There’s nothing more wonderful than gathering and sharing with friends and family during the holiday season. However, as with so many things, we tend to put a tremendous amount of pressure on ourselves when we entertain — we want everything to be perfect, so rather than enjoy these moments with our loved ones, we focus on the decor, food, music, etc. It’s fine to plan and prepare as long as we don’t lose sight of what’s most important — the people you’re planning and preparing for!
I’ve found the easiest way to avoid turning into a host-zilla is to have a few simple, yet beautiful and tasty, recipes at the ready. An antipasto platter is one of my favorites because it’s so versatile and can be customized to a wide-variety of guests — there’s something for everyone in this platter. But you can also adjust the platter entirely from one group of guests to another.
Your guests are vegetarian? No problem! Swap out the meats and sausages for some marinated vegetables. Your guests are meat-lovers? Stick with a variety of meats, cheeses, and other traditional Italian garnishes. Catering to a younger audience? Throw in fun elements for kids: animal crackers, mini candy-canes, cheese sticks (a familiar snack for kiddos), a variety of fruit. You can even alter it to account for specific dietary needs — gluten free, low-carb, low-sugar, etc.
The platter above is my standard plate with a variety of items for guests that enjoy meats, cheese, vegetables, grains, chocolate, etc. Below, I put together a Pinable list of items for platters catering to different guests.
In terms of organizing the items, just have fun! Cluster things together however you wish! Spread a variety of colors and textures together throughout like I did above, group things together by color, keep things close and tight (to give a piled effect), or space them out, showcasing a pretty cheeseboard below for a minimalist effect. You’re only limited by your own creativity and imagination. I also like to add a few springs of herbs or greenery, particularly for classic antipasto plates. I added sprigs of rosemary and thyme to mine above.
Below, I’ve also linked to a variety of cheeseboards, cheese knive sets, and pretty bowls … Anthropologie (one of my favorite stores) has several beautiful options. Plus, I’ve included photos of a few more ideas for inspiration.