Holiday Entertaining Recipes & Cookbook Giveaway

Throw open your doors to family and friends for gatherings and feasts filled with holiday cheer. To help inspire you, here are some sweet and savory recipes for your holiday entertaining. Find these featured cookbooks in your neighborhood HPB store or online at HPB Marketplace. Be sure to read through to the end for details how you can win a cookbook!

As my family gathers around at grandmother’s house on Christmas morning, the first thing to disappear are the Piglets in Blankets. Here’s how to make them. Unroll an 8 oz package of crescent roll dough. Cut into four strips about 1/8 inch wide. Wrap one strip of dough tightly around each mini sausage. You can also cut the dough into triangles and roll them croissant-style, if you wish. Place wrapped piggies on baking sheet or pan, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 8 hours. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Just before baking, whisk 1 large egg with 2 tsp water. Brush the dough with egg wash. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes until golden brown. Serve hot out of the oven.  Makes about 4 dozen.

– Recipe from Parties and Projects for the Holidays by Martha Stewart

Whip up a batch of crisp and flaky Rugelach cookies for your Chanukkah party. Start by mixing in a bowl 4 oz unsalted butter and 4 oz white cheese (none of that low-fat business, full-fat farmer’s cheese). Beat in 1 tbsp sugar, 1 egg, and 1/2 tsp salt. Fold 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour into the creamy mixture until the dough can be worked with the hands. Knead and shape the dough into a ball, then cover and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Divide dough into 6 equal pieces. On a floured surface, roll out each piece until the dough is about 1/2 inch thick. Then brush with a little melted butter. Sprinkle golden raisins and chopped walnuts (or substitute raisins for chocolate chips, if you prefer). Sprinkle dough with a touch of sugar and cinnamon. Cut the rounds into 8 to 10 wedges. Roll the triangle from the large end towards the tip (resembling a croissant). Place on baking sheet. Brush the tops with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake for 15 to 30 minutes until lightly browned. Let cool before serving. Makes 48 to 60 cookies.

– Recipe from Jewish Food for Festivals and Special Occasions by Marlena Spieler

After an evening out singing Christmas carols, warm up with this treat – Spiced Hot Chocolate. Mix together in a saucepan 3-3/4 cups of mil, 7 oz of dark chocolate (at least 70% solid cocoa) broken into pieces, 2 tsp sugar, and 1 tsp allspice. On medium heat, whisk until it’s simmering. Remove from heat and pour into heatproof glasses or mugs. Garnish with a whole cinnamon stick and a dollop of whipped cream. Serves 3 to 4.

For a beverage suitable for your holiday cocktail party or for ringing in the new year, try a Gumdrop Martini. First, rub the rim of a chilled martini glass with the wedge of a lemon, then dip the glass edge in a saucer of superfine sugar. Shake over ice cubes 2 measures of lemon rum, 1 measure of vodka, 1/2 measure of Southern Comfort whiskey, 1/2 measure of lemon juice and 1/2 tsp dry vermouth. Strain into prepared glass and serve with a toast!
– Drink recipes from The Bartender’s Guide by Parragon Books

In the family-tradition of Half Price Books, we love have a good time — especially so around the holiday season. In the words of founder Ken Gjemre: “We’re going to eat and drink some. We’re going to party more. We’re going to shop more. We’re going to remember friends, family and children. And we’re going to be nice to one another. Now what’s wrong with that?”

Tell us about your favorite holiday tradition or family recipe! Enter yours in a comment below and you’ll be automatically entered to win a FREE cookbook. Three lucky winners will receive a selected cookbook from Half Price Books. Winners will be randomly selected at 3pm CST on Friday, December 9. Don’t forget to share this with your friends so they can enter to win a free cookbook too!

Eat, drink and be merry.

— Meredith


UPDATE: Congratulations to our winners – Laura Olson who shared her “Holly” cornflakes recipie; Daria Schaffnit who told us about grandma’s cookie factory; and Megan Miller who shared about her tradition to make gingerbread men. You’ve each won a free cookbook! To claim your prize, drop us a note at with “Cookbook Giveaway” in the subject and include your mailing address in the body. This giveaway is now closed. Thanks to everyone who participated.

