4 Ways to Switch up Holiday Meals

4 Ways to Switch up Holiday Meals

Play up your traditions with 4 fresh ideas that are bound to stick around year after year.



By: Debra Steilen

From setting the table to sharing thoughts of gratitude, the holiday meals takes on a warm, welcoming vibe when you mix creative new activities with the traditions you already love. Try these four fresh ideas for a fun tradition to start this holiday.

1. Fashion a Family-focused Tablecloth
Start a new tradition with an old idea: signatures. During the 19th century, women created signature quilts (quilts with inked or embroidered signatures) as precious memories of loved ones who lived far away. This holiday season, do something similar. Set the table with a washable white tablecloth. Put out boxes of permanent markers made for use with fabric. Ask family and friends to write their names, the date and what they’re thankful for — before the first drop of gravy gets spilled. Use the same tablecloth on subsequent meals to build up years — and yards — of memories.

Tip: Trace around Baby’s hand in lieu of a signature.

2. Enjoy Old-style Seating Arrangements
From crew cuts and poodle skirts to mullets and pegged jeans, yesterday’s fashions provide an unending source of amusement to today’s teens, tweens and toddlers. Add an element of fun to the seating arrangements by incorporating old photos into the place settings.

Beg, borrow or steal images of your holiday guests as children or young adults. Mount the images onto card stock, then lay the mounted images on top of the dinner plates to function as place cards. No names, please; let guests search for their younger selves to figure out where they sit. And be prepared to hear, "I can't believe you ever wore that!"

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Tip: Serving buffet style? Display the mounted photos on miniature easels instead of aboard dinner plates.

3. Put on a Plain-and-simple Potluck
It’s hard to relax when you’re doing all the cooking. This year, make dinner a potluck affair. That way, you’ll get time to visit with your kids, in-laws and grandkids before dinner as well as after. Roast the turkey and make the green bean casserole, if you must, but ask guests to sign up in advance for everything else — so every menu item is covered and there’s no duplication. Guests who beg off cooking due to travel schedules can bring drinks, chocolates or dessert from a bakery. Or, maybe best of all, they can do the dishes.

Tip: Make it a theme potluck, if you dare, for an additional layer of culinary intrigue. Ask guests to add new twists to classic holiday favourites.

4. Plant a Gratitude Tree with Loving Roots
Get back to the real meaning of the day and learn something about each other by creating a gratitude tree. Start with a potted tree (such as a ficus tree or Norfolk Island Pine) or create your own tree-in-a-bucket from long branches anchored in floral foam covered with sand or rocks.

Use fall-coloured paper to create shapely maple, oak, sycamore, gingko or free-form leaves. Punch a small hole in the end of each cut-out leaf and thread a piece of ribbon or twine through it. Tie the ends in a knot to make a hanger. Let guests and family members choose their own leaves, write down what (or whom) they’re grateful for and hang the leaves on the tree. After everyone has hung a leaf on the tree, take turns reading a leaf out loud. Challenge guests to guess who wrote it. Or ask guests to sign their leaves, and save them as mementos to admire during future holiday gatherings.

Tip: No room for a tree? Simply drop the completed leaves in a big basket or clear glass jar.

How does your family do the holidays differently? Log in or register for P&G everyday and let us know in the comments below!

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