28 vintage Christmas appetizers you don’t see much anymore

The kitschy, the bad and the ugly vintage Christmas party appetizers you don't see much anymore

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Having a retro party for the holidays? Here are lots of crazy kitschy — some would say strange — vintage Christmas party appetizer ideas from the 50s, 60s, 70s & 80s that you may want to serve… at your own risk.

1. 60s Christmas appetizer: Snow Cap Spread with deviled ham

It’s a “pleasure island” on any party buffet! And they recommend you serve it with Fritos. Luckily, that’s not whipped cream “snow” on top — it’s frosted with a mixture of cream cheese, sour cream and mustard.

Vintage 60s Pleasure Island Christmas appetizer with deviled ham

2. Trim-a-tree dip: A Christmas tree-shaped cheese ball (1967)

If this sounds like your kind of thing, here’s what you need for this dip:

1 package cream cheese, softened
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (4 ounces)
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese (2 ounces)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup minced onion
1 teaspoon chopped parsley
Few strips pimiento
Whistles, Bugles, and Daisy*s [snack crackers/chips]

Mix the first 5 ingredients until fluffy, then serve as suggested below.

You might also like these: It’s time for retro appetizers in fun shapes! Get these Cheddar-sherry, ham spread & cream cheese spread recipes (1968)

Christmas-tree shaped dip from 1967

3. Another Christmas tree-shaped cheese ball (1970s)

Parsley serves as the garlands on this cheesy tree appetizer.

ALSO TRY: Cheddar-brandy almond-covered cheese ball (1982)

1970s cheese tree appetizer

4. Spam spread hors d’oeuvre balls (1967)

Adding some French to the name makes these fancy.

Spam balls 1967 - Christmas appetizer

4. Noel salad loaf (1962)

Bet you never thought of using cranberry sauce like this! Here’s how to make this avocado-pineapple-celery-cranberry loaf.

Blend one 8-ounce package cream cheese and 1/3 cup mayonnaise; add 1/2 cup chopped celery, 1 cup crushed pineapple, drained, and 1/2 cup cubed avocado seasoned with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon lemon juice.

Whip 1 cup whipping cream; fold in. Tint pink with food coloring. Cube 3/4 pound can jellied cranberry sauce; add. Freeze in loaf pan. Makes 8 servings.

How to make Noel salad loaf - Christmas appetizer side

Noel salad loaf 1960s Christmas recipe (1962)

6. Vintage Christmas appetizers: It’s like frosting for your crackers! (1962)

Simple! Tint cream cheese in varied food colors. Press out on Ritz with pastry decorating tube. Use sliced olives, nuts… whatever you fancy as garnish. Serve with confidence! Fun! Squeeze out cheese in gay party patterns.

Dec 1962 Ritz Christmas snacks food art

7. Celebrate with a layered party loaf (1981)

Take the cream cheese “frosting” concept above, and turn it up to 11.

SEE LOTS MORE: 20 frosted party sandwich loaf recipes to make… or avoid

1981 Holiday party loaf recipe

8. Deviled ham frosty Yule log as a unique vintage Christmas appetizer (1963)

If you like the whole loaf idea above, give this retro recipe a whirl! It’s just a couple of cans of deviled ham combined with onion dip mix, then frosted with cream cheese. It’s reportedly “excellent with corn chips, potato chips or crackers.”

Deviled ham frosty Yule log vintage Christmas appetizers

9. Spammy mushrooms and fruit-adjacent Vienna sausage kabobs (1973)

These spiced Vienna kabobs are supposed to be served with spiced pineapple and minted pears.

1973 vintage Christmas party appetizers - Spam and Hormel

MORE: 4 retro snack & appetizer recipes made with Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix (1987)

10. Have a nutty Christmas tree (1956)

This is a lot of effort just to serve a can of mixed nuts.

Guests can help themselves from this party nut tree! Cut tall can of brown bread into cone shape. Put 2″ candle stub in holder — insert candle in brown bread in previously hollowed hole. Bread should rest on lip of candlestick.

Frost tree with cream cheese, softened with milk. Add tinted coconut. Stick Royal Nuts on tree with toothpicks, broken in half.

Dec 17, 1956 Nuts on a christmas tree

Get the delicious original Chex mix recipe from the 60s and 70s (plus 6 vintage variations)

11. In the ’70s, it wasn’t a party ’til someone brought out the nut-covered cheese (1970)

Of all the vintage Christmas appetizers on this page, this one is one of the few you might actually see on a holiday table today.

Want to make one of these almond or pecan-covered cheese pinecones? Of course you do! Get the recipe here.

Ebony Dec 1970 Christmas cheese recipe

12. Salad… made to look like candles. Because of course. (1966)

Cranberry sauce, jello, and mayo. Oh yeah, this is some seriously retro food here.

As a bonus, this wasn’t the only recipe for cranberry “salad” candles out there, either: See another version (and get the recipes) here!

Edible cranberry candle salad with mayo from 1966 at Click Americana (2)

13. Christmas candle salads: Cherry and banana mold (1956)

Okay, seriously now: What was the deal with all the candle salads?

