Everyone needs a few appetizers in their holiday repertoire; here are my sure-fire five. As easy to make as they are to eat, this is elegant finger food that doesn't require plates, forks or knives. They all can be prepared in about half an hour. Don't forget to dig into the gourmet gifts you may have received from your family and friends (special mustards, fancy chutneys). Why wait for that "special occasion"? It's now. Remember, a hunk of nice ripe cheese, bowls of juicy olives, good pâté, bruschetta and spiced nuts are always in style. It's your party. Have fun!

Beth Dooley is the author of "The Northern Heartland Kitchen."