Classic Holiday Dessert Table

A good friend of ours has a birthday on December 23rd, and most years he (and his lovely wife) use his birthday as a wonderful excuse to have a Christmas/Birthday party.  A few years ago, the birthday boy celebrated his 40th birthday.  Ever since, the party invitations have read, “please join us for John’s (2nd, 3rd, 4th…) annual 40th birthday party!”  Last year, I offered to prepare desserts for the party of about 40 guests.  I’ve enjoyed playing party planner for this family a couple times, and their daughter’s Snowflake Ballerina Party is still one of my favorites!

Please enjoy John’s 3rd annual… or was it 4th annual, 40th birthday party!

This classic dessert table set up could work easily for a variety of holiday occasions.  I started with a set of cake stands in the center (Martha Stewart Collection at Macy’s), some pretty glass trees (Target), added simple boxes wrapped in paper (I use boxes to create height on a table for most of my dessert displays), with square plates (Target) setting on top.  Matching white rectangular platters (Target) work great for displaying lots of treats, and a smaller platter (Crate and Barrel) in the center completed the set up.

Now let’s take a look at the desserts…

 I made my (famous among my friends) Fudge Mint Brownies.

(Left) Coconut Snowballs and (right) Decorated Sugar Cookies.

More decorated Sugar Cookies (not quite sure why I made them blue when everything else was red/green/white… oh well)

(Right)  Delicious Cranberry White Chocolate Bars (think Starbuck’s Cranberry Bliss bars!)

I decorated store bought white fudge oreos with simple royal icing snowflakes, piped directly onto the cookies.

Which treat would you go for first?


  1. As usual, your display is the most beautiful I've seen! I'm just wondering – how do you keep your sugar cookies from going stale as the icing is drying? Every time I cook them, they come out lovely from the oven, but when I leave the icing to dry after decorating them, they always get stale in the drying process. Any tips? Thanks, and BEAUTIFUL blog.

  2. That table looks amazing! I cant wait to try the mint brownies and coconut snowballs!

  3. Beautiful photos, and such a breathtaking display!!

  4. I've just been asked to do a dessert table for a fundraiser. They are expecting about 50 people, any advice on how many goodies and how many of each to make?

  5. Now that is a sweet table! And I do mean sweet! I think you made this such an elegant table I would be afraid to mess it up! But after someone else did first, then I would go for the brownie, and then I would also want the rest, because they all look great! Love the square plates on gift wrapped boxes.

  6. I've just been pouring over your blog for the last hour! You are amazing – every post has something so special & beautiful. I can hardly wait to go and bake – just not sure what to try first! I love the classic holiday dessert table it is very classy and beautiful!

  7. Looking forward to trying some of these desserts for Christmas. Your photos have inspired me!

  8. Just discovered your blog which is fantastic. I am going to enjoy the sweet posts 🙂

  9. Minty fudge brownies YUM

  10. hmmmm…… its very yummyyyy…..

  11. Just found your website via pinterest. Those oreos are genius!

  12. Hi,

    This is really beautiful dessert table decoration for the Christmas party. Special meal and desserts for Christmas deserves a unique set like this. Thanks for sharing these lovely images of the dessert table.

  13. I FINALLY tried your version of the white chocolate cranberry bars (I saved your recipe from a year ago). WOW. I just don't have the words to describe how wonderful they are–and this is coming from a choco-holic! Thank you for sharing the recipe! I am always so excited to see an email/FB post from you–your blog is like reading a letter from a friend : ) Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful talents with us!

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  18. Hi, Neat post. There’s an issue along with your web site in internet explorer, would test this? IE still is the market leader and a big part of other folks will miss your great writing because of this problem.

  19. Absolutely gorgeous! Decorating using your imagination with what you have on hand is so much more personal than going out and buying what the stores decide is in fashion this season. Happy holidays!

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