Photo by Inspired by Charm

‘Tis the season for holiday entertaining. One of my favorite things to do this time of year is to gather with friends and family and treat them to an array of tasty confections. Today, I wanted to share a creative and stylish way to serve up those seasonal sweets: A Festive Holiday Dessert Bar.


Photo by Inspired by Charm


Photo by Inspired by Charm

You’ve heard of a bar cart. This is similar, but we’re substituting sweet treats for all the drinks. How bad can that be, right? Here in my own dining space, I cleared out the bar cabinet and filled it with cake, cookies, and candy for a holiday party I was hosting. It was such a hit that I couldn’t resist sharing it with you and showing you how to set up a dessert bar of your own. As you’ll see, it’s not hard to do.

Step 1: Select a Bar or Cabinet

Almost anything will work. I used this vintage pie safe turned bar cabinet, but you could use a more traditional bar cart, a table, or even a bookcase. Any piece of furniture that can hold an assortment of desserts and treats will do nicely.


Photo by Inspired by Charm

I find it easiest to clear everything out and start with a clean slate. This also gives you flexibility for displaying the sweets. Bring in a few cake stands or even a stack of books to create different levels.

Step 2: Make Something Sweet

I recommend baking one or more handmade desserts depending on the size of your gathering. I had a handful of people over so a large cake was perfect. I kept it simple with a red velvet cake and my favorite cream cheese frosting.


Photo by Inspired by Charm


Photo by Inspired by Charm

For a festive touch, I made a border with whole peppermints and sprinkled crushed peppermints on top. A cake like this is a great option if you aren’t a skilled baker or don’t have lots of time. You can use your favorite cake recipe or a box mix.


Photo by Inspired by Charm 

The holidays can be a busy and stressful time. Don’t feel the need to make everything from scratch. As a host, I encourage you to enjoy the celebration, too. Which leads me to my next step…

Step 3: Load Up on Goodies

Head to HomeGoods and load up on an assortment of confections. Grab a cart and hit up the gourmet section for dozens of treats you can add to your holiday dessert bar. I found caramel popcorn, caramels, chocolates, peppermints, marshmallows, candy canes, and more. I can assure you there will be plenty of goodies to choose from.


Photo by Inspired by Charm


Photo by Inspired by Charm


Photo by Inspired by Charm

If you think your dessert bar still needs a little something, visit your local bakery and purchase holiday cookies or cakes. Again, you don’t need to make everything for a get-together to be special. Setting up this dessert bar should save you time and stress, not add to it.


Photo by Inspired by Charm

Step 4: Tuck in a Few Plates

With all of your treats in place, you’ll want to add napkins, plates, flatware, and serving utensils. I recommend setting out several sizes of plates. That way if someone only wants a taste, they can grab a cocktail plate. On the other hand, if a person wants a big slice, they can grab a dessert plate. HomeGoods has a ton of different serving plates – holiday-themed, traditional, paper, plastic, glass- really whatever your heart desires!


Photo by Inspired by Charm

Also, if you’re serving something like a cake, you can slice it in advance so that guests feel comfortable helping themselves. No one wants to be the first person to cut into your beautiful cake.

Step 5: Add Holiday Style

Last but not least, bring on the glitter and glow of the season. I went gaga for the mercury glass trees I found at HomeGoods this year, so I had to include a few of those. They added instant bling and Christmas appeal.


Photo by Inspired by Charm


Photo by Inspired by Charm

I also like to include something vintage or homemade. For this holiday dessert bar, I used both. I found these vintage mice, which I thought were a quirky nod to the phrase “not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.” My DIY wood bead garland adds texture and color to the entire bar. You can learn how to make the garland here.


Photo by Inspired by Charm


Photo by Inspired by Charm

As you can see, with these five simple steps, my holiday dessert bar is party ready. All that’s left to do is dig in with my guests! And that’s my favorite part.

I hope you’re feeling inspired to create your own Festive Holiday Dessert Bar this season. Make it unique by offering the treats you and your guests love most and matching it to your personal style.

Michael Wurm Jr. is a paid blogger and founder of the popular lifestyle blog, Inspired by Charm, where he shares his love for a decorated life. Whether it’s ideas for easy decorating, a delicious recipe, entertaining inspiration, or a unique DIY project, his goal is to provide tools and tips for everyone to live a happy, colorful life. You can also find Michael on InstagramPinterestFacebook, and Twitter


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