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As each year passes, it seems the holiday season arrives sooner and passes at greater speeds. Given all the responsibilities of adulthood, it can be easy to slip into “to-do list-only” mode and experience the holidays more as a task-master than a reveler.
Maybe it’s my recent viewing of A Bad Moms Christmas (haha, just kidding, well… mostly) but this year, I’d like to take a moment to encourage you to pause and think about how you can take back the joys of the season not just for your family and friends, but for yourself as well.
To help you dive into the joy of this upcoming weekend, I’ve compiled a list of five low-stress ways to enjoy the company of family and friends over the next few days.
1. Skip cooking, order in, and gather for game or holiday movie night
Though it can be fun to spend time in the kitchen together with extended family and holiday guests, you don’t want to burn out before Christmas Day. When out-of-town guests stay with you, everyone still needs to eat on the days leading up to Christmas, and making feast after feast can get tiring.
So keep things simple and support local restaurants by ordering from tasty and affordable catering menus. Gather everyone together around the table, then simply put out the take-out containers, kick your slippered feet up, and play games or watch your favorite holiday movies.
Here are three great local restaurants to call for your catering needs:
- Casa de Tamales – Enjoy a dozen, hearty-sized gourmet tamales for only $28, add pints of rice and beans for just $4.50 each or—my favorite—a big fiesta salad with owner Liz’s signature apple-chipotle vinaigrette dressing for $14 . So good! Casa de Tamales also offers amazing, from-scratch sauces and salsas as well as freshly made corn tortillas at very reasonable prices. For full details, pricing and to order visit their website or call (559) 541-4656 (and watch our just-released Fresno Flavor episode on Casa de Tamales here!)
- DiCicco’s Restaurants – A long-time family favorite, DiCicco’s restaurants are owned by members of the DiCicco family, and each location offers a slightly different catering menu. However, all DiCicco’s restaurants offer tasty trays of their classic pastas such as rigatoni with sauce or their alfredo “Scarface” chicken pasta, as well as crisp green salads with mozzarella, peppers and salami and, of course, their famous, thick-sliced homemade bread. Find the nearest DiCicco’s location to you here, and give them a call to order.
- Quesadilla Gorilla – For a casual, eat-with-your hands option, Quesadilla Gorilla is now offering catering trays of veggie, meat or custom quesadilla wedges to feed a considerable crowd, starting at just $44. To order, simply complete their online form here 24 hours prior to your game/movie night.
2. Lace up some rental skates and hit the ice at Gateway Ice Center
Gateway Ice Center is open for public skating sessions daily, including Christmas Day! The ice skating rink can be a great destination for all ages, with EZ Skater bars available for the youngest skaters and the Warm Room located above the rink for those who prefer to spectate while sipping hot cocoa. For a listing of public skate session times click here, and for skate rental and admission prices, click here.
3. Enjoy local brews while building a gingerbread house at Tioga-Sequoia
This Friday, from 6-9 p.m, take the family with you to build gingerbread masterpieces while those of age in your party enjoy the finest local brews Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Co. has to offer. May I recommend the Churro Stout? It’s awesome! RSVP in advance to reserve your gingerbread house fixings for $30 here. Worried working with all those sweets will make you hungry? Never fear—there will be a taco truck present to help you stave off any destructive snacking tendencies.
4. Attend the Fulton Street Walking Tour
These monthly walking tours are such a neat experience! My son and I attended one earlier this year and thoroughly enjoyed tour guide and Downtown Czar Craig Scharton’s behind-the-scenes look at the beauty of downtown Fresno in ways we’d never seen it before.
This month’s tour, taking place Saturday, Dec. 23 at 2 p.m. (meet at 845 Fulton St.) focuses on the art, fountains, and new installations along the newly reopened street, and this particular tour is designed to be kid friendly. RSVP for the tour and find additional details here.
5. Sing your favorite Christmas songs at a Candlelight Christmas church service
Whether you regularly attend church, or simply enjoy singing Christmas songs, a candlelight Christmas Eve service can be a nice way to tap into tradition and spend time with loved ones. Find a list of upcoming services and their descriptions here.
Enjoy your weekend!