You’ve decked the halls. Sent out the cards. Now it’s time to plan for the annual family feast that just happens to be at your house this year. The mere thought can send most chief celebration officers (aka holiday-stressed moms) into a tizzy.


Let’s face it, there has to be a better way to get together around the holidays without spending days planning the menu, grocery shopping and spending endless preparation hours in the kitchen hoping everything turns out perfectly, only to come out of the kitchen just in time to say farewell to loved ones.

Guess what? There is. This year, you can look forward to spending time with friends and family without breaking the budget, your holiday spirit or your back. Here are some friendly tips on how to throw a great family feast with less stress, less mess and a lot more fun. It’s easier than you think.

Start early, plan ahead and select easy-to-prepare foods. Simplify your feast as much as possible. To help, chances are your favorite food Web site has some great options and checklists to help you organize these big events. Check out some of the great restaurant-quality seasoned meats and foods at The Tender Filet. You’re just a few clicks away from some great holiday favorites. Choose from a wide variety of main course meats, including filet mignon, lamb, pork or an aged porterhouse steak – each ready to broil or grill to perfection. They’ll never know you didn’t spend hours at the butcher picking out the perfect cuts and seasoning the meat to succulent delectability.

Simplicity is also the name of the game when selecting side dishes. There’s no need to spend all day in the kitchen with last-minute preparations when there are so many great salads and vegetables that can be prepared one to two days in advance. The Tender Filet and many other online food sites provide great options for embellishing your main meal with choices that will both surprise and delight your family and friends. And the best part? Instead of chopping all day, all you do is take it from your refrigerator or freezer and pop it into a microwave or oven. Your guests will think you slaved all day to make their favorites – but only you will know the delicious truth.

And, of course, dessert. You don’t have to be a gourmet baker to offer your guests a delectable dessert. Scrumptious desserts are also just a click away at Carrot cake. Baklava. Tiramisu. Cheesecake. Pecan pie. There is a cornucopia of dessert options ready to serve and enjoy. It would take you hours to replicate these desserts, time better spent in conversations and laughter with family and friends. Simply add coffee, plates and some forks, and this year you’ll be able to be part of the conversation as your guests ooh and ahh over every bite.

Consider breaking a few other traditions. Instead of taking out the good china, take a fresh look at disposable plates, tableware and napkins to further minimize time in the kitchen. Add a few candles, some great holiday music and you’ve achieved a family feast with less stress, less mess and fun memories for all (including you) for years to come.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

More great holiday gift-giving articles and ideas can be found in  our new Holiday Gift-giving Guide at