Christmas candle salad - strange vintage holiday appetizers

14. Vintage Christmas appetizers: A fruit turkey with olive “feathers” (1970s)

Odd way to display olives, yes, but strangely cute — right down to the sunflower seed nose.

ALSO SEE: Holiday appetizer recipes from the 60s: Saucy cocktail meatballs, Cheese trees & Wreath rollups

Orange turkey with olives - Vintage snack tray centerpiece

15. A cheesy Christmas ball (1960)

Christmas ball is cream cheese flavored with garlic salt, horseradish and Tobasco, and decorated with olives, pimiento strips, etc.

Dec 19, 1960 Christmas appetizers

16. How to make a shrimp Christmas tree

This shrimpy dazzler is easy to make with materials from the variety store and supermarket.

Find out how to make it here: Go totally ’70s and make a retro shrimp Christmas tree appetizer for your holiday party! Here’s how

Shrimp Christmas tree appetizer recipe - 1970s

17. Strange vintage Christmas appetizers: How about little sausage ornaments for your tree?

Get all the deets: Holiday hostess tree! A retro-style Christmas tree with meat ornaments (1961)

A Christmas tree with meat ornaments

18. Spam spread on bread shapes for some retro Christmas appetizers (1966)

Because, as we said at the top, nothing says “Merry Christmas” like Spam spread.

MORE: Retro party food: 12 classic cheese ball recipes from the ’70s

Spam spread on bread for retro Christmas appetizers from 1966

19. Vintage Winter Sunshine Mold (1976)

This… creative… recipe has pineapple, Miracle Whip, gelatin and cranberry sauce.

Vintage 1976 Winter Sunshine Mold with pineapple miracle whip gelatin and cranberry sauce recipe

20. Holiday “snack pie” made with Spam spread, sour cream and avocado (1972)

Because nothing says “Merry Christmas” like Spam spread, right?

1972 Holiday snack pie made with spam spread, sour cream and avocado - Vintage Christmas appetizer

21. Vintage 1970s Almonds in a Haystack appetizer

DON’T MISS:🎄1970s Christmas memories: Relive the magic through these vintage images & videos

Vintage 1970s Almonds in a Haystack appetizer

22. Vintage Christmas appetizers: “Philly pate” (1964)

This Christmas-tree-shaped treat contains Philadelphia cream cheese, onion, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, and 8 ounces of liver sausage. The decoration on top is made of more cream cheese, with little pimiento stars.

Philly pate (1964)

23. It’s a Christmas pickle tree! (1956)

Holidays are pickle days, and Heinz packs a pickle to please every taste, in jars so convenient and thrifty you’ll want to spark your meals with many kinds — sweet and spicy or tart and puckery!

Dec 17, 1956 Christmas pickle tree

24. Olive-cheese porcupine holiday appetizer (1960s)

Olive-cheese porcupine holiday appetizer (1960s) at Click Americana

25. Mighty Mousse tomato soup salad mold (1967)

While not strictly a Christmas appetizer/salad, this baby is red and green with soup all over. Yep — this recipe is from Campbell’s, and contains tomato soup, sour cream, gelatin, chicken, cucumber, olives and onion. (Apparently it could also be a main course.)

Mighty Mousse tomato soup salad mold (1967)

TRY THESE, TOO: It’s time for retro appetizers in fun shapes! Get these Cheddar-sherry, ham spread & cream cheese spread recipes (1968)

26. Strawberry-grape Christmas tree (1969)

Strawberry-grape Christmas tree (1969) at Click Americana

27. Vintage Christmas appetizers on a tidbit tree (1965)

This is more than the food — it’s art! To make it, sink a 3′ by 3/4″ dowl in a flowerput filled with plaster of paris. Add a circle of plywood for the tray. Top with 3 foam balls. Wrap the dowel with ribbons and the balls with foil. Attach appetizer tidbits with toothpicks.

A towering tidbit tree (1965) at Click Americana

28. A stuffed olive Christmas tree (1983)

A stuffed olive Christmas tree (1983) at Click Americana

Make this easy & elegant frosted ribbon sandwich loaf from the 1960s

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Comments on this story

6 Responses

  1. Back in the ’70s, my mom made that shrimp tree. She also did a tree with broccoli and cherry tomatoes. She made shrimp dip using canned shrimp, cream cheese, and chili sauce that she served with Fritos. My sister and I developed shellfish allergies so she quit making the shrimp dishes. She also bought those cocktail breads and spread them with all those Underwood canned meats (deviled ham, corn beef, and chicken) and made cracked glass salad. My aunt always made some kind of cheese ball plus spray cheese on Ritz crackers and something with Vienna sausages. My young, stupid self I thought we were so sophisticated. Never saw any candle salad thing though, even when we visited our hipper relatives.

  2. In the 70s, it seemed like everyone got at least one nut-covered cheese ball at Christmas; I guess they were that era’s version of fruit cake. My parents thought they were really special and bought them for everybody, usually from one of those pop-up Hickory Farms stores that were in malls around the holidays. Unlike fruit cake, though, most people did like cheese balls, and those that didn’t could serve them to guests or put them in the break room at work.

  3. While a few of them are a bit off the wall and all of them are somewhat odd looking if you look at the actual ingredients most of them don’t actually sound that bad. How bad can cream cheese, ham and Fritos be?

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