throw a party // three trendy stations for your Christmas party

throw a party // three trendy stations for your Christmas party

My husband Jered is a Chef and we own and operate Thrive Catering Co. in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. We make a great team – I coordinate all the details, Jered cooks the delicious food, and we both serve our clients alongside a fantastic group of staff that also just happen to be our dear friends!

This time of year is our busiest season of all, as we have the honor and privilege to serve at Christmas parties from November through to December (and sometimes even into January). I wanted to share with you some new fun and festive “build your own” stations we have noticed becoming really popular at our holiday gatherings.

These stations are super interactive and engaging for guests and kick any party up a few notches! Although they take a bit of preparation/assembly work to execute, we find less is more! Some simple snacks alongside one of these stations is all you need for a successful night of celebrating the season. Or if you want to go all out, you can do all three stations and wear your crown proudly as host or hostess with the mostess this Christmas season. 😊

1. The Build Your Own S’more Bar

What is more festive than roasting marshmallows over an open fire?


What you’ll need:

    • Marshmallows
    • Large bamboo skewers
    • Graham Crackers. You could also use shortbread, gingerbread or chocolate chip cookies! Be creative. A few varieties let’s everyone’s inner child come out to play! (and the actual children squeal with joy).
    • Any assortment of chocolate you want! A couple options is always nice, your traditional milk chocolate, a dark chocolate, white chocolate or even a mint chocolate!
    • Sterno Fuel. These are the flames you typically see under chafing dishes as part of a buffet setup. You can purchase these at any grocery store. These will be the open flame that you’ll use for roasting your marshmallows. We have found convenient wooden containers and small stones to create your fire station for an affordable price at the dollar store.
    • Mason Jars or decorative containers. These you’ll use for displaying your bamboo skewers for self service. You can also choose to pre-skewer your marshmallows for your guests if you want!

Setting Up the Station:

  • Building your fire station:
    • Take your sterno fuel and place in a row for easy access in a wooden container (as pictured). Pour your stones to fill in the space between sternos to secure.
    • Place your wooden containers in a long row so more than one person at a time can roast marshmallows (the more the merrier).
  • Put all of your items for assembling the s’mores (marshmallows, cookies, chocolate, etc) in decorative bowls alongside your fire station.
  • Place your bamboo skewers on either side of the fire station.
  • Invite your friends and enjoy this festive fireside treat!

2. Holiday Popcorn Bar

Another popular party favorite. We typically have 3 or 4 varieties of popcorn for our popcorn bars, but any mix of traditional, savory and sweet popcorns will be a hit. People can try one selection at a time or mix a few together as they see fit!


What you’ll need:

  • Popcorn Containers.
  • Cups or mini popcorn bags.
  • Popcorns scoops.
  • Signage (we always like to label all the ingredients in each popcorn for any possible allergies our guests might have)
  • Popcorn of course! You can make this as easy or labour intensive as you like. No one will complain one bit if you choose to grab bags of Smart Choice White Cheddar, Chicago Mix or Boom Chicka Pop from Costco. If you want to make your popcorn from scratch, check our personal popcorn selections below.

Our Popcorn Selections:

  • Chef Jered’s Famous White Truffle Popcorn
    This is one of our client favorites! This is an earthy and savory popcorn that Jered makes and we eat year round, our kids also love it! We are excited to share Jered’s recipe with you HERE
  • Sweet & Savory Kettle Corn. HERE is our go to online recipe.
  • White Chocolate Peppermint Popcorn. HERE is our go to online recipe.
  • Traditional Movie Theatre Popcorn. Always a strong and safe choice for our friends who love tradition. Extra butter and salt please! HERE is our go to online recipe.

Setting Up the Station:

  • Fill your popcorn containers, placing scoops in each container.
  • Take your cups or mini popcorn bags and fill a dozen bags in front of each container for people to grab and go!

3. Hot Beverage Bar

The simplest and most straight forward of the three holiday stations, a classic must have at any party. When creating our beverage bar, we like to have:

  • Hot Cocoa. HERE is our go to online recipe.
  • Hot Apple Cider HERE is our go to online recipe.
  • Brewed Coffee or a Nescafe / Keurig / automatic brewer with an assortment of coffees for self brewing.


What you’ll need:

  • Urns or Beverage Servers to brew or keep beverages hot
  • Coffee or teacups, or festive disposable cups
  • Mini Marshmallows
  • Whipping Cream (homemade or canned, whatever you prefer)
  • Sprinkles
  • Candy Canes
  • Cinnamon Sticks
  • Chocolate or Butterscotch Chips
  • Any other creative topping you can dream up!

Depending on your preference, you can also add an assortment of liqueurs to your Hot Beverage Bar. Some of our favorites are Bailey’s Irish Cream, Kahlua, Rum Chata, Smirnoff Peppermint Twist vodka, or Captain Morgan’s Gingerbread rum. A splash of one of these in your custom beverage takes your cider, cocoa or coffee to a whole new level of festive cheer and yum!

Whatever station you choose to incorporate into your next party, we hope you take time to savor the Christmas season with your loved ones this year. Don’t get too wrapped up in the to do lists and the busyness, remember to unwind and celebrate your blessings to the fullest! Warmest wishes to you and yours this Christmas!

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