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family posing with Santa in his sleigh

01 December . 2019

Ultimate Holiday Guide: Tips to Survive and Thrive This Season

The holidays are the busiest time of year and it’s easy to get stressed with all of the family visits, events, and to-do lists. Make this season the jolliest one yet with our ultimate holiday survival guide featuring tips to de-stress, nearby festivities to keep the kids and guests entertained, and effortless recipes we’re sure the whole family will enjoy. 

You can thank us later.

Festive Events

Ballet Arizona’s The Nutcracker
Take the family out for a night of joyous holiday fun at Ballet Arizona’s The Nutcracker. Playing Dec. 13 through Dec. 24 at Symphony Hall, The Nutcracker takes guests on Clara’s beloved journey through a magical winter wonderland. Featuring 150 performers and The Phoenix Symphony playing Tchaikovsky’s classic score, The Nutcracker is the best way to get into the spirit of the season. Purchase your tickets here.

A Cirque Nutcracker
Start a new holiday tradition this year with A Cirque Nutcracker at the Mesa Arts Center. Presented by The Phoenix Symphony, A Cirque Nutcracker combines Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, world-renowned Cirque group Troupe Vertigo, and of course, The Phoenix Symphony. Beginning Dec. 15 and running through Dec. 24, A Cirque Nutcracker takes guests through a magical and gravity defying experience with contortionists, aerialists, and jugglers performing the beloved holiday classic 40 feet above the ground. Trust us, you won’t want to miss out on this all new production! Purchase your tickets here.

Trans-Siberian Orchestra at Talking Stick Arena
What better way to celebrate the season than with a live rock opera performance? Coming to Talking Stick Arena on Dec. 1, Trans-Siberian Orchestra takes guests through an innovative holiday performance featuring complex light shows, pyrotechnics, and progressive rock. With all of this excitement, we’re sure the show will become one of your new holiday favorites. Secure your seat here.

Goodyear Glows
Kick-off the most wonderful time of the year at Goodyear Glows on Saturday, Dec. 7 from 4-8 p.m. at Goodyear Ballpark. Presented by the City of Goodyear, Goodyear Glows hosts the city’s annual tree lighting ceremony and features Santa, live entertainment, kid’s craft stations, inflatables, vendor booths, and real snow. Mark your calendars because the city is set to unveil its tallest tree to date. Parking and admission is free.

Skate Westgate
Everyone is invited to join the timeless holiday tradition of outdoor ice skating at Skate Westgate. Located at Westgate Entertainment District and open through mid-January, Skate Westgate creates the perfect place to make memories with your loved ones as you glide through nearly 3,500-square-feet of real ice. Free horse-drawn carriage rides, visits from Santa, shopping, dining, and various entertainment venues are also available. Additionally, Westgate will host its annual tree lighting ceremony on Tuesday, Nov. 26 at 7 p.m., just in case you need an extra dose of holiday spirit.
People Ice Skating
Photo Credit: Westgate Entertainment District

Glendale Glitters
Arizona’s largest free holiday light show is back for another magical season. Hosted by the City of Glendale, Glendale Glitters illuminates the downtown area with more than 1.6 million twinkling lights. The display officially opens for the season on Nov. 29 and runs through mid-January. Glendale Glitters will host its annual festival on Nov. 29 and 30 from 5-9 p.m., featuring live entertainment, snow, and of course, spectacular light displays.

Easy Recipes

Chocolate-Dipped Oreo Cookie Balls
The ideal dessert to bring to any holiday cookie exchange, chocolate-dipped Oreo cookie balls are guaranteed to please everyone at the party. The easy no-bake dessert requires only four ingredients including cream cheese, your choice of melted chocolate, crushed Oreo cookies, and sprinkles. The best part? The cookies will keep in the freezer for up to four months, allowing you to stay ahead of schedule this season.
For some added fun, use a variety of Oreo flavors such as cool mint, peanut butter, birthday cake, and coconut to stand out from the crowd.

Christmas Tree Cheese Ball
A fun flare on the traditional holiday appetizer, this Christmas tree-shaped cheese ball recipe is sure to be the merriest treat on the table. The recipe only requires 20 minutes of preparation and can be made ahead of time. Mix cream cheese, cheddar cheese, onions, pimientos, butter, garlic, salt, and pepper into a bowl, refrigerate and roll into a Christmas tree shape. Decorate your tree with cherry tomato halves, parsley, sliced almonds, and peppers, then serve with your favorite crackers or pretzels.
Christmas tree shaped cheese balll
Photo Credit: Inspired by Charm

Cranberry Meatballs
These cranberry meatballs are a flavorful holiday appetizer to make for the family or bring to a festive gathering. Begin by combining all of your meatball ingredients into a bowl including ground beef, chopped parsley, onions, soy sauce, eggs, pepper, ketchup, uncooked oats, and garlic salt. Roll into two-inch balls and bake for 25 minutes. Then, spoon the delicious cranberry sauce on top of your homemade meatballs. The perfect treat only requires 35 minutes to make and serves a whopping 42 meatballs. Or, save time by tossing frozen meatballs into the crockpot with cranberry sauce… don’t worry, we won’t tell.
Cranberry Meatballs on a platter

Photo Credit: Inspired by Charm

Don’t forget to take a little extra time for yourself this season. Whether you take a brisk evening walk or relax with a cup of coffee, give yourself permission to take a break from the to-do-list and regroup.

Hosting overnight guests this holiday? Check out our helpful guide to creating a welcoming guest experience at your home. From all of us at Estrella, happy holidays!