TODAY | December 24, 2013
>>> have a house full of people today and tomorrow and between us you haven't given it a lot of thought.
>> susan is here with tricks to make your last minute holiday planning going a little smoother. good morning.
>> great to be here.
>> so a lot of people you say are getting ready right now.
>> trick is really with the planning.
>> plan ahead. it's such a simple trick but what i do every holiday, i set the table the night before.
>> this is not the time the day of christmas to find out there's a wine stain on your table cloths, your missing chairs, you're missing plates. set yourself up the night before. it will be a great ease off your mind.
>> that's good advice. what are we doing here with the ice cream in the muffin tins?
>> this is something, pie is often being served at the end of the day . you want to scoop, prescoop and put them in little cupcake tins.
>> put them in the freezer. freeze them up.
>> in time for dessert, you have this. you thaw it for a few minutes and plop it on the plate.
>> perfect little ice cream balls.
>> i like to do that.
>> what about the butter?
>> butter is also cold. i think it's prettier presentation if you take a simple box grater and grate a few in there.
>> like your grating cheese.
>> i think it looks nicer.
>> yeah you put the brick out there and it starts melting.
>> if you haven't had time to thaw your butter, you can grate a little bit.
>> good idea. pizzas if you're having an appetizer.
>> frozen pizzas are a wonderful way to serve up an appetizer. during the holidays it's fun to use christmas themed cookie cutters. cut a shape out.
>> cut it up first and decorate it.
>> slightly thaw them and cut the shapes out.
>> we're so handy and crafty today.
>> and once you get that out, you can decorate it with fresh herbs, a little olives and anything you like. you pop it in the oven.
>> great idea.
>> they are kind of cute.
>> they're great.
>> candy canes , whatever you have.
>> you have to chill a bottle of wine or champagne quickly.
>> more wine is not cool. you're doing a one to one ratio of ice and water. you put in a couple of handfuls of salt.
>> it lowers the temperature. so your wine or champagne is going to cook up a little faster. stir it around.
>> i had no idea.
>> about 20 or 25 minutes you'll have a cooler bottle of wine. make sure you rinse it so you don't get salt in your wine.
>> this is the fun part of course. who doesn't like a festive drink. you don't have time to make punch, get some champagne and make it more festive. drop a few berries in there. whatever you like. it keeps the drink cool as well.
>> that's cool.
>> the frozen thing, a lot of people have them in the freezer already.
>> how about this decorative look?
>> this is a little quick decoration. these do not take up a lot of space. they're easy, you can go sneak around your christmas tree if you have one. take a few bits out. wrap the bottom, you know, and pop it into whatever you have. maybe you can use clear glasses or whatever you have. a little charlie brown moment. you have small bulbs put them on there too.
>> we're out of time; merry christmas .
>> thank you so much.
>> you too.
>> we're back in a moment. this is "today" on nbc. da kotb. kathie lee gifford . . . r.
>>> kathie lee and hoda coming up next with quick fishes.