12 Tips to Make This The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Gathering around the table with friends and family is the true essence of the holidays. Here, inspiration for food and fun that will take you through the festive season!

Scroll through for 12 tips for no-stress entertaining!


Two children waiting for Santa Claus

What it’s all about. Togetherness. Gratitude. Finding out who has been naughty and who has been nice. Staying on budget. When you’ve got a mix and match of personalities and ages, tastes and preferences will be just as diverse. Think of diversions that work for the multi-generational guest list: board games like Scrabble and Monopoly, movies that make us laugh – and that are all-ages appropriate – and a kitchen that’s stocked with snacks, treats and fresh fruit like apples and pears.


Red Chili Wreath With Snow

Chilis for a wreath? Taken from nature, the red hot pepper is exactly the right hue for the season. Plus, because the peppers dry in this form, there’s no mess, and the wreath will compost when all is said and done, which is a bonus for the environment too.


Christmas tree ornaments in bowl

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?


Close up of shopping list

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.


Stuffing and wine glasses on table

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.

For festive food, entertaining tips, and holiday drink ideas visit metro.ca


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.


Gingerbread cookie - snowflake

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.


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

This classic, recorded in 1960, will have you bopping around the Christmas tree to the First Lady of Song’s rendition of everything from “Jingle Bells” to “Frosty the Snowman.”


A Charlie Brown Christmas

A favourite for generations, this holiday soundtrack evokes images of the Peanuts gang discovering the true meaning of Christmas. It’ll be a hit at any holiday party, even if you do have a full-size tree.



Diana Krall, Christmas Songs

This 2005 album adds a touch of elegance to every party. Krall’s satin vocals backed by the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra will keep your guests tapping their toes through the new year.




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.


Portobello mushrooms stuffed with goat cheese

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.


Graphic image of trimming for gift

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.


Several glasses of egg nog

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.

In a large bowl, beat egg yolks with remaining sugar until frothy.

Continue beating while gradually adding brandy, rum, cream and milk.

Fold in egg whites with a spatula. Refrigerate until time to serve.

Serve chilled or at room temperature in small glasses

For these and other recipes, visit metro.ca