Make Mistletoe Balls

"Buy wire balls from an arts and crafts store—they come in different sizes—and a big ball of twine or ribbon. Thread the mistletoe through the wire until densely packed, and let the white berries of the mistletoe peek through. Using the twine or ribbon, hang the balls at different heights in the entryway. I've also dangled them over a dining room table, which almost reads like a massive light installation. The more balls, the better. It's not expensive and it creates excitement."

–Tracie Butler, founder and president of Tracie Butler Interior Design in L.A.

for more tips see page 12



No Oven Necessary!

QUICK AND FESTIVE TREATS FROM THE CHEF AND AUTHOR BEHIND NO BAKE MAKERY CRISTINA SUAREZ KRUMSICK

"Whip these up while your oven is occupied with the main course!" says Krumsick.



SWEET & SALTY

Makes about 40 treats

1½ cups chocolate-flavored frosted corn puff cereal

1½ cups salted peanuts

1½ cups milk chocolate candy melts, chopped

1 tbsp. sea salt

1. Line a 13×9-in. baking pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil; spray lightly with cooking spray.

2. Combine cereal and peanuts in a large bowl.

3. Melt candy according to package directions; pour over cereal mixture, and stir until mixture is completely coated. Spread mixture in prepared pan. Sprinkle with salt. Cover and chill 1 hour or until firm.

4. Remove treats from pan, using edges of aluminum foil to lift treats from pan; peel foil away from treats. Break or cut into 1½-in. squares.



CINNI MINNI

Makes about 25 treats

60 vanilla wafers

½ cup seedless raisins

1 tbsp. firmly packed brown sugar

1 tbsp. ground cinnamon, divided

3 tbsp. sweetened condensed milk

1½ tbsp. skim milk

1½ tbsp. unsalted butter, softened

¾ tsp. vanilla extract

½ cup chopped chocolate candy melts

1. Pulse vanilla wafers in food processor until it's in fine crumbs. Add raisins, brown sugar and 2 tsp. cinnamon; process 30 seconds.

2. Whisk together sweetened condensed milk and next 3 ingredients; pour over vanilla wafer mixture. Process mixture 30 seconds or until dough forms. Roll dough into 1-in. balls; arrange on waxed-paper-lined baking sheet.

3. Melt chocolate according to package directions; drizzle evenly over cookie balls. Sprinkle balls evenly with remaining cinnamon. Chill 30 minutes or until firm. Serve immediately.



LAYERS O' MINT

Makes about 36 treats

2 tsp. unsalted butter

3½ cups mini marshmallows

2 cups coarsely chopped chocolate-mint cookies

1 cup coarsely chopped chocolate-peppermint cream-filled candies

1 (4.67-oz.) package crème de menthe candies, coarsely chopped

1/3 cup coarsely chopped peppermint candies

1. Line an 8×8-in. baking pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil; spray lightly with cooking spray.

2. Melt butter in a large nonstick saucepan over medium heat. Add marshmallows and cook 3 to 4 minutes, stirring often, until melted; remove from heat. Stir in cookies and chocolate-peppermint candies. Press mixture into prepared pan.

3. Microwave crème de menthe candies on high 1 minute in a microwave-safe bowl, stirring twice, until melted and smooth; drizzle over cookie mixture. Sprinkle with peppermint candies. Cool.

4. Remove treats from pan. Cut into 1½-in. squares.



Historic Homes FOR THE Holidays

ICONIC HOMES CELEBRATE THE SEASON WITH LAVISH DECOR

BILTMORE Asheville, N.C. A 55-ft. Norway spruce stands on the front lawn of the Vanderbilt mansion.

THE BREAKERS Newport, R.I. Thousands of flowers transform the mansion into a festive wonderland.

GRACELAND Memphis Elvis Presley's estate is decorated just as he would have done it.

HEARST CASTLE San Simeon, Calif. Handmade garlands, poinsettias and 18-ft. trees bring cheer to the estate.



Formulas for Party Success!

Celebrity caterer Mary Giuliani shares a few quick and cute ideas that make foolproof pairings for a fabulous last-minute get-together.

Doughnuts+Cider=Totally Awesome Kids' Playdate

Smoothies+Muffins=Delicious Pre-Shopping Brunch

Popcorn+Seasoning SEA SALT PEPPER PAPRIKA PARMESAN CHEESE CHILI POWDER BACON OLIVE OIL+Sweet Drinks=Terrific Tree-Trimming Party!



Stars Give Back!

