The highlight of any Christmas party is an appearance by Santa -- especially this Santa. Defer to your kids' imaginations when you assemble this appetizer; try mini rice cakes instead of cream cheese for a beard or broccoli for ears. Before serving, bring it to room temperature for the best flavor and consistency.
Make Santa's face by blending the first eight ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Spoon the mixture onto a large piece of plastic wrap and shape it into a ball.
Tightly wrap the cheese and chill it for 1 hour. Unwrap the cheese ball and place it on a large serving tray.
Drape new plastic wrap over the cheese, then flatten and shape it into a face. Remove the wrap and turn the red pepper upside down for Santa's hat.
Spoon the whipped cream cheese into a sealable pint-size plastic bag. Seal the bag and make a small snip in a lower corner to create a pastry bag.
Use piped-on whipped cream cheese to stick a radish-slice pom-pom to the hat. Pipe on more cream cheese for a hatband, eyebrows, and a beard.
Press on a carrot nose, a pretzel mouth, olive eyes, and cracker ears. Add cherry tomato halves for rosy cheeks. Makes 8 to 10 servings.
Kids' Steps: Shaping Santa's face and then decorating it with vegetable features are perfect jobs for little helpers.