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A guide to dining out for the holidays

A guide to dining out for the holidays A guide to dining out for the holidays

For some people there is no better way to celebrate the holidays than to spend time with friends and loved ones around the dinner table. Although cooking and dining at home are popular this time of year, some celebrants may not have the time or the inclination to host the holidays at home.

Preparing and serving holiday meals to guests can be time-consuming. In fact, many holiday hosts and hostesses lament that hosting duties can compromise the time they get to spend with the ones they love each year.

Dining out is one way to save time and free up more moments for interacting without the pressure of food shopping, cooking and cleanup. The following are some tips for families who opt to dine out for the holidays.

• Conrm restaurants are open. Many restaurants close on major holidays to enable staff to spend time with their own family members. This may be more so for Thanksgiving and Christmas than with week-long celebrations like Chanukah and Kwanzaa.

Verify with restaurants if they have holiday hours, and more importantly, that they will be open on the day you will be dining out. Christmas Day falls on a Monday in 2023, which typically is a day that many restaurants are closed.

• Make a reservation. If you find an establishment open for the holiday, reserve a table early. Also, some restaurants may ask for a deposit on reservations to ensure you show up.

• Expect some menu changes. To account for reduced staff or even ease in meal service, some restaurants may opt for a pricefixed holiday menu or a limited menu from their typical offerings. Some may showcase a seasonal menu that caters to holiday favorites they think diners will expect. There also may be fewer substitutions or customizations allowed.

• Avoid peak dining times. Restaurants may fill up after church services or around dinner time. Consider reserving your table for a less popular hour to reduce the propensity for long waits or being rushed out.

• Be patient. Kitchens can get backed up on a holiday, and it may take longer than expected for food to make it out to tables. Cut kitchen employees and servers a break as they are likely frazzled. They are trying their best to service all patrons.

• Plan to tip generous ly. It's the season of giving, and you should make sure you take care of your server. You can make the day even brighter with some words of gratitude and a nice gratuity.

• Pace alcoholic bever ages. It's normal to enjoy some spirited drinks during holiday celebrations.

It's easier to indulge a bit more at home and you do not need to get behind the wheel. When dining out, do not overdo things, and have a plan for who will be driving home.

Dining out during the holidays is a possibility with practical planning.

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