THESE CELEBS SHOW THEIR SUPPORT FOR CHARITABLE CAUSES DURING THE HOLIDAYS

Pippa Middleton Kate's sister opened a Christmas sale at Chelsea's Red Cross shop in London, where designer and vintage clothing is sold for charity.

TAYLOR SWIFT The pop star kicked off the season with Save the Children's kid ambassadors at a Westfield London shopping center.

Brooke Shields The actress and her two daughters, Rowan (left) and Grier, got crafty at the Brooks Brothers Annual Holiday Celebration in New York City to benefit St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

Hugh Jackman While promoting Les Misérables last December, Jackman took on the role of "celebrity elf" and helped collect gifts for the Today show's annual toy drive.

Neil Patrick Harris The How I Met Your Mother star served up baked potatoes during Thanksgiving dinner for the homeless at the Los Angeles Mission.



Party Tips

From the Pros!

AN EASY—AND INEXPENSIVE—GUIDE TO THE PERFECT HOLIDAY SOIREE

CREATE CONVERSATION PITS

"The arrangement of furniture is key. Chairs should open to a group setting as opposed to facing off in pairs, and the layout should make clever use of the space without compromising the flow of traffic. A friendly and welcome bar area outfitted with bar stools and thoughtful, curated accessories that highlight snacks and refreshments is always great. Everyone loves to congregate at a bar."

—Interior Designer Kelly Wearstler



CONSIDER SAFETY

"Candles are best placed away from anything precarious such as liquor or table linens. I like to keep them in a beautiful vessel or in a glass. Delicate accents are lovely, but you should take into consideration the amount of traffic a space will need to withstand."

—Kelly Wearstler



"I love an ice sculpture as a conversation piece but my splurge is flowers."

—Designer Tracie Butler



MAXIMIZE THE ELEMENT OF SURPRISE

"Stars have to evade the paparazzi, so sometimes invitations to big gatherings include only a few details. Surprise your guests with a vague invite: Just give them the basics—date, time, location and a suggestion as to how to dress."

—Susan Spungen, food stylist and author of What's a Hostess to Do?



INVITE YOUR GUESTS FOR BRUNCH

"To make it feel festive, incorporate a few luxury ingredients like mimosas, smoked salmon or truffle oil into your menu—but use them as an accent rather than the main event. Place cards also add an elegant touch."

—Susan Spungen



LIMIT YOUR COLOR SCHEME

"The rule is to keep it classy. I love doing all white or gold, or silver and white. The silver and the white make it dressy and sophisticated."

—Tracie Butler



IT'S ALL ABOUT THE ARRIVAL

"Create a custom logo for your party by drawing, painting or stamping on an oversize roll of white paper. Hire a photographer (or enlist a friend) to snap photos of all your guests entering the party, in front of the board. Share all the photos the next day by creating a blog page (Tumblr is free and very easy to use) to showcase all the night's photos (much like a photo agency)."

—Susan Spungen



EXPERIMENT WITH LIGHTS

"Add white lights to the trees or plants in your house. It is very inexpensive. Add them to the trunk of the tree or plant, not in the leaves; that is too predictable. If you follow the trunk and the branches, when the lights are turned on, it is beautiful. The whole shape of your tree is illuminated."

—Tracie Butler



DIY SWAG BAGS

"Create your own version of celebrity goody bags, and give them to guests as they leave. 'Swag' can include candies, hand warmers, baked goods, etc. I like the idea of a Healthy New Year bag that includes a small green juice, some detox tea, bath oil, fun shoelaces for your running shoes and maybe even homemade granola!"

—Susan Spungen



PAIR A SIGNATURE DRINK

WITH A STANDOUT APPETIZER

The ladies who literally wrote the book on small bites (seriously! It's called Tiny Food Party!) Teri Lyn Fisher and Jenny Park share a perfect pairing for your party. "The sweetness of the Riesling balances the rich mascarpone," says Park.

POMEGRANATE, MINT & MASCARPONE CROSTINI

Thinly slice a small baguette, brush each side with olive oil, and lightly season with salt and pepper. Bake slices for 12 to 15 minutes at 300° or until golden brown and toasted. Cool crostini completely, and top with ½ tsp. mascarpone cheese, pomegranate seeds and minced mint leaves.



