• Nancy Hoehler

How to Build the Perfect Holiday Dessert Display

The holidays are officially upon us! Arguably, the sweetest time of year! To us, the holiday season is such a special time to gather and enjoy time together. Whether it's with families, friends, teams, clients, or co-workers; we love making these end-of-the-year celebrations feel extra sweet. So, let's talk about Holiday Dessert Displays!


A beautiful dessert display can be a real highlight for a holiday gathering. Especially if you are considering a limited menu or cocktail hour! Today, we're going to give you some tips & tricks to creating a gorgeous Holiday Dessert Display that'll impress!


Holiday Dessert Display Basics


The best place to start any display is with your layout. What is the point in having a ton of gorgeous, tempting desserts if the display they sit on isn't up to par? So, where do you start?


When planning out your Holiday Dessert Bar, we have three points we like to keep in mind:

  1. Set the base with a specialty linen! We love the opportunity for a beautiful textile. It can be costly to rent specialty tablecloths for all guest tables, but for one display, it's totally a budget friendly way to make an impact! Pick something with a fun pattern or luxe texture.

  2. Add height! For an interesting display, varying heights is crucial. This is also the easiest way to really make your Holiday Dessert Bar impressive. We love these clear acrylic risers and acrylic stands from Amazon. (You can even put some decor inside like tinsel or holiday baubles that match your color palette!)

  3. Plan to keep your table full. To make your display feel really impactful, be sure to include enough elements to make it feel full (not overly cluttered, but definitely not sparse!) You want it to feel like an indulgence. Whatever size your table is, make sure there are no big empty gaps.


What Desserts to Include in Your Dessert Display


Obviously, the most crucial part of your Holiday Dessert Bar is the desserts!! This is an opportunity to really have some fun and try some new things! Here are our favorite tips for deciding what to include:

  • If you're hosting, do not worry about making everything from scratch! I know it can sometimes be tempting to break out all of those holiday recipes you've been saving on Pinterest all year, but a party is not the place to try them all at once! If you want to include something homemade, we recommend sticking with 1-2 items that you will contribute. All other elements can be sourced from a local bakery, catering company, or even something lovely from a local market! (Want to get one of our favorite biscotti recipes that would be a lovely addition? Sign up for this month's newsletter!!)

  • Include different textures and varying levels of sweetness! Variety is the spice of life and totally crucial to a good dessert bar. When selecting desserts, aim to please a wide variety of palettes and flavor preferences. Don't make everything overly sweet and heavy. Include a few 'safe' flavors like basic sugar cookies or fresh fruit with a vanilla yogurt dip. Then feel free to get adventurous with a stronger flavor, an interesting texture, or a holiday dessert from a different culture or country around the world.

  • Stick to individual servings. A dessert bar should always be grab-and-go. Don't complicate things with dishes and desserts that need to be cut or scooped. Go for selections that guests can quickly pickup and enjoy.


Presentation is Everything


If you're making a display, it's gotta be beautiful! Presentation can really take a dessert bar from basic to stunning with just a few tweaks.

  • Now's the time to break out the china and fancy display dishes! Stick to neutral colors like white, silver, or clear glass to really let your desserts stand out.

  • Include a few decor pieces to tie in with your theme. This could really be anything but we prefer items that help add a little height like modern snowmen, winter trees, or even something quirky like vintage nutcrackers.

  • Candles always add a nice touch of warmth and a romantic glow. Just be sure to keep them towards the back of your display and enclosed in a glass cylinder for safety.

  • And don't forget to include: cocktail napkins or small plates, toothpicks or mini forks/tongs, and a trash receptacle nearby so discarded plates and napkins don't accumulate.



So, go forth and enjoy the sweetest time of year with a beautiful Holiday Dessert Display at your next gathering!



Need some help planning your holiday bash? Shimmer NYC is ready to make your corporate or personal celebration something to remember! Get in touch and get on our calendar asap!