Ever heard of a North Pole Breakfast? It’s a great way to welcome your elf back for another year, or say hello to a new elf arrival, and kickstart the festive countdown in earnest. It’s the stuff of happy childhood Christmas memories and a brilliant activity for the family to share together at home (making it perfectly 2020-proof!).
We want to stress early that this is not a meal for regular repetition. This is a once-a-year breakfast-to-end-all-breakfasts that’ll make you ‘the best parents in the world’!
Intrigued as to why?! Well, the North Pole Breakfast is based around the four main elf food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns and syrup*! Are you starting to get the picture now?! (We would strongly encourage planning to enjoy this meal directly ahead of a long winter’s walk in your local green space!)
* If you weren’t aware, Buddy the Elf brought us up to speed on elf cuisine in the wonderful classic Christmas movie, Elf.
North Pole Breakfasts are most commonly enjoyed as your elf arrives, to welcome them back or celebrate the new arrival, and of course to help your elf acclimatise! However, many families wait until the first weekend after arrival so that they have the time to really enjoy the festivities.
We think it’d make a great start to Tree Decorating Day! Or, as we said above, perhaps you might like to schedule it ahead of some time outdoors, burning off the excess sugar – either with an explore to gather items to make garlands and wreaths, or perhaps a walk/cycle to hand-deliver Christmas cards in your local area. We have a whole host of ideas for jolly festive walks for you here.
And, if it’s too much for breakfast, why not have a North Pole Afternoon Tea instead? Then, curl up together on the sofa and enjoy a festive movie-athon as you digest.
The beauty of the North Pole Breakfast is that it can include absolutely anything you want and be presented anyway you’d like! Bright, cheery and sugary are the most common themes but the sky’s the limit! Enjoy planning and preparing over the course of a few days with your children, or lay it out one morning as a surprise from your elf. It’s entirely up to you!
We think it makes for a great opportunity to start getting out your decorations, and any little Christmas plates or dishes you may have. Sprinkle these both liberally around the table to really embrace the festive season’s arrival!
As we said above, you could surprise your loved ones with a fully prepared table one morning. Hoever, the North Pole breakfast lends itself readily to full family involvement. Children can easily get to work making welcome signs for the elf, decorating disposable tablecloths and dishes and, of course, helping to prepare the food.
Given the current extended periods of time at home, perhaps this would be a meal best created slowly, with crafting and cooking spread out ahead of time to eek out the fun and anticipation?
This is a meal packed to the brim with fun, colour and festive cheer but, it is also wonderfully versatile. So, mix and match our suggestions below to suit your family. Then relax and enjoy that sugar high!
Elfish themes of sleigh bells, bright red baubles and candle canes are definitely the most popular options. Consider weaving some fairy lights around the dishes for sparkle. And, of course, a gingerbread house would make an amazing centrepiece!
The meal lends itself to a buffet-style approach, with all the food spread extravagantly across the table. As much of the display will be finger-food, it shouldn’t be too much of an issue to find alternative arrangements for where to eat.
Enjoy designing your own sugar-filled display however you please. We’ve included a few ideas below to get those creative juices flowing. We want to highlight however that there is certainly no need to be spending lots on new decorations just for this event; any Christmas themed items will work perfectly to add festive flair to the North Pole Breakfast table. So just have fun and get that imagination working overtime!
We love a white tablecloth with rich red runner to create that classic candy cane stripe.
Alternatively, you could create a snowy vista with some soft toys or small cushions placed strategically under a white table cloth to create an undulating scene. Sprinkle some fake snow or white / sparkly / silver sprinkles around to really make that winter wonderland come to life.
Or, what about wrapping a couple of pieces of wrapping paper across the width of the table at intervals, to create some shorter festive table runners?
There’s no need for a centrepiece at all of course. However, if you’d like a focal point, we suggest considering a small decorated Christmas tree, homemade gingerbread house or even a favourite larger Christmas decoration welcomed back for another year (a snowglobe would work well for example).
Another great option is to use a tiered cake stand, and pile it high with sweets, candy canes and cookies, as well as Christmas pots or mugs filled with treats. This is also an ideal solution if you are short of space!
We would suggest you lay out the dishes of food before adding the final touches so that there’s sufficient room for everything.
Use as many Christmas-themed dishes as you have. Alternatively, you can wrap chopping boards in aluminium foil (with either matt or shiny side facing up) to give them a more festive feel. Or, why not cut Christmas shapes out from red and green card, and place the food on these?
And, there’s so many different ways to give a sprinkling of the season to ordinary tableware: topping plates with Christmas napkins, or adding a decoration or two to the corner of the dish, for example.
We love spilling some of the foods out from packets directly onto the tablecloth, or filling bowls of sweets so much that they overflow. It adds a little elfish mischief to proceedings, and makes the table look all the more inviting to little eyes.
Final festive flairs
Once the dishes are in place, enjoy embellishing with those final little flourishes. Fairy lights entwined around dishes and through sprinkle-made snow look really effective.
Hang candy canes over the edge of a few dishes. Dot a few sweets or chocolate Christmas decorations around haphazardly to make the scene look more fun and relaxed, just as you’d expect an elf playhouse to feel. And finally, sprinkle a few baubles and sleigh bells around here and there to add those flashes of Christmas to the table.
You may also like to put out crackers, a game or even a gift or note from your elf.
It’s hard to know where to start as there are so many different treats which can be incorporated.
One point worth bearing in mind is that much of the food naturally suited to a North Pole Breakfast has a long shelf-life. So, you can afford to go a little overboard on the display to make for a really opulent table. Just pack away the items not consumed ready to be brought out and enjoyed later in the month.
