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Christmas Charcuterie Board Ideas for Your Holiday Party

This festive wreath of fresh herbs and edibles is a delicious example of a Christmas charcuterie board idea to knock your holiday party out of the park!

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a wooden cutting board, with charcuterie

All images and text ©Jenny DeRemer for Not Entirely Average, LLC

What Are ‘Must Haves’ for A Charcuterie Board?

If you’re looking for charcuterie board ideas for a Christmas party, consider this seasonal themed wreath. The elements of a well-appointed and beautiful board include both sweet and savory snacks to accompany a selection of cured meats and sausages, a selection of hard and soft cheeses, and either a quality bread, lavosh, crackers, or a combination of all three for serving. A little bit of this and that, strategically placed on a platter or board is a great addition to offer for family gatherings, Christmas parties, Christmas Eve dinner, or that first time cocktail party.

a wooden cutting board, with charcuterie
I am using a large wooden cutting board as my base. I have placed a flat cake platter off to one side which will become the base for my ‘wreath,’ the areas on the sides becoming additional room for sliced meats, cheeses, fruits and nuts. There are no rules, just get creative!

Merry Charcuterie Board Ideas for Your Christmas Party

Growing up, my mom always served a ramped-up cheese board when company visited. And the holiday season meant her cheese boards grew into colossal works of art, complete with fresh fruit like grapes and strawberries, dried fruit, fresh vegetables like cherry tomatoes and endive leaves, a homemade cheese ball, an assortment of hard and soft cheeses, and various cured meats and sausages and olives.

A meat and cheese platter, or as they’re better known, a traditional charcuterie board, is a festive touch to assemble for holiday parties. The festive Christmas charcuterie board idea I’m sharing today employs a symbol of the holidays, a wreath.

If you’re looking for charcuterie board ideas for a Christmas party, consider this seasonal wreath and get the creative juices flowing!

Do You Have What You’ll Need to Build the Perfect Charcuterie Board? Check the List!

for the wreath base, use any combination of

  • fresh rosemary branches
  • fresh thyme sprigs
  • basil leaves and basil sprigs

for the skewers, use any combination of

  • any thinly sliced cured meat such as salami or prosciutto
  • any cured sausage such as pepperoni or chorizo
  • cherry tomatoes, all colors
  • roasted sweet peppers, all colors
  • champagne grapes
  • seedless green grapes
  • seedless red grapes
  • black olives
  • green olives
  • dried fruits such as apricots, cherries, pear slices
  • various cheeses such as fresh mozzarella balls, parmesan, or cheddar cheese

for filling empty spaces, use any combination of

  • winter fruits and seasonal produce like figs, apple, quince, or berries
  • assortment of nuts, salted, candied, and/or smoked
  • chunk cheeses and sliced soft cheeses
  • finger sandwiches such as cucumber and cream cheese (use Christmas cookie cutters for cutting festive shapes once sandwiches are assembled)

for sweet accompaniments, use any combination of

  • honey
  • honeycomb
  • quince paste
  • fig jam
  • favorite Christmas cookies
  • petit fours
  • larger, broken pieces of really good chocolate

for serving, use any combination of

  • savory crackers
  • water crackers
  • pita chips
  • naan
  • toasted or grilled bread
  • lavosh
  • melba rounds
a basket, with fresh herbs
Growing my own herbs means I can harvest lots and lots for cooking as well as decorating holiday boards and fresh flower arrangements.

Planning A Holiday Charcuterie Wreath

A degree of planning is required if you are considering a charcuterie, breakfast, or even a dessert board for a holiday party. The size of your cutting board, tray, platter, or other base will dictate just how large a (in this case) wreath and subsequent board you are able to build.

For me, the fun part of this project is hitting up the produce isle at my grocery store. I look for seasonal berries and fruits that have texture and compliment cheese.

From there, I check out the fresh herb bundles. I have an extensive herb bed from which I cut the majority of my wreath branches, but if I require additional, buying them bundled and in bulk versus those plastic blister packs saves me some cash.

a wooden cutting board, with charcuterie
Corinth or ‘champagne grapes’ are teeny tiny and super sweet without having to worry about seeds. They make a great display just draped over the final product.

Assembling A Charcuterie Wreath

Christmas colors and a Christmas theme make for a gorgeous charcuterie board. Hence this tutorial on assembling the easiest of shapes, the holiday wreath.

In my mind and also on paper, I calculate the volume I need to purchase in terms of fruit and cheese based on the number of people it needs to serve. If I’m serving other finger foods in addition to the board, I keep it to two to three varieties of cheese, two to three varieties of fruits, lots of nuts and crackers, and consider adding salami or prosciutto depending on what I am prepared to spend.