51 thoughts on “Holiday Entertaining Recipes & Cookbook Giveaway

  1. My family likes to make stollen every year; the basic recipe comes from an old Joy of Cooking cookbook, but my dad has evolved it with his own secret tweaks over the years, including making delicious lemony glaze.

  2. One of the many treats we make for our guests and as presents is "Holly" a treat that looks like Holly! Its very easy to make– you will need a box of cornflakes, a bag of mini marshmallows, a stick of butter, green food coloring and cinnamon candies. To make, melt a stick of butter on medium in a large saucepan, then put heat on med-low, add a bag of mini marshmallows stir until they melt.. then add about 5 cups or so of corn flakes…and about 4-5 drops of green food coloring.. stir to combine. Next on wax papered cookie sheets drop about a heaping tablespoon of the mixture– then add a couple cinnamon candies to the top middle and Volia! Holly! Let stand at room temperature until cool; store in airtight containers! Happy Holidays!

  3. We always have vegetable soup with noodles in it (my grandma's recipe) along with the big spread of food. It has just a touch of sweetness that I love, and we have to eat it in snowman-mugs. It warms everyone up, heart and body. πŸ™‚

  4. My favorite holiday tradition is to make the same cookies and treats my paternal grandmother made and her mother before her and her mother before her. Krumkaka, rosettes, pecan balls, cocoa balls, sugar cookies, pfefferneuse, etc.

  5. My holiday must have is chicken and dumplings. My mom taught me how to make it years ago and every time the cold weather rolls in I make batches. There is something addicting about those flat noodle dumplings!

  6. Rum cake has been a long standing tradition with my husband's paternal side of the family. Several years ago I took up the task of making the cake for birthdays, etc., then for Christmas presents. One holiday season I made more than a dozen. Now it seems I'm not allowed at a family function without one. It is nice to hear that they are "just like Grandmother's".

  7. The past couple of years I've made my mom's recipe Peanut Butter Roll Candy. I used to call it "Elephant Trunk" when I was little because of the way it looks before you cut it into pieces. I just eye the mixing of a couple cups confectioner's sugar and splashes of milk/cream with a bit of vanilla until it mixes into a paste I can spread out onto wax paper with a dusting of confectioner's sugar to keep it from sticking. Slather on some peanut butter and roll up. Refrigerate for a couple hours until hardened and then cut up. Simple tasty treat, I plan to make this a tradition with my daughter every year just like my mom did!

  8. Similar to other families, we have a tradition of baking cookies around the holidays. Since I am in graduate school almost 600miles away from family, the holidays are my main trips home. I am very close to my family and look forward to celebrating the holidays with them. The cookies (peanut butter, oatmeal, sugar cookies) are delicious, but it is the family atmosphere and the conversion that makes this holiday tradition one I will always cherish.

  9. One of my favorite holiday traditions is my almost-grandma's "cookie factory" that we do every year. We spend all day making cookies. We make eggnog logs, cut-outs of both the gingerbread and sugar cookie variety, wreath cookies (which we call "Chris' wreaths" because they were made for years by my late uncle), fudge, chocolate chip and 7-layer bars (which we call "Molly Bars" because my mom really likes them) and chocolate rum balls. I will add some others, as well, on occasion. Cheese crisps and chocolate-dipped caramels have been hits and peanut brittle is a recent but now-required addition, as are cappuccino truffles. I have also made snowflake-shaped marshmallows, lemon-drop spoons for tea and chocolate spoons for coffee. When all the goodies have been made, we plate them and deliver them all over the holler and up on the ridge where she lives in West Virginia. I also like our Tree-Decking appetizer menu, our gift-wrapping night soup tradition, our Cuban-style Nochebuena feast and our New Year's Eve board games & fondue.

  10. As a child, My mom would let me help put the spices into the items like pumpkin pie or the cider. Now, I tend to add too many spices to my pies (according to some) and to the cider. To everyone else, a slightly spicy pie is a welcome treat πŸ™‚

  11. We love making christmas cookies with our family. Last year they were star trek themed. of course the red shirts got eaten first :).

