Giada's advent calendar doesn't hold chocolate this year - it's full of tips for the best holiday season ever.
Even though it's not an Italian custom, I love advent calendars at this time of year. They're such a fun way to count down the days till Christmas and make every day of the holiday season feel extra-special. Traditionally, these calendars hide a piece of chocolate or small treat for each day of December through the 25th; some families now make their own versions with small inspirational messages or prompts to do good every day.
Because I love going all out for the holidays, I've collected quite a few tricks and shortcuts to make the sometimes stressful celebrations easier. Between hosting family, shopping for gifts, and finding time to get together with all of your friends, there's a lot to do in one short month! It can get overwhelming - but I'm here to help.
So my advent calendar this year is something a little different. Every day, instead of a piece of candy, I'll be revealing a little tip or trick to make your holiday a little bit easier. From gift wrapping to hosting dinner parties, I've got 25 pieces of advice for every occasion that are guaranteed to make your December run smoothly. Check back often, and get ready to have the best holiday season ever!
Dec. 1. For an interactive twist on your next holiday party, start with a delicious cocktail recipe and plan around it.
Dec. 2. Use Post-it notes to label platters and serving utensils so you're never left empty handed.
Dec. 3. Wreaths aren't just for front doors, they make a great centerpiece in a pinch, too!
Dec. 4. One of the easiest ways to add flavor to soups, stews, and even braised meats is to toss a parm rind into the pot and let it simmer.
Dec. 5. Deck the halls (and tables) with wrapping paper to create a festive, fuss-free table runner!
Dec. 6. Put paper snowflakes to sweet use as baking stencils.
Dec. 7. Aunt Raffy's swears by this two-buck Chuck Sangria recipe.
Dec. 8. My motto for a stress-free Feast of the Seven Fishes: have one dish in the oven, one on the stove and one already done!
Dec. 9. Keep an easy recipe in your back pocket and never stress about entertaining again.
Dec. 10. The absolutely cheesiest, gooiest, meltiest mashed potato recipe ever.
Dec. 11. Flavored ice cubes keep your cocktails cold without watering them down.
Dec. 12. Skip the store-bought gifts and bring a tasty treat you know they'll love.
Dec. 13. More hands in the kitchen means less work - and more fun - for everyone
Dec. 14. Run out of time? Doctor up a store-bought angel food cake for an impressive finish.
Dec. 15. Keep wine where it belongs - in your guests' hands - by tagging their glasses.
Dec. 16. Don't drive yourself crazy trying to guess what people will eat - just ask!
Dec. 17. Cook like the pros and serve a main dish that can be done the night before.
Dec. 18. Simmer a pot of holiday aromatics to make your home festive and inviting.
Dec. 19. Turn your roast into a centerpiece with some herbs and a little decorative flair.
Dec. 20. You'll get a whole new dish out of this 5-minute fix - and make that panettone last a little longer.
Dec. 21. Put the do-all appliance to work keeping soups, stews, and drinks warm and ready to serve while you entertain.
Dec. 22.Save time - and mess - by enlisting the help of a local bakery to throw a cookie decorating party.
Dec. 23. Pump up your cocktail party with a sweet and savory snack that's as simple as 1-2-3!
Dec. 24. Give guests a job to make them feel at home when they're in your home.
Dec. 25. Happy Holidays!