The holidays are enough to make you crazy. Don’t get me wrong, I truly do love this time of year, but it’s the one time of year when I’m really doing battle with myself to get it all done yet not miss the joy of the season because I’m so stressed. This year I’m doing a little better (yay!) and I’ve partnered with GIANT Food Stores to bring you some brilliant holiday hacks that will save you time and money in the three areas that seem to cause the most frazzle: food, entertaining, and gifts.
Holiday Food Traditions
Food is a major part of our holidays. We all have traditions of hot chocolate and cookies while decorating the tree, cookie exchanges, and your traditional meal on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. It’s not Christmas without some goodies, right?
One thing I love about GIANT Food Stores is that they not only have all of my favorite brands, but they also have these Limited Time Originals – special flavors and products that change with the season. Right now Peppermint is in and they have a HUGE variety of these special items. They make it easy to carry on our favorite food traditions with yummy treats, the kind you only get to treat yourself to over the holidays!
Let me tell you how thrilled my kids were when I served up this hot chocolate with Peppermint Whipped Cream and Peppermint Sandwich Cookies this past weekend. You know what I had to do to get it ready? Boil some water and stir. That’s it! I love that we had a fun moment that I could also enjoy stress-free.
Make sure you have some snacky snacky stuff on hand in case you have visitors at the last minute. Look for these holiday displays near the entrance of the store. A lot of this stuff is seasonal, so some fun flavors that are special and great for serving to friends that stop by.
Finally, class parties. I am the room mom and while I truly love participating in my kids’ class events, this time of year is no time to throw one more thing on my plate. GIANT has you covered for all kinds of snacks and baked goods that the kids will flip for, and will save you from wrecking your kitchen. I am all about that!
We always have a meal on Christmas Eve at our house and have been hosting Christmas dinner too. Usually sometime during the season friends pop in for a visit as well, and let’s face it: entertaining is so much fun and a great way to spend time with people you love. But when you are hosting, it can be stressful. Here are a few ways GIANT has helped me relax and actually enjoy it.
Nothing says Christmas like a big red poinsettia. GIANT has a huge selection and a lot of other festive arrangements. I’ve found that you don’t need to go too crazy with little trinkety Christmas decor here and there and instead go with a few well-placed poinsettias to do the job of setting the holiday scene.
Here’s another shortcut tip: Get a fresh loaf of bread to serve. There’s something homemade feeling about fresh bread (and no one really cares who made it!). You can serve it with soup or cut up on a wooden board with cheeses and dip. It’s easy to throw together but bread is comfort food and feels homey. It’s perfect for holiday entertaining.
I mentioned one of my biggest GIANT tips earlier: Look for their Own Brand products. This is what I buy and I’m telling you, they are equally as good as the name brand stuff and way more affordable. Nature’s Promise is my favorite for organic products whose price is within reach of my budget.
And again, I love the Limited Time Originals. This coffee creamer is delicious and just the perfect festive touch for the holidays!
No holiday party is complete without dessert. Thank goodness for my Mom who comes to visit me during the holidays and bakes cookies because otherwise, this mama would have a seriously hard time finding the time. This is where you look for the delicious shortcuts GIANT provides.
(Quick tip: Get their Savory magazine. You can find it in your local store, usually either at checkout, the produce section, or the entrance vestibule. I LOVE these magazines. They are filled with easy recipes that use GIANT products and tons of coupons.)
Here’s a recipe I found in Savory magazine for Peppermint Bark Brownies. Look at those 3 ingredients above: ready-to-bake brownie mix, a bag of white chocolate chips, and a bag of Peppermint crushed baking chips. Now look below for the resulting divinity…
These were so good and SO easy!! No one would have ever guessed that they were that simple to throw together. Your guests will be impressed and you only dirtied one dish to melt the chips in. That’s a win, friends.
GIANT has you covered on some great gift ideas, especially stocking stuffers. My family loves specialty food items like hot sauces and salsas and I can always find a nice selection there. Here are a couple other ideas:
Etos bath and body products are my new favorite. Have you tried them? They’re amazing. I’m sort of addicted to the Lavender Tea Hand Cream. Grab a few of these for stocking stuffers (my daughter is getting some – she’s been asking for fun bath and body products!).
And these are the kind of things that it’s smart to have on hand for those gifts you know you’re going to forget: teachers, hairdressers, the mail carrier.
Finally, you can’t go wrong with gift cards and GIANT has a great selection. Look for these near the registers for restaurants, online shopping, and your favorite stores.
I am so thankful for how easy GIANT is making my holiday prep this year. I actually feel somewhat AHEAD which is basically unheard of for me. Check out the GIANT Food Stores Facebook and Twitter pages for more great ways to make the most of this holiday season!
The generous folks at GIANT Food Stores are offering my readers a chance to win a $25 GIANT gift card so you can use some of these hacks to save your money and sanity this holiday season! This giveaway is open to US residents (please make sure you are in proximity to a GIANT so you can use the prize!) ages 18+ and will end at 11:59pm ET on December 19, 2016.