  12. Recent tradition is Christmas morning brunch with Creme Brulee French toast, Tex-Mex scrambled eggs, and lots of bacon. Followed by an amazing Mexican Food feast that I don't have to cook! πŸ™‚

  13. There's so much I love about the holidays, wrapping, get-togethers with old friends, and more. One tradition that I look forward to every Christmas eve is the family get together at my grandparents house. There entire house is filled with great seafood, laugther, and love.

  14. My mom always made tons of Christmas sweets every year when we were growing up. My favorites were always the Magic cookie bars!

  15. I always give my older son (now 25) a box of fruit shaped marzipan. He's loved them since he was a little boy! As for recipes I always make something with chocolate and raspberry. One year it might be a chocolate raspberry cake, another year shortbread bars with melted chocolate chips and raspberry jam!

  16. We always make sure that the family is complete at Christmas eve. My brothers from other places would even take a break from their work just to be with us. Our table during that night is filled with lots of sweets. Exchanging of gifts will be done after dinner. – Dylan

  17. My mother is German and my father is Mexican, so every Christmas I get the best of both worlds. My favorite tradition is watching my German grandma cook sptzle on our stove while my aunt prepares carne asada tacos and Mexican buuelos for dessert. The buuelos always compete against my grandma's apple pie that she learned to make as a child in Berlin from her mother's secret recipe, and even if I knew the recipe, it would never taste as good as the way she makes it!

  18. I love love love Swedish Creme for the holidays! My mom first started making it over 15 years ago and it's my favorite dish, ever. It always reminds me of Christmas and it's super filling and lasts for so long!

  19. My favorite holiday tradition is that my parents pick up my son and nephew about two weeks before Christmas. They go out to a tree farm, pick a tree, drink hot chocolate, bring the tree home and decorate it together. My son looks forward to this all year long.

  20. Every year for Christmas dinner, my dad makes lasagna from scratch. I don't like lasagna, but I do enjoy the tradition (plus, I always get to eat a bowl of just the tomato sauce — it is heavenly).

  21. A family tradition that I absolutely love is our tree topper! Typically people like angels or stars, but ours is a snowman. He's probably older than I am!! He's my favorite part of christmas decorating and the years we decided to go with a different topper just weren't the same. It's the little things that make all the difference!

  22. Home made salsa, chips and full tortillas covered with melted Mexican cheese (mix of yellow and white – melted on the tortillas in the oven). Add your favorite beverage and have fun.

  23. When the weather turns cold, I enjoy making my version of beef burgundy stew. I was inspired by Julia Childs' version, and have added and subtracted to make it my own. With a lot of hearty red wine, garlic, scallions, tender beef and bacon added to the vegetables. It is hearty, tasty, and loved by the family and friends.

  24. We always do a smorgasbord of drinks and appetizers for Christmas. Teriyaki chicken wings, rumaki, shrimp dip, cheeses, crazy corn, cookies, chocolates…you name it. We have a great time drinking, eating and mingling. We also hang a very special ornament that has been passed down from generations in our family. We get noise makers and do a parade while singing and then we hang it. We also do a crazy hat contest and prizes are given out to the most original hat. My family is different, but very uniquely fun! πŸ™‚

  25. We always have fish balls and shrimp on Christmas eve! Also I make as many cookies as I have time for! Brown sugar cookies are always on the list but I try to come up with new ones every year.

  26. This is an odd one . . . My husband and I have a blended family of 3 children. When they were young, we always celebrated Christmas about one week early, to accommodate all of the extended family. By Christmas Day, all three kids were always with their "other parents." So for many years my husband and I spent Christmas Day alone together, which usually included a long walk (regardless of weather), Christmas movies, and pizza for dinner!

  27. One of our family traditions is "cookie day!" My kids and I join my mom and her three sisters and their families at my grandma's house every mid-december. There are tons of children running around playing while everyone find recipies for cookies. We make dozens of cookies all day long! In the evening we break from cookie making to make gingerbread houses with the kids. It is so fun to watch the kids giggle, eat & decorate their houses with mounds of colorful candy. At the end of the night we split all of the cookies up equally among all of the families that are there. It is a blast! We've been doing it since I was a kid and I love that I can pass these moments on to my kids.

