Make a Christmas Charcuterie Board to Celebrate the Magic of the Season

O Christmas Brie, o Christmas Brie!

overhead view of a Christmas charcuterie board with cheese, crackers, pickles, olives, prosciutto, salami, pomegranate seeds, grapes, and Christmas candies
Photo: Jessica Furniss

'Tis the season for parties and get-togethers, and what better way to set the mood and feed a crowd (small or large) than with a Christmas charcuterie board. But beyond just setting out the usual meats and cheeses, this particular board is special because it highlights ancient symbols that are still a part of our winter celebrations today. Keep reading for instructions on creating this fun holiday-themed snack board along with some fascinating historical facts to share with your fellow snackers.

More: Tips for Food Safety and Charcuterie Boards

Ancient Winter Holiday Traditions

Most of us know that our American holiday celebrations are a mix of ancient traditions from around the world. Many of our modern-day American Christmas traditions come from the Norse winter festival known as Yule. To welcome back the sun, Nordic peoples celebrated with a big feast that incorporated symbolic elements that represented what they hoped for in the year ahead.

Here are some of those symbols that we still use today:

  • Evergreen trees: new life
  • Wreaths: eternal cycle of goodwill and friendship
  • Candles: welcome back the sun
  • Bells: chase away the darkness
  • Holly: hope
  • Yule log: say goodbye to the old year and welcome the sun

To make this board extra special for your holiday parties we're including some of these elements into our Christmas charcuterie board. You can include even more of them if you like –– the possibilities are endless.

Choose Your Ingredients

Charcuterie and snacking boards are the best when they are well balanced with both sweet and savory items, so keep that in mind as you choose fun, seasonal elements for your Christmas charcuterie board:


A trick that works well when choosing your savory options is to select one of each:

  • 1 hard cheese (like Cheddar)
  • 1 soft cheese (like Brie)
  • 2 cured meats (like prosciutto and salami)
  • 1 or 2 types of crackers
  • 1 or 2 pickled vegetables (like olives, gherkins, pickled okra, etc.)


Holiday candies are in every grocer across the country this time of year. Have fun with this part and choose candies that not only look pretty but that your guests will really enjoy.

To get a blend of different types of sweets, add some fruit alongside the candy (both fresh & dried can work well). Grapes work great year round and are a staple on most party snacking boards. Seasonal winter fruits like persimmon or pomegranate add an elegant vibe.

Jams & Sauces

overhead view of a small wheel of Brie cheese with a Christmas tree cutout filled with jam on a Christmas charcuterie board
Jessica Furniss

Every charcuterie board needs a little something to dip into, so I turned a wheel of Brie into a festive Christmas Brie inlaid with colorful jelly. Here's how I did it: I laid the Brie flat and sliced off the top, then used a tree-shaped cookie cutter to stamp out a Christmas tree on the top of the Brie and then filled it with hot pepper jelly for a delicious dip. Adding extra jams and sauces like honey, mustard, ranch, or hummus can make for a yummy board too.

Choose Your Board

You really want to choose your board based on the number of people you're serving. A smaller board might be appropriate for two, while a larger party may call for a big cookie sheet. You can even use a couple layers of parchment paper taped onto a table to create a huge grazing table for a big crowd.

Choose some vessels

Adding shapes and textures to your board is important for the finished look. Since my board is a rectangle I'm adding in some small round vessels of various sizes to give our board a well-balanced look. I also added in some unscented tea light candles to give the board warmth and to add in more of those seasonal historical elements.

Assembling the Christmas Charcuterie Board

Next let's start to figure out where our items will be placed on the board. Items will be laid out in one of these four ways on your board:

  • Lines
  • Stacks
  • Curves
  • Piles

It's a good idea to place your vessels first. They will start to create the structure.

overhead view of a wooden cutting board with small bowls of pickles and olives set out with tea lights to mark where other foods will go.
Jessica Furniss

Note: As you add items you may notice that some of your vessels seem out of place, as I did with the pickles. I simply popped them out of their bowl and put them straight on the board and was much happier with how they looked. I also removed one of the tea lights and rearranged the other two a little. Don't be afraid to move and rearrange items lots of times until your board looks exactly how you want it to look.

Now that our vessels are in place, we can start creating shapes with our food. I started with meats and cheeses. Prosciutto is so pretty when gently draped onto the board into little piles as you can see below in the upper right hand side. While salami looks great in a line, you can also use it to create a rose shape. Along with the jam-embellished Brie, I used a pie crust stamp to cut slices of white Cheddar into holly shapes.

Next, I added crackers. Crackers work really well on the edge of your board because they can act as a border for things that might roll like fruits or candies.

overhead view of a Christmas charcuterie board in progress with cheese, crackers, pickles, olives, prosciutto, salami, and tea lights
Jessica Furniss

Next, I added our sweets. For fruit, I chose green grapes and a red pomegranate for the holiday color theme. I kept half of the pomegranate whole for a rustic look and then used the pearls from the other half to fill in any empty spaces on the board at the end.

You have so many options this time of year when it comes to candy. I chose this fun holiday candy assortment and made some simple peppermint bark. I stacked the peppermint bark, added some candy to a jar, and added a pile of candy tucked in between the crackers and salami. I made mini Yule logs using Little Debbie Swiss Rolls and a little chocolate frosting (for dark chocolate frosting, use dark cocoa powder). If you want to add even more Yule elements with your sweets you could do sugar cookies embossed with shapes like silver bells, or let the kids help make corn cereal wreath cookies.

You can see our candies fit snugly between the row of round crackers and the row of salami. Be mindful not to add sticky sweets next to something wet (pickle juice and candy might not be the best combo).

The last touch is to add in greenery. All charcuterie boards look good with seasonal herbs, but for this board it is especially important because we want to use evergreen herbs to represent welcoming the return of the sun. I chose fresh sage leaves, but sprigs of rosemary or thyme would also look lovely and seasonal.

side view of a Christmas charcuterie board with cheese, crackers, pickles, olives, prosciutto, salami, pomegranate seeds, grapes, and Christmas candies
Jessica Furniss

You can copy my board exactly or use it as a template to create your own beautiful holiday party snacking board. Don't forget to tell your guests about the history and significance of the delicious ingredients since learning these historical facts can create new fun and meaningful holiday traditions for you and the ones you love.


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