Southern Mom Loves: 5 Tips for Entertaining and Making Family Memories at Easter

5 Tips for Entertaining and Making Family Memories at Easter

Saturday, March 14, 2015

This is a sponsored post; All opinions are my own.

Easter is a time for family; A time for gathering with the people you love and making memories that will last through the years. In our house, it was always my mother that hosted the holidays. She made sure that our family gathered for every one, that my brothers and our families would always stay close, and we're forever grateful for that. It taught us the importance of family, and of tradition. When she passed, that task fell to me.

I can't say that I relish the task of planning and hosting every gathering the way she did. It's a lot of work planning a menu, shopping, cooking for days sometimes, polishing silver, and making sure everything is ready at the same time. Add that to everyday chores, meals, and work, and it sometimes feels impossible. 

I miss the days when I was a guest, and could just hang out with my siblings, being seated when I was told that everything was ready. I would help clean up when it was over, and that was the extent of my involvement in the holiday meal. I want my guests to feel just as relaxed without leaving me feeling overwhelmed, so over the years I've come up with a few tips and shortcuts to help get the meal on the table without being trapped in the kitchen for days, and I want to share them with you.

Break out the fancy china. If you have heirloom or wedding china and silver, Easter is the perfect holiday to use them. It can make a holiday meal look polished, even if you didn't spend a ton of time on it. If you have heirloom pieces, it will be a great reminder of holidays past, and if you're using new pieces, you will be making memories for the years to come.

Save yourself some time in the kitchen. Plan on serving a few ready-made dishes. That way you can concentrate on making your family favorites, and you won't spend days prepping, baking, and brining, with the alarm clock set so that you can start roasting at 6 am. 

One of our traditions has always been Honeybaked Ham. It's the best ham I've ever tasted anywhere, and there's no substitution for their tender meats with sweet, crunchy glazes. We all look forward to this treat around the holidays, but did you know they also offer appetizers, casseroles, and desserts? This year, I grabbed a Mini Ham, Smoked Turkey Breast, Green Bean Casserole, and Sweet Potato Souffle. 

The sides are just as delicious as you would expect from Honeybaked Ham, and are so convenient; You just heat them up and serve. That way, my main dishes were all out of the way so that I could focus on presentation, making the extra dishes that everyone expects, and actually spending time with my family this year.

Give your guests options. Plan your meal as usual, but imagine all the ways that your dishes can be served or accompanied. Provide all the extras and your table will instantly go from stuffy to appealing. For instance: If you're serving a ham or turkey, include things on the table like sandwich buns and condiments. Maybe you can't please everyone, but you can give them options that can make their meal more enjoyable.

Presentation can make ho-hum dishes look delicious. Instead of just placing a store-bought pie on the table, serve it on a pedestal grouped with coffee; It will instantly look more appealing.

The same goes for a dish like Deviled Eggs. They can look bland on their own, but place them on a pretty platter with some color contrast, and everyone will devour them.

Kitchen Hack: If you're making deviled eggs and you don't have a pastry bag to pipe the yolks back in, never fear! Use a ziploc bag with one of the corners cut off. If you have icing tips and couplings, you can fit them right into the corner of the bag. Also, if you don't have an egg tray, play the eggs on top of lettuce leaves so they don't slide around. It's just a bonus that it looks so pretty!

Most importantly, remember why we do this. It's for family, and making memories for the generations to come. Have fun, and if you're feeling stressed, throw in a few shortcuts. In the long run, no one will remember that you didn't actually roast the ham yourself, they'll remember the smiles and conversation. 

And also dessert. Everyone remembers dessert. ;)

Make your celebration delicious and easy, and spend your time where it matters this year.

Who hosts your family holidays? Is Honeybaked Ham one of your traditions? Do you have any holiday tips? I'd love to hear them in the comments below. Happy Easter everyone!

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