Is there any better holiday host than Aerin Lauder? After all, the lifestyle guru has made a brand out of it—Aerin, her curated online shop offering her own personal line as well as curated items is the source behind many a well-dressed table. Lauder entertains in various locales, from New York to Palm Beach. (Her Assouline book dedicated to the latter was published in the fall.) Her collection reflects that, offering modish shagreen trays as well as raffia placemats. This week, she fully embraces her dual identity with a pop-up shop at Miami’s Four Seasons Hotel at The Surf Club, as well as a holiday trunk show in New York City.
Below, she shares some of her favorite entertaining tips, applicable whether you’re spending it by snow or by sand.
On making your guests feel welcome:
“One thing my grandmother used to do is put a little gift on everyone’s place when they sat down at the table. You can do candles, or you could do perfume.”
On hostess gifts:
“A picture frame is really nice. Especially during the holidays. If you want, you can put a picture of you and your hostess, or maybe something with their children.”
Her must-have item for any dinner party:
“Trays are great to have because they are easy to transport food or drinks. It’s especially great for outdoor dining, when you need to bring a meal out to an exterior space. Oh, and if it’s hot, a personal fan is always a nice touch.”
On setting a fun and festive mood:
“If you’re calm, then everyone else will be calm. Even if there’s a big disaster, stay calm! Because everyone will feel your energy.”
On making a seating plan:
“I like to mix people! I don’t usually put best friends next to each other. I don’t put spouses next to each other. That’s what makes for a great party: meeting someone new.”
Originally Appeared on Vogue