• My personal holiday rule is simple: When in doubt, leave it out. There is so much to do, and we want to cover it all, but my best memories of holidays involve the people whom I spend time with, not the place setting or the exact perfect gift. — Happy Holidays, JoAnn
• “Commit to spending one or two unscheduled nights per week during holiday break just hanging out with your kids. You can enjoy the toys they might have gotten for Christmas, read, play games or just relax in each other’s company. They will return to school (and you to work) less stressed.” — E.G. in Massachusetts
• Try this chef’s trick for a juicy bird: After seasoning, cover the bird with cheesecloth or muslin secured with string. Baste over the cloth every 15 minutes. In the last 20 minutes, remove the cloth so that the skin can crisp.
• P.S.G. from South Carolina writes: “ For holiday gatherings that you host, delegate table tasks to your children that are age-appropriate: place setting, condiment delivery, refilling water glasses at scheduled intervals, etc. Children like to have a job, and they are better behaved when they have a focus and can make a contribution.”
• Plan now for leftovers: Have small plastic containers and zip-top bags in case your guests or family would like to take some home. This is an especially smart thing to do if you are looking to eat healthier. Send Grandma home with a turkey plate and a big slice of chocolate cake! It’s better to share.
(c) 2013 King Features Synd.