Select A Base

Have a look around to see what you own that will make a good base for your charcuterie board. Think rustic large cutting board, large flat surface platter, or even a plate charger.

I’m using a wood board I sourced at a local home store along with a flat cake platter. I place the platter atop the wooden board slightly askew so that the handle and side of the board acts as a space for crackers, bread, nuts, and berries.

I’ve also done boards in the past where a low-rimmed cake pedestal acted as my charcuterie stage, and small bowls of honey and fig jam rested beneath along with the bread and crackers. ‘You do you‘ based on what you’ve got available to you.

a wooden cutting board, with a white cake plate, skewers and herbs
My base consists of a large wooden cutting board and a flat cake plate. I set the cake plate slightly askew and build my ‘wreath’ on top of it. Bamboo skewers make handling the edibles clean.

Start With the Herbs and Make a Circle

My Christmas charcuterie wreath is fashioned first with lots of fresh rosemary, fresh thyme, and fresh basil in a circle atop a wooden cutting board. I’ve made my circle to where it’s about 12-inches across in these photos. This wreath will serve four to six.

Begin at the edges of your base and place a rosemary branch at the 12 o’clock, 3 o’clock, 6 o’clock, and 9 o’clock. Divide the remaining herb stems and leaves into four equal piles and use one pile to fill in each of the four quads you’ve defined.

From here, you can opt to skewer a selection of your favorite things or to pile a selection of your favorite things atop the wreath. I opt for skewering when I’m doing a shape like a wreath or a tree because the nibbles are easier to pick up without also picking up the herb branches.

ProTip: if you will skewer cheese and fruits, do one to where you like it, then do all of the remaining skewers the same way to create uniformity around the circle. Also make sure that the last ingredient you thread is dense enough to secure everything else preventing it from sliding off the skewer.

a wooden cutting board, with charcuterie
My wreath consists of rosemary, thyme, and basil, all fresh and all placed one branch/sprig at a time around the platter. Everything else is laying on top and is easily lifted without disturbing the herbs.

Building Individual Skewers to Adorn the Wreath

I begin by threading salami onto bamboo skewers along with cherry tomatoes and some harder cheeses like parmesan or pepper jack cheese to secure the skewer. I also “fold” the salami into quadrants to sort of mimic a rosette, but nothing too perfect.

After bunches and bunches of skewers are assembled, I decide whether or not I want to create an additional skewer design. In the photos shown, I did four different skewer designs.

  • Design #1: Cherry tomato, salami rosette, hunk of hard cheese, about 20 skewers
  • Design #2: Alternating red grapes and single fresh basil leaves, about 10 skewers
  • Design #3: Fresh mozzarella ball, fresh basil leaf, Calamatta olive, fresh basil leaf, red grape, about 20 skewers
  • Design #4: Alternating Calamatta olives and single fresh basil leaves, about 10 skewers
blueberries and nuts on a cutting board, with charcuterie

Build the Wreath

Just like you did with placing a rosemary branch at the 12, 3, 6, and 9, so too place a single skewer at the 1:30, 4:30, 7:30, and the 10:30. Then, fill in from there based on how many skewers you assembled and what lays best where.

Once the skewers have all been placed, go back in and fill in the gaps and empty spaces with grapes, nuts, individual chunks of cheese, halved fresh figs, pieces of chocolate or cookies or petit fours…whatever makes sense.

It’s also at this point that I begin to create layers of meat and cheese and crackers and fruits on the outside of the wreath. The outside of the wreath area is a great space and a great way to ensure all of what you purchased makes it onto a surface from which to serve.

blueberries and nuts on a cutting board, with charcuterie

Serving Utensils Not to Forget

If you plan to use skewers, half the battle is won. But for the sake of keeping hands clean and food otherwise untouched, be sure to provide cheese forks, cheese knives, a wide spoons for the nuts.

If you are offering honey or pepper jelly or any spreads, make sure to then also provide spoons, spreaders, and the like for dispensing them neatly. Small cracker tongs are somewhat specialized and not everybody owns a pair, but if you do, now’s the time to bust them out.

close up picture of beef and parsley and capers on black platter
Check out my recipe for another fabulous party appetizer, my Filet of Beef Carpaccio with Capers, Olive Oil and Pub Sauce. It is beyond melt-in-your-mouth delicious!

How Far in Advance Can I Assemble a Charcuterie Board?

