Holiday Tips and Tricks for Busy Parents

Celebrating the holidays with kids in tow? Save money, time and sanity this year with these simple, festive meal-prep and entertaining tips.
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Photo By: Jackie Alpers

Photo By: Jackie Alpers ©© 2016, Television FoodNetwork, G.P.All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Jackie Alpers ©© 2016, Television FoodNetwork, G.P.All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Jackie Alpers ©© 2016, Television FoodNetwork, G.P.All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Jackie Alpers ©© 2016, Television FoodNetwork, G.P.All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Jackie Alpers ©© 2016, Television FoodNetwork, G.P.All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Jackie Alpers ©© 2016, Television FoodNetwork, G.P.All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Jackie Alpers ©© 2016, Television FoodNetwork, G.P.All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Jackie Alpers ©© 2016, Television FoodNetwork, G.P.All Rights Reserved

A Holiday Survival Guide

Let's face it: The holidays are fun, but they can also be stressful. There's a lot to do and a lot of expectations, especially when there are kids involved. Here are some ways to ease the load when it comes to holiday meals and parties.

Make Your Own Family Traditions

Just because your grandparents served prime rib every year doesn't mean that you have to do the same. Ring in the holidays with a special meal that your family loves. Family favorites like lasagna or homemade pizza can be just as festive (and more appreciated!). These individual cheese crisps with holiday shapes cut out of ham and bell peppers with cookie cutters are a fun way to start a meal. They are super easy to make, and everyone can decorate their own.

Counterbalance That Sugar Rush

There is always a lot of sugar going around at holiday parties, both at school and with friends and family. But you can counteract your kid's sugar rush (and your own!) by having easy, store-bought and protein-rich snacks on hand. Edamame, apple slices with natural peanut butter, and cheese sticks wrapped with salami are all quick, satisfying fixes.

Brighten Up Every-Night Meals

Stock up on family favorites and incorporate festive shapes into standard weeknight meals that kids already enjoy in order to give everyday weeknight meals a celebratory holiday-season vibe. 

Embrace the "Fail"

Don't feel like you have to be a Pinterest parent! Not everything has to be fancy or look perfect. You'd be amazed at what you can accomplish with a few sprinkles and a cute plate.

Give the Dishwasher a Rest

Stock up on cute, recyclable holiday-themed plates and cups. 

Let Kids Participate

Having easy store-bought ingredients on hand for unexpected guests can double as snacks for hungry kids to assemble themselves. Set out premade phyllo cups and options for fillings such as Greek yogurt, jam, cream cheese, berries, chocolate chips and pudding to let them invent their own creations.

Skip the Big Dinner Altogether

Celebrate at a kid-friendly brunch with a DIY yogurt bar. Put toppings in plastic cups that kids can pick up and sprinkle onto prefilled cups of yogurt. Include a few sweet treats, like chocolate chips, mini marshmallows and sprinkles, along with healthier options, like berries, nuts and low-sugar cereal, to add to the festivity.  

"Kid Food" Isn't Just for Kids

Let everyone indulge in chicken nuggets, Tater Tots, fries and pizza at the holiday party! You may be pleasantly surprised by how happy this makes both kids and adults. This retro, nostalgic menu is especially great for holiday buffets.

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