These sweet treats really are the focal point of the North Pole Breakfast.
To start things off, here’s some ideas for what to put on your shopping list. These are the treats that can be added directly to the table without any extra effort.
Then enjoy creating some Christmas characters and truly elfish treats to add to the display. Here are our suggestions:
- Many of the items in the Jolly Festive Recipe Repertoire lend themselves perfectly to the feast. We particularly recommend the brown butter cinnamon Rice Krispie squares as they look so fabulously festive!
- Marshmallow Snowmen
These fun characters will be a brilliant addition to your North Pole Breakfast feast!
- 3 large white marshmallows
- 5 dark or milk chocolate drops
- 1 orange Smartie
- 2 pretzel or Mikado sticks
- A tube of edible glue
- Put a blob of edible glue at the top and bottom ends of one marshmallow. Then stick the other two marshmallows, one to each end. This forms the shape of the snowman.
- Snap each preztel or Mikado stick in half. Insert two into the end of the bottom marshmallow to form the legs, and two into the sides of the middle marshmallow to form arms.
- Use spots of edible glue to add two chocolate drop eyes, three chocolate drop buttons and an orange Smartie nose.
- Leave to set.
- Pancake Stacks
The perfect excuse for incorporating food group number four into your breakfast! Syrup!!
Any American-style pancakes, stacked high with syrup poured on top, will be perfect. However, we cannot resist the opportunity to highlight one of our favourite festive kitchen products: the holiday pancake pan from Nordic Ware.
Nordic Ware are a family-based company, on both sides of the Atlantic. Synonymous with themed cake tins (they were the designers of the original Bundt tin), they have a whole host of festive baking equipment which we absolutely adore! But, it’s their mini pancake pans that we want to share now. These reassuringly weighty pans really are non-stick, easily creating fabulous fluffy little Christmas pancake discs to adorn your table. New this year is the Frozen by Disney snowflake pan, which is ideal to help create your North Pole Breakfast.
- Meringue Snowman Faces
An ideal activity for little hands, these snowmen emojis really look the part on the North Pole Breakfast table.
Simply use spots of edible glue to secure chocolate drop eyes and an orange Smartie nose in place. Then give your snowmen faces different expressions with a tube of chocolate writing icing.
- Strawberry Santa Heads
Another easy make with little ones. Creative Healthy Family shares the details. Just be sure to whip the cream until it is very firm to avoid your Santas collapsing!
- Jelly Pots
With strawberry jelly in a glass bowl, add whipped cream and sprinkles to make it utterly irresistible and fabulously festive!
- Decorated Cupcakes or Cookies
Of course any decorated cupcakes or cookies would work beautifully at the breakfast! Click here for our ideas for Easy Christmas Cookie decorating to get that imagination flowing.
We appreciate that there is balance required in everything, even once-a-year blow-outs! So here’s a few healthier options to include on the table too!
- Fruit Christmas Tree
Layer a mixture of green grapes and other jewel-coloured fruits to form the shape of a Christmas Tree. Or better still of course, use a tree-shaped dish! We love berries here as they look great against the bright green of the grapes. We’ve added a meringue star to the top of the tree. You could use a piece of starfruit instead of course, or an apple slice cut into a star shape. For a final festive sparkle, we have sprayed the tree and star with a few puffs of edible gold shimmer.
- Strawberry & Banana Candy Canes
Using alternate slices of banana and strawberry, form the shape of a candy cane.
- Christmas Porridge
Elf for Christmas has created some beautiful toppings for its porridge to give a Christmas feel to this nutritious breakfast dish.
If your family doesn’t have a sweet tooth, or you just can’t face that much sweet stuff yourself, here are a few suggestions for some savoury alternatives you could add to the display.
- Savoury Christmas Tree
An alternative to the fruit Christmas tree above. Switch out the cocktail sausages for pieces of green peppers if you’d prefer a pork-free option.
- Cream Cheese Snowman
Using two slices of toast, cut two circles of different sizes. Add a thick covering of cream cheese and top with blueberry eyes and buttons, and a strawberry nose to create this adorable snowman.
- Avocado Christmas Trees
This Avocado Toast Christmas Tree from Jerry James Stone is very striking as well as rather tasty!
Hot Chocolate is the obviously North Pole Breakfast go-to beverage! Add whipped cream, mini marshmallows and a candy cane swizzle stick for the ultimate indulgence!
Or, cover the top outer rim of a glass with a little melted chocolate and festive sprinkles. Let it set in the fridge, and then fill with cold milk.
And, we’ve got lots of mocktail inspiration in our round-up if you fancy going for something more a little more unusual!
Gift from Your Elf
We mentioned earlier that you might like to lay out a gift from your elf, as a thank you for the meal.
We think Christmas pyjamas are a great option so they can be enjoyed throughout the whole of December. Or a book to enjoy reading during the countdown to Christmas? Or, what about a fanfare arrival of this year’s advent calendars?
You could of course arrange a gift from your children to the elf as well. With a whole host of elf merchandise now widely available, there are plenty of options to choose between. Or perhaps you could make your elf a little face mask to welcome them to the home, 2020-style!
Activities During Breakfast
Breakfast can certainly just be enjoyed for its own sake. However, you may like to consider an activity or two to extend the celebrations. We have a whole host of festive twists on classic games here. Or check out some of our North Pole Breakfast – specific favourite ideas below.
We’ve love to hear what you decide to include in your North Pole Breakfast! Share your ideas and photos in the comments below. Looking for other activities to enjoy with the family at home – check out our ideas. Need inspiration for what mischief your elf might get up to – check out our Elf Planner for 24 easy-to-arrange suggestions of what to do!