When I am planning a party, I always plan for refrigerator space. There’s nothing I can do to create more fridge space, but I can and do prep for storing in containers and assembling just before guests arrive.

Uniformly chunk the cheeses, sausages, and cured meats up to 24 hours in advance. Place into an airtight container and refrigerate.

Most fruit should be sliced/halved right before serving or it may brown and fade. Grapes however may be removed from the main vine with a pair of kitchen scissors neatly to where they are a tiny cluster. Do this.

Nuts, berries, cheese logs, pitas, crackers, bread…all of this can be opened and added just before serving. I do like my cheese to be served at room temperature, so I assemble about an hour prior to company arriving.

featured image for Charcuter Board Ideas for Christmas Party

Christmas Charcuterie Board Ideas for Your Holiday Party

Jenny from Not Entirely Average
This festive wreath of fresh herbs and edibles is a delicious example of very merry charcuterie board ideas for your Christmas holiday party!
2.60 from 5 votes
Prep Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American, Southern
Calories

Equipment

  • large cutting board or flat platter
  • bamboo skewers
  • cheese forks, spreaders, and spoons

Ingredients
 

for the wreath base, use any combination of

  • rosemary fresh branches
  • thyme fresh sprigs
  • basil fresh sprigs and loose leaves

for the skewers, use any combination of

  • salami
  • prosciutto
  • cherry tomatoes
  • roasted sweet peppers
  • seedless red grapes
  • seedless green grapes
  • champagne grapes
  • black olives
  • green olives
  • dried fruits apricots, cherries, pear slices
  • cheese chunked; mozzarella balls, parmesan, or cheddar cheese

for filling empty spaces, use any combination of

  • fruit figs, apple, quince, or berries
  • nuts salted, candied, or smoked
  • finger sandwiches

for sweet accompaniments, use any combination of

  • honey
  • honeycomb
  • quince paste
  • fig jam
  • Christmas cookies
  • petit fours
  • pieces of chocolate

for serving, use any combination of

  • savory crackers
  • water crackers
  • pita chips
  • naan
  • bread sliced and grilled or toasted
  • lavosh
  • melba rounds

Instructions
 

Select A Base

  • Use what you have on hand; think rustic large cutting board, large flat surface platter, or even a plate charger. I'm using a wood cutting board along with a flat cake platter. I place the platter atop the wooden board slightly askew so that the handle and side of the board acts as a space for crackers, bread, nuts, and berries.

Start With the Herbs and Make a Circle

  • Begin at the edges of your base and place a rosemary branch at the 12 o'clock, 3 o'clock, 6 o'clock, and 9 o'clock. Divide the remaining herb stems and leaves into four equal piles and use one pile to fill in each of the four quads you've defined.

Building Individual Skewers to Adorn the Wreath

  • Begin by threading salami onto bamboo skewers along with cherry tomatoes and some harder cheeses like parmesan or pepper jack cheese to secure the skewer. I "fold" the salami into quadrants to sort of mimic a rosette. Build all of your skewers to match for uniformity around the wreath. If you choose to make more than one skewer pattern, ensure you make multiples.

Build the Wreath

  • Just like you did with placing a rosemary branch at the 12, 3, 6, and 9, so too place a single skewer at the 1:30, 4:30, 7:30, and the 10:30. Then, fill in from there based on how many skewers you assembled and what lays best where.
  • Once the skewers have all been placed, go back in and fill in the gaps and empty spaces with grapes, nuts, individual chunks of cheese, halved fresh figs, pieces of chocolate or cookies or petit fours…whatever makes sense.
  • It's also at this point that I begin to create layers of meat and cheese and crackers and fruits on the outside of the wreath. The outside of the wreath area is a great space and a great way to ensure all of what you purchased makes it onto a surface from which to serve.

Add Serving Utensils to Your Board

  • For the sake of keeping hands clean and food otherwise untouched, be sure to provide cheese forks, cheese knives, a wide spoons for the nuts.
  • If you are offering honey or pepper jelly or any spreads, make sure to then also provide spoons, spreaders, and the like for dispensing them neatly. Small cracker tongs are somewhat specialized and not everybody owns a pair, but if you do, now's the time to bust them out.

Notes

Uniformly chunk the cheeses, sausages, and cured meats up to 24 hours in advance. Place into an airtight container and refrigerate.
Fruit should be sliced/halved right before serving or it may brown and fade.
Grapes may be removed from the main vine up to 24 hours in advance with a pair of kitchen scissors neatly to where they are a tiny cluster.
Nuts, berries, cheese logs, pitas, crackers, bread…all of this can be opened and added just before serving.
Keyword Charcuterie
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