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
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:
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