Even though everyone’s singing “It’s the most wonderful time of the year,” endless to-do’s make even the most energetic of us feel like we need a nap. One that lasts ’til January 2nd, preferably.
Since we can’t sleep until the holidays  are over – and you don’t want to miss all the fun! – the next best thing is to maximize the time we do have. We can make sure everything runs according to plan, and take care of the small things so you can focus on the big, finishing touches.
Try these last-minute tips from Rach, and don’t forget to grab a (healthier) eggnog  or two and put up your feet for a few!
Step Up Your Mise en Place
“Mise en place ,” the French term for having “everything in its place” is handy when you’re prepping a recipe. Use this tactic for as many of your holiday recipes as possible. Simply prep, chop, slice, dice, wash, mince (you get the idea) all the ingredients for your dishes as much as you can the day before. Then when it’s time to cook, you’re ready to go!
Try an Edible, Last-Minute Gift
One of Rachael’s favorite holiday gifts to give is a nice, warm dinner like a lasagna . Bake up your own, and gift it in a pretty casserole dish  (Rachael has a few! ) for your host or hostess to keep once the meal is devoured.
Keep Hot Food Hot
Timing your dishes just right so everything’s warm is a tough job when you’re balancing a lot of recipes at once. If your bakeware  isn’t oven-to-table , try warming your serving dishes in the oven before you add food to them. Or, bundle up your dishes with a layer of foil, and then add dish towel on top to create insulation and keep recipes like roasts  and casseroles  from drying out.
Whip it Good
Make your holiday desserts extra-fancy by adding your own, flavored whipped cream . Whipped cream is a cinch to make when you have a hand mixer , and it’s easy to get creative by folding in spice combinations like nutmeg and almond liqueur  or even coffee .
Ice, Ice, Baby!
Make your holiday drinks super-pretty by adding garnishes like cranberries, orange slices, or fresh herbs to the cubes themselves. They’ll look gorgeous, and add a punch of flavor as they melt.
Have a Lazy Morning
Prep Christmas breakfast the day before so you can wake up, pop your dish in the oven, and relax while the family opens presents. Dishes like strata  keep exceptionally well, as do breakfast bakes like french toast casserole  or this quick version that uses toaster waffles !