  28. For as long as I can remember my family has made gingerbread men together around the Holidays. The recipe has been handed down over the years and is a family favorite. The baking adventure is usually an entire day of activities from making the dough from scratch, letting it cool, rolling it out, baking and decorating. By the time we get to the decorating part most family members are exhausted and napping on the couch.The most recent addition to the tradition is our cats. How do cats fit in, you ask? Our cats are very much "people animals" and love attention and start to go a bit crazy when we're not paying attention to them. For the past few years, without a doubt once the cookies are baked and sitting on the table ready to be frosted (about 100 cookies), one of the cats jumps up on the table usually causing a few gingerbread casualties, splattering bowls full of frosting, and chocolate chips all over the floor. We never let the mess dampen our spirits and the tornado-like effects usually wake up the sleeping family members just in time to help frost!

  29. My grandma would make these macaroons every christmas. She used peanut butter in them so they were really unique.Also my mom bakes a huge cream cake for everyone to dig in to around the holidays.

  30. Our favorite holiday tradition is after when we decorate the tree we listen to old Christmas records. Then we are are done we make some Hot Cocoa, Grab some Donuts, and sit back and watch our favorite Christmas movie "Charlie Brown's Christmas". I have been doing this with my family since I was little and now I love doing it with my Husband and our 4 boys!!

  31. We make all kinds of candies and cookies every holiday season. My mom usually comes over a few days and we bake away. My favorite tradition though is on Christmas Eve. My husband and 4 boys make chocolate dipped pretzels. It's always so fun watching them having a good time. It's one of the few times I can get him in the kitchen. Even though I'm in charge of cleanup it's always fun. We make homemade pizza too and just enjoy the time being with our kids.

  32. TAMALES+POSOLE+COFFEE—perfect Christmas Eve/Christmas Morning meal! We always leave Santa a plate of tamales and a cup of hot coffee, we believe that he is probably tired of cookies by that point in the night. πŸ˜‰

  33. Every Christmas Eve we host an open house for all of our friends who don't have family in town…this will be our fifth year and the number of guests has grown to over 40 people. As it turns out, our open house became so popular that even when our friends' families are in town, they just invite them along! It's a great night of friends, family, and fun. We spend all day cooking…we have everything from chicken chili to cappellini aglio olio–a recipe my family has made every Christmas Eve for as long as I can remember.

  34. Spiced hot chocolate sounds truly divine! That may have to be a new tradition!We always make gingerbread people, which has expanded to gingerbread snowmen, trees, cats, and ducks as we've acquired increasingly bizarre cookie cutter shapes.My mom also makes the most delicious Nanaimo bars, so I usually fall into multiple sugar comas.And we cruise around on Christmas Eve looking at all the beautiful lights and feeling really thankful that the heating in the car works!

  35. My favorite holiday tradition is meet Santa on Christmas afternoon when he comes to visit my family. He gives the little kids a little gift and the older kids get to sit on his lap and take some photos with me. My Grandma will also give Santa a kiss.

  36. Though it's not "fancy" none of our family's gatherings would be complete with out a bowl of Rotel Velvetta dip. We serve it with tortilla chips and Fritos, because everyone has a preference on which is better. Everyone has to beat my uncle and cousin to it though, otherwise you don't stand a chance of getting any!

  37. Our family sugar cookie recipe is the best! We've gathered quite a collection of cookie cutters and look forward to decorating them every year with brightly colored frosting.

  38. Every year, my mom and I make fudge. Its a family recipe we know now by heart. This will be my first year to make it in my own home with my husband.

  39. Every Christmas season, for more than 20 years now, I gather up some recipes and bake cookies and mini-cheesecakes and other treats, and give them to family friends and favorite businesses. Seriously bake – I used to take a week off from work to do the baking and distribution. Now an added benefit of the baking frenzy is that I get to sample hot out of the oven and get the goodies distributed so that I don't spend the next week eating them all!

  40. I love to make pumpkin-lentil soup, it is great hot or cold and makes a lovely addition to Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. Butter stollen is a must on Christmas morning.

  41. My family loves baking cookies and opening our pajamas on Christmas Eve. We love sitting around the Christmas tree, sharing stories and teaching our children about the meaning of Christmas. We also find ways to give to others on this holiday instead of just focusing on ourselves. Merry Christmas!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s