As anyone who has ever hosted a holiday knows, the most important thing one can do to ensure that everything goes according to plan is well, to plan! There are many things that go into hosting the holidays that it is easy to lose track of everything without a to-do list. From attire to décor, designing table settings to setting time aside for traditions, getting a game plan together is a necessary step in creating the perfect holiday atmosphere for friends and family.
Star of “The Real Housewives of New York,” author, former fashion model, fashion designer (whose latest cruise collection will launch in February!) and mother of two, there is no doubt that Countess LuAnn de Lesseps knows what it’s like to juggle many things at once—something that we all must inevitably encounter during the busy holiday season. I had the opportunity to interview Countess LuAnn, who is also a leading lifestyle expert and got to hear the tips and tricks on how to be a great host this holiday season, as well as some ideas that can be used to kick-start those hosting to-do lists!
1. Holiday Attire
The holiday season is the most popular time for friends and family to reunite, sometimes after many months. It is both fun and important to be well dressed for the occasion. Countess LuAnn’s style tips for this holiday season are to keep it classy and simple: “It’s okay to shop your closet. Put on a simple black dress and then just dress it up with a chunky necklace in a festive color. Faux fur, zippers, and capes are also going to be really popular this season,” she says.
2. Table Etiquette
Mealtime is the most important part of the holiday celebration because it brings all of the friends and family to the table. It is the time for catching up with loved ones over a delicious meal, whereas the rest of the afternoon or evening has most likely been spent with guests dispersed throughout different rooms or parts of the house. There is only one thing that can ruin treasured holiday mealtime—bad table etiquette. The worst offender of this is the under the table texter. As more and more people are becoming attached and addicted to their cellphones, this problem has been getting worse. Countess LuAnn has told her children in the past that they need to “be engaged in the conversations going on around them, not the one’s that are happening on a phone. It shows respect when you are engaged and interested in what those around you have to say.” Some households have even taken the “no phones at the table” rule to the next level, designating an empty basket to hold guests’ phones.
An easy way to create a festive atmosphere in your home is through merry decorations. Countess LuAnn’s tips for creating the perfect holiday table setting are to “keep it simple and play with holiday colors. I like to do a red tablecloth with nice white dishes and pops of color with flower arrangements. It’s fun to get creative with them, and you could even add candles as another classy element.
4. Getting into the holiday spirit
For most families, keeping up old holiday traditions are a great way to reconnect and spend time together. Whether it is decorating the tree together or lighting the candles of a menorah, the physical elements of the holidays are known to bring people together. The Countess and her children maintain their holiday traditions every year. “We actually bake little cookies that we string and put on the tree every year,” she says. “We bake together which is a great activity to do with family. We also decorate our tree with Christmas cards and pictures because it makes it much more personalized.”
The host and hostess of a holiday gathering have the power to control the mood of those they have invited into their home. “If the hostess is organized, ready and relaxed then she will be able to make people comfortable in her home. The holidays are a great time to see friends and family and spend time catching up, no one should waste time stressing about it,” de Lesseps says.