1 bag of frozen raspberries or fresh raspberries if you can access them

11/2 ounces of vodka per cocktail

1) Pour raspberry soda into an ice-cube tray, adding one raspberry per cube for a garnish and to keep the drinks flavourful.

2) Puree raspberries.

3) To assemble the raspberry cooler, place 2-3 raspberries into a tall glass, add vodka, one ounce of puree and then an additional three ounces of raspberry soda.

Sweet Treats

Strawberry Santas

If you can get your hands on firm and fresh strawberries at this time of year, these incredibly cute strawberry and cream cheese icing Santa Claus treats are actually pretty healthy for a sweet treat and make a wonderful snack for the little ones.

10 large strawberries

200g (1 package) cream cheese

2 tsp sieved icing sugar (or to taste)

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Poppy seeds or chopped raisin bits (or whatever else like sprinkles or candies).

1) Rinse the strawberries and cut around the top of the strawberry.

2) Remove the pointed bottom and dig out some inside of the strawberry with a paring knife. Keep these bottoms as they become Santa’s hat

3) Add the cream cheese, icing sugar and vanilla extract into a mixing bowl and beat until creamy.

4) Add the cream cheese mix to a piping bag with the corner snipped off. To make the Santa face, add the mixture to the top of the base of the strawberry. Then add two small buttons to the front.

5) Add a small amount of the mixture to the top of the strawberry and place the tops of the strawberries back on. Decorate them with poppy seeds as eyes. (We suggested raisin bits or sprinkles in case you are making these for a child’s class or daycare as there are allergy warnings against poppy seeds.)

This recipe was adapted from the following link:

Speculaas (a Danish cookie)

What is Christmas without a little spice? My mother, who is an incredible baker, has just added these delightful spice cookies to our family’s repertoire of Christmas goodies and swears by them, so we thought we would share them with you.

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 egg

1 cup whole wheat flour

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp ground cardamom

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1 tbsp milk

1/2 cup of sliced almonds

1) In large bowl, beat butter with sugar until light and fluffy; beat in egg.

2) In separate bowl, whisk together whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Stir into butter mixture until just combined.

3) Turn out onto lightly floured surface; gather dough and knead until smooth. Divide in half and form into rectangles. Wrap each and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

4) On lightly floured surface, roll out each rectangle to scant 1/4-inch (5 mm) thickness. Cut into 3- x 11/2-inch (8-x-4 cm) rectangles.

5) Place, one inch (2.5 cm) apart, on parchment paper–lined baking sheets. Brush with milk; lightly press almonds onto tops.

6) Bake in 350°F (180°C) oven until edges are darkened and tops are firm, about 13 minutes.

Adapted from The Canadian Living Cookbook