Tsue ~ That's What She Said: Busy Mom Tips: Holiday Entertaining Survival Guide

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Busy Mom Tips: Holiday Entertaining Survival Guide

Over the last many years, my professional life has dominated the holiday season, presenting a number of challenges in planning and preparing for hosting holiday gatherings.  Out of necessity, and no small amount of desperation, in years past I have developed several tried and true techniques to help this busy Mom survive holiday entertaining and come out smelling like roses, or more appropriately, gingerbread.

Having to pull together a holiday home, complete with food and fun to entertain family and friends in literally hours, as opposed to days, requires steel determination, creativity and a great source of inspiration.  While I am looking forward to an atypical wealth of additional time and energy for holiday planning and preparations this season and, dare I say it, perhaps even baking, I will likely continue to take advantage of holiday time-saving techniques I have relied upon in the past, allowing more time to enjoy with my family.

Holiday Inspiration, Holiday Flowers, Holiday Blooming Flowers,

Holiday Entertaining Tip
Select fresh seasonal flowers and plants while shopping for holiday meals 
to brighten your home and create a festive feel.  
Their presence will add fresh seasonal color 
and can be placed quickly.

If time to plan my holiday event were not limited, I might comb Pinterest  to entice my holiday entertaining muse, however, despite annual post holiday commitment to begin my holiday shopping early in the next year, I usually find myself shopping online for last minute gifts.  However, finding and utilizing an inspirational Holiday e-Guide can be nothing short of a saving grace, particularly if you find one filled with easy and quick holiday resources for meals and gifts.  Although many stores offer guide in store for shoppers, when pressed for time, the advantage of previewing a helpful entertaining guide prior to shopping is certainly a boon.  Once stepping foot in the grocery late in the season, it can be difficult to concentrate on anything other than navigating through the throngs of like-minded and frantic shoppers.  Review the guide at home and allow your creative ideas to solidify en route to your shopping destination.

Holiday gifts, Holiday e-Guide, Au Natural Holiday Decor, DIY Holiday Decor, White Holiday Decor
Holiday Decor Trends ~ Holiday Celebrations 2012 e-Guide

Holiday Entertaining Tip
When looking for new holiday decor elements for your home, 
take a moment to explore the latest trends.  This year's top trends are 
DIY, Au Natural and White decor themes.

Although you may be pressed and lacking in unrestricted time for planning and preparing your holiday gathering, split up the tasks as you are able, tackling each step individually, rather than as a whole.  Recruit assistance from family members to help.  I have often found that my teenage daughter is well-suited to connect with extended family members, coordinating schedules and creating invitations. My son and husband are called upon for pre-gathering cleaning tasks and assistance in gathering our holiday decorations and placing them.  While I likely make a sweep through the house to reconsider and make adjustments to the not so careful placements, the process of fine tuning requires much less time than starting from scratch.

Holiday Celebrations 2012 E-Guide, Holiday gift guide, holiday e-guide, holiday shopping, holiday gifts, Holiday Decor White Theme, Holiday Decor DIY
Holiday Decor Trends ~ Holiday Celebrations 2012 e-Guide
Holiday Celebration 2012 e-Guide Tips
Be Smart ~
 intimate gatherings are easier to manage 
than large affairs when time is of a premium

Be Realistic ~
plan your party theme around your time restrictions, 
appetizers and cocktails are easier to serve  multi-course formal meals

Be Early ~
issue your invitations early as holiday schedules fill quickly

Be Personal ~
add personal touches throughout your decor 
and dazzle your guests with your signature dishes

Be Present ~
plan your preparations and meals to ensure yourself 
maximum time to enjoy and interact with your guests

Whether your holiday gathering is informal or full fare, when time is a precious commodity, focus your energies in the kitchen on creating your special recipes and take advantage of easy appetizers and side dishes  that are quick to prepare and easy to serve.  While starters and side dishes may be easy to prepare from scratch, the less fuss involved in your menu, the lesser the chance of calamity in the kitchen.  Although I was reluctant to adopt this philosophy in my early years of entertaining, after two holidays of narrowly averted disaster, missing most of my event due to challenges with my menu, I was happy to convert to a smarter party planning routine.

Holiday gift guide, holiday e-guide, holiday shopping, holiday gifts, Tyson, Bruschetta, holiday dining

This holiday season, I have found a wealth of inspiration from the Holiday Celebrations 2012 e-Guide.  Brimming with helpful tips, wonderful gift suggestions, decor trends and easy holiday menu ideas and recipes and even advise regarding best personal looks for the holidays within, I consider it an excellent resource for both busy mothers and those with the advantage of time on their side.  Although some of my holiday menu is planned, I had been struggling with decided upon starters and appetizers and found an excellent suggestion within the guide.

Holiday gift guide, holiday e-guide, holiday shopping, holiday gifts, Tyson, Bruschetta, holiday dining

My family loves bruschetta and while I enjoy creating it at home, with the easy starter suggestion of Tyson anytizers Bruschetta, I decided to try out this version on my family at home to see if it would be an acceptable contender to include for our upcoming gatherings.  I found two delicious varieties at Walmart - Chicken & Bacon and Chicken & Spinach.  Beyond the generously sized packages and reasonable price, I found the bruschetta images on the package very appealing, increasing my optimism about our taste test.

Holiday gift guide, holiday e-guide, holiday shopping, holiday gifts, Tyson, Bruschetta, holiday dining

Once home, I was pleased by both the size of the individual pieces as well as the number contained in the bag.  Unlike many prepared appetizers I have explored, I was heartened to note all the ingredients were solidly on each piece, rather than piecemeal at the bottom of the package.  Easy preparation, simply heat for a few minutes in oven or toaster oven, the results were beyond my anticipation.

Holiday gift guide, holiday e-guide, holiday shopping, holiday gifts, Tyson, Bruschetta, holiday dining

Easily beyond what I would have anticipated in a frozen appetizer, the taste was exceptional and readily accepted by all members of my in home taste testing crew.  As I have often found with many of the Tyson products, my biggest folly was in only purchasing one package.  Crisp base, well sized pieces of chicken and fresh looking tomatoes, the Chicken & Bacon Bruschetta was heartily enjoyed.

 Holiday gift guide, holiday e-guide, holiday shopping, holiday gifts, Tyson, Bruschetta, holiday dining

Not only will I be serving this delightful, easy to prepare bruschetta at my upcoming gatherings, I have no doubt this will become a regular staple in my freezer.

Find more enticing holiday inspirations from 

What is on your holiday menu this season?
Do you have any tips for surviving holiday gathering planning?
Tell me in a comment below!  I'd love to hear your thoughts!

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias®  and Tyson #CBias #SocialFabric. The opinions above are both honest and of my own experiences. Non-original photos cited above.


Tonia Sanders said...

OMG...I must have this TODAY! I hope it tastes as good ad your photos look.

Pam said...

My holiday menu is going to include something that is easy to prepare. I don't know what but I will find something!

Crystal Threeprncs said...

We do ham, simple sides and lots of baked goods! For New Years I just order heros the day before. It's my day off ;)

mandala said...

We always have the traditional Christmas ham, pasta and fruits.

Shelby Barone said...

What a great survival guide. This helped me so much during the holidays!!

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