RIESLING-THYME COCKTAIL

Place 4 sprigs fresh thyme into a pot, and add 1 cup water and 1 cup granulated sugar. Simmer and stir gradually until all sugar dissolves. Remove from heat, discard sprigs, and allow syrup to cool completely. To serve: Pour 1 tbsp. thyme syrup into the bottom of each glass. Top syrup with 4 oz. Riesling and stir. Finish each glass with a splash of ginger liqueur.



Hollywood Hops!

BEER INSPIRED BY THE STARS

AMERICAN BEAUTY

The Grateful Dead

Loyal fans of the band suggested granola as a special ingredient. $12.75 for 750-ml. bottle.



MMMHOPS

Hanson

A pale ale from the pop-rock trio who brought us "MMMbop." $9.99-10.99 for pack of 6.



TAKE THE BLACK STOUT

Game of Thrones

The brotherhood of the Night's Watch would drink this dark ale. $8.50 for 750--ml. bottle.



BITCHES BREW

Miles Davis

A bold beer in honor of the jazz musician's legendary album. $12.75 for 750-ml. bottle.



Perfect Punches!

COOKING CHANNEL'S DARRYL ROBINSON MIXES UP ONE-BATCH WONDERS

"THIS HAS WONDERFUL BERRY AROMAS AND FLAVORS. IT'S PERFECT FOR YOUR NEW YEAR'S TOAST."

Pomegranate & Prosecco

10 oz. red berry vodka

10 oz. pomegranate liqueur

40 oz. orange juice

20 oz. prosecco*

Garnish: pomegranate seeds

*Stir in chilled prosecco right before guests arrive.



"NOTHING SPEAKS TO YOUR HOLIDAY CELEBRATION MORE THAN A LUSCIOUSLY SMOOTH AND FRUITY RUM-BASED PUNCH."

Rum & Pineapple Juice

2.5 oz. aged rum

10 oz. orange liqueur

5 oz. lime juice

30 oz. pineapple juice

5 oz. grenadine

Garnish: cherries



"THIS DESSERT-LIKE COCKTAIL IS WARMING AND WONDERFUL AFTER YOUR HOLIDAY MEAL OR NESTLED BY THE FIREPLACE."

Cognac & Coffee

5 oz. VSOP cognac

5 oz. coffee liqueur

15 oz. Bailey's Irish Cream

Garnish: shaved dark chocolate



"THIS PUNCH IS LIKE A BIG SISTER TO SANGRIA. IT'S SO FLAVORFUL AND WELL-BALANCED."

Pisco & Peach Liqueur

5 oz. Chilean pisco

10 oz. peach liqueur

40 oz. red wine

5 oz. simple syrup

Garnish: sliced fruit



"IT'S SIMPLE AND SASSY WITH ITS BOLD ORANGE NOTES."

Campari & Orange Juice

10 oz. Campari

10 oz. orange liqueur

40 oz. orange juice

Garnish: orange slice or mint sprig



Easy Party Hair

CELEB STYLISTS SHARE TIPS SO SIMPLE YOU CAN DO THEM AT YOUR DESK!

GET A CHIC PONYTAIL

Bosworth's stylist Bridget Brager says to begin with a deep side part. After creating your pony, complete your look by wrapping a section of hair around the base for a polished finishing touch.

KATE BOSWORTH

WHAT SHE USED!

Rickycare

No-Frizz Rat Tail Comb, $5.99; rickysnyc.com

Kevin.Murphy

Un.Dressed, $22; kevinmurphy.com.au for salons



STYLE IN A SNAP!

Stash these tools in your desk drawer to freshen up your hairdo in seconds, says pro Ryan Trygstad

For volume Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray, $39; oribe.com

For curls Infiniti Pro by Conair Curl Secret, $99.99; at drugstores

For securing hair Goody ColourCollection Bobby Pins, $3.99-$4.29; at Target stores

For protection from heat Redken Hot Sets 22 Thermal Setting Mist, $15; redken.com for salons

For shine & hold Sally Hershberger Smooth Fix, $24; hsn.com



GET A FESTIVE LOOK ON YOUR LUNCH BREAK

For a party-ready style in 45 minutes (or less!) bring these pics from blowout hot spot DreamDry to your salon

STRAIGHT & SLEEK

DreamDry senior stylist Olivia Halpin says: Tell your stylist to finish this look with anti-humidity spray so that it holds up all night.

SIDE CHIGNON

Halpin says: Tell your stylist what you're wearing so he or she can create a low bun that doesn't interfere with your neckline.

LOOSE WAVES

Halpin says: Tell your stylist to make sure waves are curled away from your face for a hairdo that's chic and modern.