9 Creative Ways to Use a Punch Bowl (Besides Serving Punch)

Don't let your punch bowl gather dust this holiday season—reimagine it with one of these uses instead.

<p>Dorling Kindersley: Ruth Jenkinson / Getty Images</p>

Dorling Kindersley: Ruth Jenkinson / Getty Images

There was a time when every holiday party served a vibrant, boozy punch. It made for a festive, refreshing centerpiece, with colorful slices of orange and bright red cranberries dotting the surface. And, while we still love a good punch, they seem to have lost their place as a celebration mainstay. Which means punch bowls often sit unused for years at a time, simply taking up room in a buffet, waiting for the day when there’s a need for a giant crystal vessel.

But a punch bowl doesn’t have to be a one trick pony! From décor to dining, there are countless ways to use a punch bowl that don’t involve rum and juice. Whether you’ve inherited a giant crystal punch bowl from your grandmother or picked one up on a whim from a thrift store, here are some creative ways to use a punch bowl throughout the holiday season and beyond.

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Related: 12 Christmas Table Setting Ideas That Will Enchant Your Guests

Create an Edible Display

The traditional look of edible holiday décor is a beautiful way to accent a tablescape. Instead of sprinkling these items across a table, Laura Calderone, owner and founder of Relish Catering, says, "Fill a punch bowl with edible ornaments, like dried fruit, including citrus or persimmons. Not only are the colors beautiful but they smell nice!"

Set Up a Hot Chocolate Bar

For a fun ending to a winter holiday party, turn a punch bowl into a hot chocolate bar. In a vessel that will keep your beverages hot, make a large batch of hot chocolate. "In the punch bowl, fill fun flavored marshmallows, like cinnamon, peppermint, and ube,” Calderone says. Throw in candy canes and other toppers, then let guests decorate their own hot chocolate from the punch bowl brimming with festive toppings.

Thomas Loof
Thomas Loof

Fill it With Seafood

"Turn your punch bowl into a cool spot for a seafood get-together," says Sarah Klingman, CEO and founder of Gather. She suggests filling the punch bowl with chilled shrimp or oysters on ice, then sprucing it up with fresh lemon wedges, and a handful of herbs. "It's a simple yet classy way to serve seafood with a twist," she says.

Make a Festive Centerpiece

"Line a punch bowl with a layer of greenery, like pine garland, branches, or the trimmings from the bottom of your Christmas tree," says Calderone. She suggests setting in battery twinkle lights, adding round metal or plastic ornaments, then tucking in more greenery. "Holly sprigs with their berries intact would look great. Voila! A perfect dinner table or coffee table centerpiece," says Calderone.

Related: 15 Centerpiece Ideas That Bring a Festive Touch to Your Holiday Table

Show Off a Holiday Dessert

Create a delicious trifle in the punch bowl, using the clear sides to show off the layers of the dessert. "Fill a bowl with chocolate mousse or pudding until it sets," says Calderone. "Top with crushed graham crackers, crushed chocolate wafer cookies, or crushed ginger snaps to look like dirt then dollop whipped cream or marshmallow fluff to create snow mounds." If you’re feeling creative, use pretzel rods to make reindeer to stick in the bowl along with a trail made of round peppermint candies or red and green M&Ms.

Chris Sattlberger / Getty Images
Chris Sattlberger / Getty Images

Chill Champagne and Caviar

If you have a splurge-worthy occasion, give your punch bowl a glamorous old-school touch. "Use your punch bowl to chill your favorite champagne, surrounded by ice. Add little bowls of caviar with some nice spoons around it. It's a nod to the good old days but with a modern, easy-going vibe," says Klingman.

Related: 13 Impressive Holiday Trifle Recipes That Are Actually Easy to Make

Layer a Salad

For another layered idea, Calderone suggests creating a layered salad in a glass punchbowl for a vibrant dish. "Show off a rainbow of colors. Use shaved Brussels, chopped beets, goat cheese, purple cabbage, and carrots, or make a layered green salad with chopped kale, blue cheese, pomegranate seeds, granny smith apples," she says.

Craft a Floral Centerpiece

Use your punch bowl instead of a vase, particularly if it’s a beautifully cut, ornate bowl that will command attention on a table. "Pop a floral sponge in your punch bowl and go to town with a mix of your favorite flowers," says Klingman. "It's a no-fuss way to make your table look fabulous."

Display Floating Candles

"Antique punch bowls are wonderful for floating candles," says Nicole Rodriguez, founder of Adorn the Table. Their cut design patterns twinkle with the candle light and the wide opening of the punch bowl allows the candles to skirt along the surface, dancing in the water. It’s a dramatic and unique alternative to the typical candlelit centerpiece.

Read the original article on Martha Stewart.