A few tips for making holidays easier

‘Tis the season of wonderful company and delicious food.

It’s also that time of year to bring friends and family together, but preparing for holiday gatherings along with the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping can often be stressful and time consuming.

In fact, Thanksgiving is the most stressful holiday for home cooks as more than one in three Millennials plans to host a gathering at their home and 57 percent have noted feeling pressure when preparing a holiday meal, according to the Allrecipes’ 2013 Annual Holiday Survey. Following are a few easy tips to

simplify your holiday planning so you can spend more time with loved ones.
Shopping survival

From picking up last-minute items on your gift list to gathering groceries for the big dinner, holiday shopping can be hectic. Before you shop ‘til you drop, pack a quick and easy snack in an insulated cooler bag to get through the midday craze (and hunger pangs). Bag assorted fresh vegetables and pair with a dip like Marzetti Otria Greek Yogurt Veggie Dip. The dips are available in five different flavors from Garden Herb

Ranch to Cucumber Dill Feta—a great way to add extra flavor to vegetables.
Mingle at the vegetable bar

Before guests arrive, create a colorful vegetable bar away from the kitchen for snacking and mingling before the big meal. Arrange the bar with a unique array of pre-cut veggies such as snap peas, asparagus, mushrooms, and peppers. Accompany the veggies with a variety of Marzetti Otria Greek Yogurt Veggie Dip flavors like Spinach Artichoke and Caramelized Onion. These quick and tasty snacks keep guests occupied before

the meal and helps keep last-minute stress at a minimum.
“Friendsgiving” potluck

Not traveling home this year and still want to celebrate the holiday? Invite your friends to join in the celebration by hosting a “Friendsgiving” potluck. Friendsgiving is becoming an annual tradition celebrated either on or around the Thanksgiving holiday among friends, according to the 2013 Evite Holiday Party Trend Report. Ask each friend to bring their favorite holiday dish and swap recipes after the meal is complete.