Holiday Entertaining

How Amanda & Merrill are Prepping for the Holidays

December  7, 2015

To our friends, readers, and fellow holiday cheerers,

Everyone's been there: You plow through the holidays heads-down, and when you finally lift your head to enjoy them, you realize they're over. Well, not this year! Below we're sharing 11 things we're doing right now to get in the holiday spirit. And we hope your holidays are full of joy, great food, a little relaxation, and lots of time with family and friends.

Amanda & Merrill

Photo by James Ransom


  • My 3-year-old daughter Clara is learning about the different herbs we have growing in our planter at home, so I'm thinking these DIY herb napkin rings will be a fun project for us to do together.

  • Faced with the challenge of coming up with a gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, and nut-free snack for Clara's class, I'm betting on kettle corn, which is all of those things.

  • In an attempt to expand my music horizons, I've been trolling Spotify and I'm really liking this Birth of Cool playlist. Hoping this means I'll be cool by association.

  • I'm having a really hard time deciding which of our new holiday wreaths to hang on our door. And don't get me started on the garlands...

  • Molly Wizenberg wrote about my applesauce cake, which I make a lot this time of year. She made it with dark brown sugar instead of light, and in a brilliant move she used Judy Rodgers' roasted applesauce. Think it's time for a re-test.

  • Spoiler alert: I'm stocking up on the Marfa candle by Hawkins NY, which smells like a campfire in the best way, so I can give it to pretty much everyone I know.


  • I'm planning to make the Honey Cashew Morning Buns with my 9-year-old twins, Walker and Addison. They love shaping dough, plus you can never have too many morning buns.

  • To balance all the blogs I read, I'm hoping to borrow Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan novels from my husband, for some restorative holiday down time—which may or may not happen until 2016.

  • This year's stocking stuffers for my friends and family will be Onyx ice packs and lavender linen sachets—two things people don't buy for themselves but are happy to have.

  • I like to have an "add-on gift" that I can pair with other gifts: This year's add-on is the Spicy Maple Syrup, because everyone in the world needs to experience its deliciousness. (And I'm going to order a few extra for the family members you didn't expect to see and suddenly need a gift for. )

  • And while baking and wrapping gifts, I'll catch up on some of my favorite podcasts:

What are you planning for holidays? Let us know in the comments!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Transcendancing
  • Ruthan
  • Droplet
  • Niknud
  • Sharon Starkey
    Sharon Starkey
Food52 (we cook 52 weeks a year, get it?) is a food and home brand, here to help you eat thoughtfully and live joyfully.


Transcendancing December 15, 2015
I'm still at work, and we're having a chosen family Christmas - they're hosting. I'm bringinging a chocolate dessert, cauliflower cheese and another veggie side - all of which shouldn't be hard to get organised for the day. Thankfully my shopping is all done, just hoping it gets here in time now!
Ruthan December 15, 2015
I'm spending lots of time on planes and in airports, by which I mean I'm spending lots of time being unable to do anything but read trashy books, knit, and play Set. :)
Droplet December 10, 2015
I have the beginnings of a grocery shopping list for the Christmas Dinner, and I did play Nat King Cole's Christmas album today...Monday I am going wrapping paper shopping...So far I only know what the cat is getting, but I guess it's a start. Please Santa, all I want for Christmas is Snow...
Niknud December 7, 2015
I tend to go down the rabbit hole with holiday meal planning. To the point where my hair starts standing out in all types of directions and my eyeballs just roll around in my head with too much whites showing. This can happen rather frequently if you have back to back guests from now through the 1st of January (with a dinner party planned for the 2nd). When it all gets a bit much, no matter how much I love cooking and feeding my friends and family, I have to take a step back and take a large glass of wine and go knit a few rows with some amazing yarn. I'm working on an entralac scarf right now with this wonderfully soft silk/bamboo blend. It kind of zen's me out and gets me right with the world. An hour or so of the soft 'snick snick' of knitting needles and something tangible and tactile to show for it helps center me. Then back to the kitchen!
Sharon S. December 15, 2015
I'm an avid beginner knitter. You made me look up entralac scarf because I have never heard of it. Saw a youtube video. Looks like fun but takes a lot of concentration. Maybe after I finish the project I'm working on now. Knitting is like meditation for me. Thx for the new ideas.