Gathering around the table with friends and family is the true essence of the holidays. Here, some tips for no-stress entertaining to take you through the festive season.
1. FAMILY & FRIENDS
3. DECORATE TOGETHER
Enlist the help of the kids and grandkids to deck the halls. If you’ve got heirlooms, you can take this opportunity to tell stories and share some precious family history. And their child’s eye may help you add a bit of merriment and whimsy into this year’s decor. Why not set out a bright mixing bowl of vintage ornaments?
4. PLAN YOUR MENU
With greater foodie awareness comes the knowledge that one size does not fit all. Food sensitivities, allergies and lifestyle choices are something to be considered when curating the holiday menu. Visit your local Metro for fresh seasonal picks that will add a healthy variety of smart food. We suggest – more vegetable side dishes, using gluten-free bread for the stuffing and offering sparkling water in lieu of sparkling wine.
5. THE PERFECT SIDE
Whether you call it stuffing, dressing or the yummy side dish that cooks along with the bird, we have easy ways to make it from scratch or – shh! we won’t tell – the best brands that come out of the packaged goods aisle. Health tip: add fresh or frozen cranberries to boost the antioxidant and vitamin factor of this classic side dish.
6. GUEST LIST
Are you having friends? Family? Both? Is it a multi-gen affair? Think about how Great Uncle Frank may feel about sitting next to your going-through-the-Goth-phase niece. Yeah, we thought so too. Enlist the kids or grandkids to help create place settings — who doesn’t love bold crayon printing in holiday red and green? — and let the festivities begin. Great Uncle Frank may just learn a new thing or two.
7. SMART SWEETS
Ice store-bought cookies. You’ve got enough to do, so there’s no shame in buying premade cookies and decorating them yourself. In fact, it’s better than that — it’s sweet genius. We give you permission to take all the credit too.
8. PLAY LIST: DINNER PARTY MIX
Jingle bell rock! From Kenny Rogers to Ella Fitzgerald to Charlie Brown, set the mood with a soundtrack that will have you dancing while decking the halls and roasting chest-nuts on an open fire
Kenny Rogers: Once Again It’s Christmas
We’re no gamblers, but you can bet Rogers’ first holiday disc in 17 years will prove a hit, setting a down-home country mood with his unique take on traditional Christmas favourites.
The Tenors, The Perfect Gift
Talk about the ultimate Christmas carollers! Set the mood and add a little operatic flair to your holiday festivities with Canada’s favourite classical foursome and their hugely popular 2009 Christmas offering.
Ella Fitzgerald, Ella Wishes You A Swinging Christmas
9. STAY WARM
Wool throws scattered about, extra slippers and thick socks in baskets at the front door and, of course, a warming drink. Think hot chocolate for wee ones, and a warm-you-up eggnog for the adults. Try our recipe on the last page.
10. TABLETOP TIPS
When it comes to setting the table, let the food be the star. White plates, crystal -clear glassware for sparkle, and for a hit of holiday cheer, patterned linens in the colours of the season: blue, white and silver for Hanukkah; green, red, silver and gold say Merry Christmas.
11. WRAP LIKE THE PROS
A simple colour palette is the key to elegant parcels – choose neutrals (as the gold tones above) or use cherry brights with a mix of tartans or a hit of green or silver. For the little ones, reindeer, snowmen and Santa prints will catch their eyes under the tree. Silver bells and blue and white stripes will suit any of the nine days of Hanukkah.
12. RECIPE: HOLIDAY EGGNOG
There are a lot of recipes for eggnog, but this is our go-to when the cold weather sends us inside to cozy up by the fire.
- 10 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup brandy
- 2 cups rum
- 2 cups cream 15%
- 4 cups 2% milk
Separate whites and yolks of eggs.
In a bowl, beat egg whites with 1/2 cup sugar until stiff peaks form. Set aside.