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Vanessa Druckman

Vanessa, also known as Chefdruck, is a foodie, writer and mom living in Chicago with her husband and four children. Whether you're planning a holiday dinner party or small impromptu get together with friends, Vanessa has easy menu ideas and helpful tips to minimize your time in the kitchen so you have more time to spend with your friends and family. Vanessa's personal blog can be found at chefdruck.com

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New Holiday Traditions

5 Tips for the Big Holiday Feast

Tollhouse crackers with star shaped cheese

When my parents divorced, I thought that it would be the end of our Christmas family dinner. But a few weeks after the big announcement, I came home from work to find a huge cardboard box on my stoop from my mom. Inside, nestled amidst decades of yellowing newspaper clippings, were all our tree ornaments.

I had officially been put in charge of Christmas.

Ten years later, our Christmas traditions are as entrenched as ever. My sisters and their families converge upon our house for a week of family quality time, culminating in a marathon dinner featuring smoked salmon, foie gras, oysters, shrimp, turkey, cheeses, and yuletide log. Cooking for the feast takes days and I have little time to dedicate to creating the children's meal, but I still want them to have a special night. Thankfully, over the years I've devised a few strategies to ensure they have a memorable dinner, too, without making me crazy.

My 5 favorite tips for the big holiday feast:

  1. Children's palates are not sophisticated and they don't expect fancy ingredients. For them, the night is all about tradition and fun.
  2. A gorgeous table is half the battle. We break out special holiday paper plates and tablecloths.
  3. To set the tone that this meal is different, we begin with appetizers. I focus on simple food presented beautifully, like crackers topped with American cheese in holiday shapes.
  4. For the main course, we opt for the familiar: chicken nuggets or noodles.
  5. Our last course is a dessert platter featuring familiar ingredients presented with a holiday touch like crackers topped with Nutella, banana slices, and sprinkles or these chocolate-dipped Rice Krispies Treats.

Tollhouse crackers with star shaped cheese

This recipe was submitted by a Cheez-It® Crackers and Keebler® Town House® Crackers fan. Cheez-It® Crackers and Keebler® Town House® Crackers do not test or endorse any of the recipes submitted by users.

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