I host Christmas Eve for my family. it's the one holiday I get, and I love it! The general idea is several hours of appetizers (our favorite course) while we're playing games, then sit down at the table to a bit of French Onion soup and Christmas cookies.
For the appetizers, I like to get as close to the "seven fishes" concept as is practical as an homage to my ancestry, although not iron clad. There will be 15 or so people this year, ranging from age 8 to AARP eligible. As much as can be done ahead of time is better! We have some tried-and-true favorites, but I'm always looking for new twists.
I'd prefer everything to be gluten free (so my celiac niece doesn't feel 'special' in a bad way), and so that once I degluten my kitchen work space, I don't need to worry about cross-contamination. I've used firm polenta, corn chips, apple/pear slices, gluten free crackers as "vessels".
Potato nests with creme fraiche and smoked salmon (my sister's favorite)
Crab cakes (using gluten free waffles as the bread crumbs, my nephew's favorite)
Tuna - some kind of ceviche? Tried it before but definite use error.. it was too oily
Scallops - I've typically done seared scallops on parmesan cheese crackers, which folks love, but a different twist would be nice
Shrimp - Maybe a shrimp avocado salad in Chinese spoons (just got these cool Chinese spoons -- have to use them!)
Baccala salad - traditional Italian, but how to serve?
Potato pancakes with sour cream and caviar - too hard to make ahead? I don't like caviar myself, but it's another fish...
Something with prosciutto/salami - definitely need to have something along this lines :)
I open it to the Chow community... I love reading these boards, and you always give me new ideas! Thanks :)