Everything you’ve ever needed to know about celebrating the holidays you can learn from Martha Stewart. From making the perfect eggnog to the most elegant hostess gifts, there’s no one more trusted in that realm. But don’t be fooled by her sophisticated lifestyle—Ms. Stewart has an opinion on all things holiday–even the accoutrements that might be considered delightfully tacky. Here, she breaks down her guide to some of the most controversial holiday traditions, including pumpkin spice lattes.
Inflatable lawn decorations are an absolute no-no according to Stewart. “They’re pretty ugly and they move like those things at the gas station,” she says. What Martha Stewart does prefer in terms of decorations is anything with illumination. She just can’t get enough of window lights and candles. Anything that shines bright has her stamp of approval.
Ugly Christmas sweaters are officially okay. (Shop them here.)
Food & Drink
Stewart is officially declaring pumpkin spice lattes as “vehemently out,” so you can stop pretending they ever tasted good in the first place. While she’s given no official word on gingerbread lattes—which taste so much better than their pumpkin cousins—eggnog is definitely in this year (as long as you’re sipping the official Martha Stewart recipe, of course). The only thing you can serve that is better than eggnog, according to Stewart, is a turkey sandwich made with Thanksgiving leftovers. Those have been deemed “the best.”
Stewart finds kissing at midnight on New Year’s Eve “charming,” as well as smooching under the mistletoe, but only if you can find some. It is apparently becoming increasingly more difficult to scope out the mistletoe in the holiday decoration aisle.
Stewart is all for talking politics at the holiday dinner table this year. Not that you will necessarily be able to avoid it, either way–everyone from your grandparents to your baby cousins will have an opinion, so you might as well prepare some talking points now.
The Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide: 155 Gift Ideas from Martha Stewart, Lily Aldridge and Other People We Love
When Martha Stewart throws a holiday party, she doesn’t mess around. Every year, about 10 days before Christmas, America’s high priestess of entertaining invites more than 200 guests to her Bedford, New York, farm for an over-the-top open house straight out of the pages of her namesake magazine. There are strolling carolers and multiple Christmas hams; giant bowls of oysters, shucked à la minute and served with champagne; and one entire house (there are three on the property) devoted solely to festive desserts. “You never know what or who you’re going to see,” Stewart says. “Last year, Blake Lively came with her two children, and when you look at them sitting on the floor eating a giant piece of meringue cake, it’s just fantastic. They’re so beautiful, and they’re stuffing themselves! It’s special for them.” Special for everyone, really. How could it not be, when the main house alone is festooned with a minimum of 20 Christmas trees? “But it doesn’t look overdecorated,” Stewart is quick to point out. “You don’t feel like you’re walking into Bergdorf Goodman or something—at least, I hope not.” For Stewart, Christmas Eve itself is a more intimate affair, spent with her two young grandchildren and her daughter, Alexis, at their place in the city, where the family feasts on Alexis’s homemade fettuccine with truffles or caviar and opens their no-doubt gorgeously wrapped presents. Martha’s rule of thumb for successful gifting is simple: “If it’s something I desperately want to keep for myself, I know it’s really nice.”
Martha Stewart, at home in Bedford, New York, wears a Row sweater and Charvet shirt; Heidi Carey earrings.
Claus Porto guest soaps, $22 for set of 15, amazon.com
Martha Stewart Collection zester, $12, macys.com
Pineider stationery gift box, $495, pineider.com
Brock Collection skirt, $1,890, brock-collection.com
Ariel Dearie Flowers floral arrangement, $275, arieldearieflowers.com
Stewart wears Brunello Cucinelli coat; the Row shirt; Mish New York earrings; her own sunglasses.
Gjusta olive oil, $14, gjusta.com
Munnu the Gem Palace rings, prices upon request, munnuthegempalace.com
Martha Stewart Collection cake stand with dome, $23, macys.com
Intimissimi tank, $49, and shorts, $44, intimissimi.com
Dior Fine Jewelry earrings, price upon request, dior.com
Tod’s sandals, $645, tods.com
La DoubleJ Housewives plate, $70, ladoublej.com
Omega watch, $21,300, omegawatches.com
March candles, $10 for two, marchsf.com
The Aldridge family, a fashion-oriented clan that boasts nine siblings, including the photographer Miles and the models Saffron and Ruby, is a close-knit one. “It’s full of characters,” says Lily Aldridge, a model as well, who has strutted the Victoria’s Secret runway for nearly a decade. “And it’s everything to me.” So when she married Kings of Leon frontman Caleb Followill in 2011, she was eager to start her own. A year later, she gave birth to daughter Dixie Pearl. “She’s made me stronger and braver; before her I played it safe. Now I just want to have fun.” That sentiment is particularly exuberant during the holidays, which she now spends in Nashville. “I go crazy decorating the house—lights, reindeer, mistletoe, you name it.” And aside from surfing lessons and a Bulgari Serpenti ring, this year she’s asking Santa for a day at Disneyland with her daughter. “I love it—any excuse I have during Paris Fashion Week to go to Disneyland Paris, I take,” she says. “I’m a kid at heart.”
Hazel Village bear doll, $42, hazelvillage.com
Christofle bowl, $160, cristofle.com
Molli socks, $53.
Parrot drone, $600, parrot.com
Happiest Baby Snoo Smart Sleeper, $1,160, happiestbaby.com
Herno kids’ parka, $585, farfetch.com
Mary Poppins set by P.L. Travers (Juniper Books), $135, modaoperandi.com
Bonpoint sweater, $220, melijoe.com
Chiara Ferragni, aka the Blonde Salad, is all over the place: A typical week could find her hopping from Los Angeles to Milan to New York and back. Since she launched her lifestyle blog in 2009 as a platform to promote her epic adventures and the casual-chic wardrobe she brings along, Ferragni has amassed millions of Instagram followers; worked with brands like Louis Vuitton and Dior; and introduced the Chiara Ferragni Collection. So when it comes to the holidays, she is happy to stay put—and bring her family to her. “The rule is that I fly everybody, but they have to take care of the cooking,” she says. “I never cook for myself—imagine cooking for 12 people!”
Chiara Ferragni wears a Massimo Dutti shirt; Faris earrings.
Ana Khouri necklace, $150,000, anakhouri.com
Agent Provocateur bra, $130, and panties, $115, agentprovocateur.com
Swarovski choker, $200, swarovski.com
David Yurman: Cable book (Rizzoli), $95, amazon.com