Christmas, Hanukkah and other holidays are of great fun, laughter, reflections, traditions, and celebration. On the other hand,  they can also be stressful especially if you’re hosting and catering to others. Even if prepared, the season can leave one frazzled and tired.

As a host, it’s vital that you approach the holidays with the operative word in mind, ‘preparation’. Prepping and employing a few salient steps, will avoid you being overwhelmed with this special time of the year. Some of the ways to reduce stress in the kitchen are:

  • Signature drink – Create a signature drink. Example, rum punch, vodka/fresh cranberries. Cranberries are plentiful this time of the year which results in competitive prices in the marketplace. Already, you’re reducing the budget. Reduce cranberries in stock pot and make both a non-alcoholic and alcoholic batch for guests.
  • Instead of several meat dishes, make 1 meat, 1 poultry, 1 seafood and a few vegetable dishes. With this move, you’ll be catering to all and sundry.
  • Cook in advance – There are quite a few dishes that can be prepared and cooked in advance. For example, if you’re making a stew, or roast, this can be done a day or two before. Or, if a baked ham is on the menu, by all means, do this a day or two before the event. Bake those special fruit cakes, rolls, cookies, pies and tarts in advance.
  • Hire help or go store-bought – This is not the time to be a culinary god or goddess. Even Martha Stewart obtains help during these times. If needs be, grab that already baked spiral ham at the specialized store and add your favorite glaze. Wholesale stores like Costco, BJ’s and Sam’s Club carry prepared platters of cheese/crackers, veggies, salads, etc. Bring them home and place them on the your attractive platters. No one will know. They will be a little ‘over the moon’ from that vodka/cranberry drink.
  • Buffet-style – This is the time to be mingling and enjoying your loved ones. By all means, create the perfect setting. Have your loved ones and guests serve themselves.

It’s inevitable; although holidays are of great mirth and celebration, they also bring a little added stress in our lives. They can be emotional. However, employing a few of the above along with other tips, you can reduce some of the pitfalls when it comes to the culinary side of things.

Guys, Merry Christmas!! Feliz Navidad!! Happy Hanukkah!! Happy Holidays!! As always, be kind to your loved ones and well as your beautiful palates.

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