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It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Unless, of course, you have one of those impossible-to-buy-for people on your holiday shopping list. What do you get the person who has everything? Or how about a hostess gift that the host will actually like? Well, entertainment reporter, TV personality, professional wrestler, author and actress Maria Menounos has some ideas.
We were lucky enough to sit down with Menounos recently and chat all about the holidays and her new Lifetime holiday movie, The Holiday Fix Up. Ahead, you’ll see where Menounos shared amazing gift ideas to pick up from two of her favorite stores, TJ Maxx and Marshall’s and also gave us some holiday party hosting tips that we can’t wait to try.
SheKnows: How are you celebrating the holidays this year?
Maria Menounos: Well, I am currently here in Connecticut with my dad. So Thanksgiving, we were here with relatives and family and stuff. Christmas is still a little up in the air.
MM: There’s a potential trip to Disney in the works because I feel like Christmas is a little different this year without my mom, so I’m trying to think of like, what the happiest thing I could do would be and that would be Disney. I don’t know if I’ll get in last minute, but we’ll try.
SK: Let’s say you forgot to get someone a gift on your list, and you need to pick up something super last minute. First off, where are you heading to get a gift and what are you going to grab for them?
MM: OK. Well, first of all, this is why I partnered with TJ Maxx and Marshall’s because they are the perfect place to get everything you need. And so if I forgot to get a gift for somebody I might go online and start perusing. It depends on the person. You can buy a cozy blanket and there are these amazing percussion massagers that people are obsessed with right now. And you know, there’s stocking stuffers like makeup and nail polishes and things like that. It depends on who it is, but that’s why both TJ Maxx and Marshall’s make it so easy to buy for anybody on your list.
SK: What would you suggest for the person on your list who already has everything? They always seem like they are the hardest to buy for.
MM: I go with things that I know they’ll always need. You always want to cozy so something like a robe or a cozy blanket. You can never have enough of those. When you pick something that’s cozy, you get this instant happy feeling so no one’s ever going to be mad about that or candles. Towels are also great. Getting somebody a fresh set of towels and a robe and candles to kind of give them that sanctuary vibe is great especially if somebody had a really rough year.
SK: How would you describe your personal holiday decor?
MM: I am getting crazier every year with my personal holiday style and I love it. I like to up it every year. This tree we got last year, it’s 14 feet high. I wanted to overwhelm my parents. Again, having gone through a tough time, I was like, Let’s overwhelm them. Let’s make them feel really good and in-the-spirit, but I decorate it sparsely. I don’t want it to be too much, so whatever I do decorate, it has to be chic and kind of simple. We have another tree in the hallway, a white tree that’s really beautiful. It’s just the lights that are colorful. I did get some reindeer this year to put on the front lawn.
SK: We’re still in the middle of a pandemic, but now that people are vaccinated and gatherings are starting to be more of a thing this year, people are hosting holiday parties. Do you have any tips for people hosting parties to kind of make the whole process easier?
MM: I’m throwing a holiday party so I’m in the midst of figuring it all out. And so we’re making sure everyone’s tested before they come. But you know, for me, I love throwing parties and so I did a whole episode on my podcast where I put together party tips because I think you have to have a really good ambiance when you have a party. You want to have the right music, you want to have the right lighting, dim the lights, you need to have some candles lit. I also make fresh cupcakes all day for my party and this year they’ll be themed because I have a new holiday movie that came out on December 11th called The Holiday Fix Up so I’m theming them to the movie. So little things like that kind of add a little touch and then of course, decor. I went to TJ Maxx and picked up this beautiful marble cheese platter with little trim handles that look really pretty on the counter and glassware for serving my cocktails. You want it to look really pretty. You don’t spend a lot to make it look great, but the visuals are important.
SK: So let’s say, you know, instead of hosting, you’re going to a party. Do you have a favorite or go-to hostess gift?
MM: Yeah, I like things like that, I like grabbing some kind of houseware gift to bring that’s useful for the party that may even use in that party atmosphere that day. So a great cheese platter or some great wine glasses or cocktail glasses, aprons are always really fun and festive. I think if you can do the bottle of wine too, you know, you can never go wrong with a bottle of wine, but for me, I like to do something different.
SK: Are there any traditional holiday foods that you absolutely cannot stand?
MM: I love food! I don’t know if there’s anything I don’t love.
SK: Is there one that you always look forward to?
MM: Yes, anything I make! I make a really great holiday meal so thank you, mom, for teaching me how to cook. Whether it’s, you know, Greek cheese pies or I make the most moist Turkey ever known to man. I make a great crab meat pie too. Buffalo chicken mac and cheese is another good one.
SK: OK, so last question for you and it’s an easy fill-in-the-blank one. Nothing says the holidays like ______.
MM: Seeing someone smile.