Hallmark would have you believe the holidays are a time to celebrate the love you feel for your family. While there is some truth to that sentiment, the reality is, the holidays are an opportunity to argue about who’s the favorite cousin and why no one’s allowed to mention Aunt Ginny’s name anymore. Basically, the holidays are about saying stuff you’ll have to apologize for New Year’s Day. Instead of sticking your foot in your mouth this holiday season, try one of these delicious holiday appetizers instead.

13 Holiday Appetizers to Keep Everyone’s Mouths Busy

From stuffing your face with stuffed mushrooms to popping crispy jalapeno poppers, these holiday appetizers will keep all of the taste buds happy and the mouths too busy for drama.

Perfectly Savory, Subtly Sweet Pumpkin Ricotta Tart

Holiday Appetizers: Pumpkin Ricotta Tart

We all know this time of year is prime time for pumpkin-spiced…well…everything…but this pumpkin ricotta tart recipe is anything but basic (and much better for you than that overplayed latte). The sweetness of the pumpkin and the bold assertiveness of the blue cheese are a match made in Heaven. If only the same could be said for your sister and her new boyfriend, the passive-aggressive yoga instructor who believes deodorant is an option.

Almond-Bacon Cheese Crostini

Holiday Appetizers: Almond Bacon Cheese Crostini

Bacon brings people together, so no holiday appetizer list would be complete without this almond-bacon cheese crostini. The crunch of the toasted baguette against the warm cheesy goodness with crumbled bacon on top? Dear Santa, bring me 10 plates of these!

Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms

Holiday Appetizers: Stuffed Mushrooms

Have you ever eaten so much during the holidays that, come the first of the year, you have to stuff yourself into your pants? Then you’ll know exactly how these sausage stuffed mushrooms feel. But in our opinion, anytime you combine cream cheese, parmesan cheese and pork sausage, it’s kind of hard not to eat “too many”. So feel free to stuff your face guilt-free.

Cranberry Brie Bites

Holiday Appetizers: Cranberry Brie Bites

Growing up, my mother would serve a can of cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving. I can still hear the ttthhhrrrooop as the jellified cranberry slid out of the can and onto one of our “good plates.” And that’s how it got served, with imprinted can rings and all on a plate with a big knife.  If this is your memory of cranberry sauce, fear not, these cranberry brie bites use the real deal and taste amazing.

Caramelized Onion Dip

Holiday Appetizers: Caramelized Onion Dip

This is, without question, the best caramelized onion dip you’ll ever have! Now, it does take a bit of time to get those onions perfectly and sweetly caramelized. But the good news is, the recipe calls for some white wine, so you can sip a glass (or three) while you’re stirring those puppies around and around.

Cajun Sausage Puffs with Bourbon Mustard

”Holiday

If you’re like me, you want to get as much booze into you as you can over the holidays. It just makes dealing with family so much more enjoyable, am I right? These Cajun sausage puff pastries are dipped in a bourbon mustard sauce – oh my yum. Admittedly, you’d have to eat a whole bunch of them to maintain your buzz, but that’s an idea I’m totally fine with.

Whipped Goat Cheese, Pomegranate and Honey Tartlets

Holiday Appetizers: Whipped Goat Cheese Tartlets

You know that awkward moment when your son, home from college, introduces his new girlfriend to the family and your mother, with the dysfunctional hearing aid, loudly asks, “Why does she dress like a tartlet?” Now, instead of hemming and hawing with an answer, you can simply exclaim, “Did someone say tartlet?” then grab a tray of these whipped goat cheese tartlets to pass around.

Christmas Tree Spinach Dip Breadsticks

Holiday Appetizers: Christmas Tree Breadsticks

With this recipe for Christmas tree spinach dip breadsticks, refrigerated (readymade) pizza crust dough is stuffed with a cheesy, garlicy spinach stuffing, then formed into breadsticks. Those breadsticks are then formed into a cool, pull-apart Christmas tree. Family get-togethers are often about loved ones ripping each other apart, so here’s a great holiday appetizer you can all rip apart instead.

Crispy Jalapeño Poppers

Holiday Appetizers: Crispy Jalapeno Poppers

Who says the only thing spicy thing in your house during the holidays has to be the conversation with your mother-in-law about whether or not her hair color looks legit? Make smiling and nodding much easier by popping one of these crispy jalapeño poppers into your mouth. The spice will help make your reaction appear more legit as you bring your hand up to your mouth to “gush over how great it looks” while politely avoiding talking with your mouth full.

By the way, if you’d like to avoid this conversation altogether, do NOT spike the eggnog. Lesson learned.

Slow Cooker Candied Nuts

Holiday Appetizers: Slow Cooker Candied Nuts

Family drive you nuts? Make sure to steer on over to this bowl of delicious slow cooker candied nuts. Sugar, ginger and cinnamon cling to these nuts like I cling to my tumbler of mojito, or as I call it, feel better-ade.

Toasted Ravioli Bites

Holiday Appetizers: Toasted Ravioli Bites

It’s the holidays, and I say if you can get away with not using silverware, go for it. You won’t need a fancy tiny fork for these baked ravioli squares. Just grab, dip, and enjoy. And, if you can get away with not listening to your crazy Aunt Beverly about her recent hip replacement, also recommended.

Mini Cheese Ball Bites

Holiday Appetizers: Mini Cheese Ball Bites

We’ve all tried to eat one of those large cheese balls. But after the first couple of people have hacked into it, it begins looking about as appealing as roadkill. This holiday appetizer recipe completely solves that problem. Mini cheese balls served on pretzels stick is pure genius.

Chicken and Veggie Potstickers with Spicy Sesame Dipping Sauce

Holiday Appetizers: Veggie Chicken Potstickers

If you’re set on avoiding the political talk this year, then add these chicken and veggie potstickers to your menu. Not only will this recipe keep you in the kitchen (and out of the line of fire) for at least a good two and a half hours, but will also keep everyone’s mouths nice and busy so they don’t end up saying things that get tumblers of booze thrown at them. Or is that just my family?

Speaking of booze, if you need something else to keep your mouth busy between popping appetizers, then keep a bowl of this White Christmas Punch handy or sip on one of these delicious cocktails inspired by holiday pies – because why not get your booze and sugar in one go?

This holiday season, when you find yourself on the verge of telling one of your family members what you really think, quickly insert one of these appetizers into your mouth instead of your foot. It will no doubt taste better and will save you from that awkward apology later.

Need Ideas for Dessert? Here Are Some Sweet Holiday Desserts