6th Day of Christmas: Poinsettias Point the Way to Tasty Appetizers

Holiday Poinsettia Veggie Tray with Guacamole Dip for the 6th Day of Christmas.

By Colleen Walsh Fong

“I'll be home for Christmas

You can count on me

Please have snow and mistletoe

And presents on the tree”

-"I'll Be Home For Christmas," by Kim Gannon, Walter Kent, and Buck Ram

I think of all the things in the lyrics above at Christmas time, and one more: poinsettias. Although they come in all kinds of pretty shades these days, the poinsettias of my youth always bore bright red flowers and Christmas-green leaves. My mom had a few that she kept alive inside for years, pinching them back to keep them from getting leggy. Putting them out for a blast of cold air to turn their flowers red in the weeks before Christmas.

Poinsettias are seen everywhere during Christmas season—in homes, churches, grocery store displays, and in Christmas ornamentation. Their use in Christmas imagery is thought to date back to 16th century Mexico. There, Franciscan friars used the plants as Christmas decorations as early as the 17th century. Many believe the star-shaped flowers represent the Star of Bethlehem and their red color symbolizes the blood of Jesus. Poinsettias are called “Noche Buena” or “Christmas Eve” in Mexico, and they are known as the “Crown of the Andes” in some South American countries.

This year I celebrated the poinsettia and its Mexican heritage in a veggie tray with dip. I made red flowers by cutting strips of red bell pepper, used a basil leave garnish for the plant’s foliage, and guacamole for the pot. The result was appealing to both the eye and the palette, and oh, so easy to make, and to eat. And anything "Easy" is just right for me.

Feel free to use this picture as a reference to make your own poinsettia appetizer. Or take a moment to peruse our 2012 12 Days of Christmas photo series for other ideas, as we roll out a new holiday food picture each day. And check out our smart cookbooks for people on the go. Priced below $8.00 they make wonderful virtual stocking stuffers and gifts for people who love delicious food that’s quick and easy to make. Remember, ebooks can be sent to anyone with an email address!

Stop in tomorrow to see what we’re doing on the 7th Day of Christmas.

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