Genius Ways to Ease Holiday Entertaining

Pexels // Nicole Michalou

Feeding a big group of people over the holiday season is exhausting. Luckily, there are ways to ease the stress. Here are a few tips as well as a couple of make-ahead recipes to try out to make the holiday season preparation easier.

Prep Casseroles and Soups in Advance

Choose recipes that can be prepared early and then put in the oven when it’s time to eat. Whether it is lasagna, a breakfast bake, or chicken enchiladas, the solution to holiday entertaining is easy and tasty casseroles.

You can also go for one simple and versatile soup. Offer an impressive spread of toppings for people to add to their bowls. The soup should be vegetarian-friendly if entertaining vegetarian guests, and you can lay out chopped crispy bacon for the meat eaters. You can also offer a mix of garnishes such as salted peanuts, cilantro, chile oil, or pickled red onions.

Making the Holiday Ham

Holiday hams are easy to do ahead of time, too. Order a smoked ham and rub it with a mixture of whole-grain mustard and brown sugar to make it taste homemade. Wrap it tightly in foil. Then, bake at 350°F for 2 to 3 hours, depending on the size of your ham.

After it cools for at least an hour in the foil, serve it sliced with small bakery rolls, sliced pickles, and a spread of different mustards and chutneys. Extra bits of ham can be used for the next morning’s breakfast strata.

Rethinking Pasta

It’s easy to choose pasta when making dinner for a crowd, but pasta suffers when you make it ahead of time. It’s a great idea to make a cacio e pepe, which is simple and easy. Here’s one way to make it.


  • 1 lb spaghetti
  • 1½ cups milk
  • ¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 beaten eggs
  • 2½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 6 oz Fontina cheese, shredded (2 cups)
  • 6 oz sharp white cheddar, shredded (2 cups)
  • Butter for pan
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  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Boil spaghetti until al dente; drain.
  3. Mix pasta with milk, Parmesan, eggs, pepper, salt, and 1½ cups each Fontina and cheddar.
  4. Transfer to a buttered 9-inch springform pan.
  5. Top with remaining cheeses.
  6. Bake for 35-40 minutes until cheese bubbles.
  7. Broil for 2-3 minutes until browned.
  8. Cool for 15 minutes, remove the pan ring, and serve in wedges.

Make a Giant Grilled Cheese Sandwich

This super-cheesy slab pie will make a great lunch for 8 to 10 people at any holiday dinner.


  • 2 sheets of puff pastry, thawed
  • All-purpose flour, for rolling
  • Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar or Gruyère cheese
  • Sliced ham or mortadella (optional)
  • 1 beaten egg
  • Parchment paper
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  1. Preheat oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment.
  2. Roll puff pastry sheets to 10 x 13 inches on a floured surface.
  3. Place one of the pastry sheets on a baking sheet and spread with mustard, leaving a 1-inch border.
  4. Add cheese and optional meat.
  5. Brush edges with beaten egg.
  6. Top with the second pastry sheet; crimp edges.
  7. Eggwash the top of the pastry and make slits with a knife.
  8. Bake 20-30 minutes until puffed and golden.
  9. Cut into squares; serve with mustard or tomato soup.

The Top Holiday Destinations of 2023 Ranked by American Express

Destination-seekers are undoubtedly already looking forward to their next destination. American Express Travel released its Top Destinations List 2023. It features the ten most popular places to visit next year. The team who created the list came to the conclusions based on travel reservations made by holders of global American Express Cards between 2019 and 2022. In the list, you can find both old-time favorites and some new unexpected locations.

Which Are the Trending Destinations for 2023?

Copenhagen, Denmark

American Express Travel’s list includes major cities, islands, and even a small nation. So, the top city destinations to visit next year include:

  • Copenhagen, Denmark;
  • Lisbon, Portugal;
  • Istanbul, Turkey;
  • Paris, France;
  • Mexico City, Mexico;
  • Sydney, Australia;

Where to go if you’re not looking for so-called urban escapes? American Express recommends you visit either the Florida Keys or Yaukuve Island, Fiji. Those who long for a quiet getaway can visit Woodstock, Vermont. At the end of the amusing top travel destinations list for 2023 is Montenegro. It’s described as a mix of all the trends travel consultants have noticed for next year, i.e., bustling cities, quiet mountain villages, and a fantastic seaside.

Not only have consultants from American Express Travel identified the aforementioned top locations, but they have also created intriguing three-day planned routes for each of the places. That way, travelers can get plenty of further inspiration on what to explore, where to eat and stay, and more.

Beyond the List

Yaukuve Island, Fiji

Following the top locations to visit, the company has also pointed out several key aspects that drive traveling in 2023. The following trends were identified based on a survey:

  • Seeking new adventures: 70% of interviewees agree they want to visit some of the wish list destinations in 2023.
  • Getaway for better health: 89% of respondents said they travel in order to escape their routine, and 74% say they plan to travel more in 2023 for their well-being.
  • Seeking new experiences: As much as 88% of all interviewees say they like the exploring part of a holiday, where they get to experience local life and learn about local cultures.
  • New Year’s resolutions: Almost 43% of respondents claimed traveling more often is a key part of their New Year’s resolutions.

Now that you know what are the top holiday destinations, start planning your next wishlist getaway.