The holidays are the best time for the three Fs: family, food and fun. Throw in a couple of Ts—tradition and togetherness—and you have a recipe for making delicious holiday memories. Here are some can’t-miss moments Canadians love to savour with their nearest and dearest.


1. Deck the halls

Make merry while you dress up your house. Crank up the carols, string some lights and hang mistletoe over the door. A fresh Christmas tree or pine garland will smell heavenly and get everyone in the holiday spirit. Try a hearty bake-ahead pasta, such as Penne Meatball Bake or Baked Rigatoni Marinara, as a tasty reward for hungry decorators; hard-working kids will look forward to Candy Cane Brownies.


2. Outdoor wintertime fun

Go carolling door to door and warm up afterwards with Coconut-Rum Eggnog, Classic Cocoa with Marshmallows for the little ones and a few nibbles by the fire. Lace up your skates and glide over a frozen pond or lake, and then get cozy with a generous helping of shepherd’s pie. Or take a few wild rides on the toboggan, and when you’ve finished all that uphill walking, tuck into a luscious chicken mac and cheese to restore your energy.


3. Bake Christmas cookies

Whether you’re building a gingerbread fantasy castle or trying a simple classic shortbread recipe, this is your opportunity to bask in the heavenly scents of cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg. Our best-ever cookie-baking guide has such good tips and techniques that you might be inspired to host a holiday cookie swap with friends. Just don’t forget to save a few for Santa!


4. Fry up tasty Hanukkah treats

Foods fried in oil are at the heart of Hanukkah gatherings. Even if your family doesn’t celebrate this festival of lights, you can enjoy the dishes that bring people together during the eight-day celebration. Try crispy, melt-in-your-mouth latkes (a.k.a., potato pancakes) served with sour cream and homemade Quick Cinnamon Applesauce. If you prefer sweets, fry up a batch of Cinnamon-Sugar Donuts. Or dig in to both!


5. Do brunch

So many holiday gatherings are family-centred, but this special time of year is also the perfect excuse to get together with friends. Instead of waiting in line at a popular restaurant on Sunday morning, check out our easy brunch tips and serve a laid-back spread at home.


6. Light up the solstice

The shortest night of the year (December 21) is an ancient holiday and one worth celebrating. Light candles to push back the darkness and indulge in to some comfort-food classics. Wassail, a hot spiced beverage usually made with wine or cider, is a solstice tradition. Mix up a batch of Orange-Spice Mulled Apple Cider or Mulled Winter Wine for your group of revellers.


7. Make Christmas dinner ahead

Yes, you read that right. Our Ultimate Make-Ahead Holiday Meal Plan gets the bulk of the prep work done before the big day, so you can sit back and enjoy Christmas dinner as much as your guests. And don’t forget to browse our brochures for easy entertaining—custom party trays and platters are made fresh to order so you can focus on the main event.


8. Count down to midnight

New Year’s Eve is the right time for a little sophisticated entertaining. A cocktail party is always a hit on December 31—everyone is still full from big family dinners, so small bites and fancy drinks are appreciated. Not in the mood to make a lineup of appetizer-size dishes? Go minimalist with the perfect cheeseboard, antipasto platter or fondue offering, either savoury or sweet.