holiday party

With a DNA-deep zest for life, food, and family, entertaining is basically an Italian birthright. We’re not surprised that our December Guest Editor, Giada De Laurentiis, loves the holidays – or that she has a few fun ways to make hosting them an easy and delicious endeavor.

What does surprise us though is that someone who is as pro in the kitchen as Giada doesn’t rely on fancy recipes to make a holiday party special (through these cookbooks are never too far away). A festive Frangelico cocktail, good lighting and great cheese are just a few of the super simple tricks Giada keeps up her sleeves.

Below, we’re learning about more ways the adorable kitchen goddess keeps her cool around the holidays, including her favorite fail-proof appetizer, essential table accessory and a go-to outfit that’s as pretty as it is practical. For even more entertaining tips, be sure to check out Giada’s brand new lifestyle site (more on that here!)…

Healthy party foods guests actually like:

Dips! I usually have one setting out for people to nibble on. I try to opt for lighter alternatives like my bacon onion dip that uses Greek yogurt in place of sour cream. I also put out some healthy chip options, like taro chips or veggies. It’s still decadent so guests feel like they’re indulging.

Always on hand for surprise guests:

Cheese. I always have a few options in the fridge so I can throw together a quick platter.

3 go-to holiday foods:

Red pepper cheesecake, Bacci chocolates, beef tenderloin with curry mayo.

Quick cocktail recipe?

Lemon-hazelnut spritz. It’s festive and celebratory! An ounce of Frangelico, a glass of champagne and a twist of lemon!

3 details that matter:

Good lighting, wonderful aromas, good music.

Table setting favorites:

Placemats. I like to keep it simple with white plates then mix and match colorful placemats. It’s a great inexpensive way to completely transform your table.

Healthiest pre-party tip:

Hydrate! You’ll be happy you did in the a.m.

Go-to holiday party look:

If I’m entertaining, I like to wear all black and a long necklace and pretty earrings, etc. I also like to be barefoot – I feel like it makes guests feel more comfortable and at home right off the bat.

Fave holiday party memory:

My entire family in the kitchen together. We do a potluck-style dinner and everyone is in charge of one dish and we all cook together. I’m in charge of dessert… Raffy usually gets the honors for the main!

Fave cheesy holiday song:

The Adam Sandler Hanukkah Song; Jade and I like to sing it together.

Best kitchen tip for feeding a crowd:

Prepare as much as you can ahead! A lot of dishes can be made the day before so all you have to do on the day of the party is pop them in the oven.

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We're spending the day with Giada De Laurentiis - in the kitchen, of course. Find out why we can't get enough of this healthy foodie this month...

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