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  • Nancy McAleer

How to Survive a Holiday Meal on Vacation!


Going on vacation during the holiday season really is a treat. What's NOT a treat is trying to cook an entire Holiday Meal for your family in a strange kitchen, without your regular cookware, baster, gravy bowls and more. We all know that oven temperatures vary, leaving the coordination of a perfectly timed meal sketchy at best. After scouring the internet we've put together ideas of 'How to Survive the Holiday Meal on Vacation!". Because really.... the chef is on vacation too so why not enjoy it?

The Do it Yourself-er

If you're staying in a vacation rental and decide that you would rather cook up your favourite holiday meal yourself, be sure to ask the owner or rental company if the kitchen is fully stocked with roasting pans, thermometers, basters, gravy boats, etc... If they don't have the specific items you need, ask for them. Any established business worth their salt, will get it for their guests. It's something we pride ourselves at Anna Maria Island Home Rental. After dinner you can cozy up to the fireplace and watch a class Christmas Movie on Netflix. There's nothing better than Family Movie night on a full tummy!

photo: The Fresh Market

Your Survival Guide List

  • roasting pan

  • thermometer

  • baster

  • gravy boat

  • sufficient glassware & dinnerware

  • serving platters

  • serving utensils

  • Tupperware for the leftovers

And to be sure your family feels at home so do ask about the festive decor available too.

  • Christmas tree

  • Christmas ornaments

  • Christmas lights

  • wreath

Fake it like you Made it

Who says you can't fake it and fool your family? This is definitely the route I'm taking this year. I've pushed my 'mother's guilt' all the way to the back of the shelf so to speak, because momma is on vacation too! Here's a few options to help you fake it and still enjoy an amazing and festive holiday meal no matter your budget.

photo: Naples News

Faking it ~ Restaurant Style

This year I'm opting for a Southern Styled Meal from Chef Eddie's in Orlando, because we want to try a REAL Southern Christmas meal. If you aren't in the Orlando area you can search the internet, ask your vacation rental owner or hotel concierge for the best restaurants who also cater Christmas Meals. Chef Eddie is cooking me up a Southern Style Fried Turkey, Baked Country Ham, Au Gratin Potatoes, Candied Yams, Cornbread Stuffing and a Sweet Potato Pie. The best part is that they are delivering straight to our hotel.... sweet! I'm hosting a large group of big eaters, so I've ordered above and beyond the regular Holiday Package, without the ham and pie, the price is;

Chef Eddie's Website

Serves 10 people for $195.99

Get a discount of 20% if you place your order between December 9 - 12th, 2015.

Faking it ~ Butcher & Catering Style

Try checking out a local butcher shop. Our favourite is The Chop Shop in Bradenton, Florida. It's really close by our island. The have a Holiday Dinner Special that includes Roasted Turkey, homemade dressing and choice of two sides like green bean casserole, cranberry nut salad and sweet potatoes... yummmm!

The Chop Shop Website

Each meal is $10.99

Faking it ~ Grocery Style

photo: The Fresh Market

The Fresh Market is my favourite grocery store and they are offering a Traditional Holiday Dinner or a Deluxe Holiday Dinner. The Traditional dinner includes a turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry relish, gravy and dinner rolls. The Deluxe dinner includes everything in the Traditional dinner plus a petite ham, corn souffle and green beans with bacon.

The Fresh Market Website

Pre-order your holiday meal in store and receive a $5 coupon

Publix is probably the least expensive option. They are offering a 'Publix Deli Fully Cooked Turkey Dinner' meal that you can pick up on Christmas Eve and re-heat on Christmas Day. The menu includes Turkey, Cornbread Dressing, Mashed Potatoes, Gravy, Cranberry Orange Relish and Marshmallow delight. Not a dirty pan to wash up is extremely enticing. Not quite as good as my own heritage recipes, but pretty darn good.

Publix Website

Serves 7 - 10 people for $44.99

My Favourite thing to make for Dinner.... Reservations!

If you are in our neck of the woods, here on Anna Maria Island, Florida, once again, we've contacted our local restaurant sources to find out who is open during the Christmas Holiday time. If you are vacationing elsewhere, be sure to ask your rental agent or hotel concierge which restaurants are open.

Insider Tip! Be sure to book well in advance because, most likely in any area, there will be limited options and you don't want to be left out like Tiny Tim on the street, with no supper.

I truly hope you survive this Holiday's Dinner, surrounded by your loved ones in a wonderful vacation setting, enjoying all that life has to offer and savouring the special moments that are the very best part of the season. Don't forget to take some time for yourself.

If you want to slip away for New Year's week, we still have availability at Sirenia Cove Vacation Rental. Contact us for details.

Happy Holidays to you & your family and all the best in the New Year!

~

Feel free to share this article using the social media buttons below.

#vacation #christmas #dinner #holiday #thanksgiving #tips

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