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Alison Sweeney on Making Spirits (and Smiles!) Bright This Season

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The holidays are hectic for everyone. There are presents to be purchased, cookies to be baked, and extended family and friends to entertain. And while it’s all very merry, joyful, and jolly, the bulk of the hard work and headache tends to fall on moms—what else is new?

Mom, TV personality, and amateur baker Alison Sweeney knows a thing or two about the pressures of parenthood—and, you know, everyday life—during the especially jam-packed month of December. And that’s why, despite taking care of two young children and juggling the demands of hosting Food Network’s Kids Sweets Showdown, she minimizes all the nagging background noise of the season and puts quality time with loved ones first. She wants to make the most of this special time of year, and knows it's not all about gifts and goodies. Indeed, she may be stretched thin, but a refreshing frame of mind that focuses on what’s really important helps her stay balanced and fulfilled.

This year, she’s partnered with Arm & Hammer Spinbrush to spread extra cheer to other moms who might be feeling the holiday heat. We chatted with the star about how she prioritizes family—and manages it all with a pearly-white smile to boot.

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What's the number one highlight of hosting Kids Sweets Showdown?
The kids! They’re so fun and talented. I was very impressed with everything they prepared and how supportive of one another they were.

What’s your favorite holiday treat to make or eat? Is there anything you bake with your kids that might be worthy of a "sweets showdown?"
My kids and I love to bake together. The process is sometimes more fun than the product. We’re big fans of Santa’s candy cane cookies. You can actually watch me make the cookies here.

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What’s your favorite (non-food) holiday-season family tradition?
My family and I make a point of going to the mountains to play in the snow and ski each holiday season and I love that quality time together spent outdoors, in the elements, on the slopes for hours and then curled up together by a fire.

How do you maintain balance this hectic season of indulgence? How and when do you carve out time for fitness and wellness?
I look at the holidays as a time to fit in the fun outdoor activities that we love without the barrage of meetings, conference calls and homework. The extra hours in the day give us the freedom to work out, to make healthy meals and to have fun in the process. Instead of looking at the holidays as stressful or indulgent, we look at them with a focus on togetherness.

How do you instill the lesson of maintaining a healthy, balanced lifestyle to your children during a season filled with sweets, treats, gifts, and goodies?
Since they were babies, my kids know that the holidays are about decorating, family time and celebrating the end of the year with friends. We don’t make sweets the priority and so they don’t either. While we all will have a dessert at Thanksgiving or Christmas morning will be spent opening presents, the time of year is much more about our time together than anything else.

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What is your favorite must-have stocking stuffer gift to give or get this season?
A new Arm & Hammer Spinbrush! I know that’s an interesting choice but they fit perfectly in the stocking and have offerings for the whole family. My favorite is the new Design Series Limited Edition Spinbrush which comes in a houndstooth print and they have the kid’s favorite characters on their Kids’ Spinbrushes.

What are you asking Santa for this season?
Santa is always good to me and the quality time with my family is all I need!

*Photos c/o Michael Simon/

This is a sponsored post.

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