Vanessa Lachey spills on holiday traditions, hostessing tips, and dancing to the 98 Degrees' Christmas album

·Writer, Yahoo Entertainment
Vanessa Lachey shares her entertaining tips. (Photo: Michael Simon/StarTraks)
Vanessa Lachey shares her entertaining tips. (Photo: Michael Simon/StarTraks)

Those who watched the recent season of Dancing With the Stars know that Vanessa Lachey has moves in the ballroom, but did you also know that she’s one fabulous hostess? Vanessa and her husband, Nick Lachey, have a full house with their three kids, Camden, 5, Brooklyn, 2, and Phoenix, who turns 1 on Christmas Eve, but they still find time to get in the holiday spirit with friends and family.

The television personality is now partnering with Baileys Original Irish Cream, and talked with Yahoo Lifestyle about her signature holiday recipe, Holly-Day Hot Chocolate, go-to entertaining tips, and holiday traditions. (Hint: The 98 Degrees Christmas albums are on blast.)

Yahoo: Why did you want to be part of this campaign?
Vanessa Lachey: I have always enjoyed the holiday season, and Baileys Irish Cream is one of our staples for this time of year. When I was asked about my favorite recipe, I couldn’t give just one, so when I was asked to be a part of the 31 Days of Baileys campaign, I got excited to share what I love and learn new recipes with Baileys.

As a hostess, how do you ensure that your guests have a good time but enjoy responsibly?
I always make sure to tell my guests there will be lots of food and cocktails, so drive responsibly. I suggest getting a ride or carpooling. Also, I always make sure to have plenty of refreshing flavored water at the bar. It makes for fun hydration.

You and Nick have been together for several years now, so how have your holiday celebrations changed and evolved over the years?
After our first year celebrating together and struggling with gifts, we decided to take a trip in lieu of gifts. It used to be a week away at some tropical destination. Now, with three kids, it’s a night locally, but we still make sure to go and make time for each other.

How often do you play the old 98 Degrees Christmas album, and what’s your favorite song? Do your older kids know it’s their dad singing?
We listen to it multiple times a day! And the kids know all the words. Our favorite song to sing and dance together to is “Season of Love.” We heard it play in the car on the radio, and we all screamed and then started singing. It was so fun! Now when it plays in the house, Cam says, “Daddy’s on the radio!”

Any tips for how to deal with difficult or uncomfortable family situations while entertaining? Are politics a “no” in your household when inviting friends and family over?
It’s hard, but I always say the more the merrier! We only have people in our home who are respectful of our family and our house, so if they bring someone, they are always respectful as well. Plus, it makes for lots of fun new stories!

What are your favorite holiday traditions from when you were a kid, and how do they compare to ones you’re creating with your family now?
As a kid, we used to open one gift on Christmas Eve. Unfortunately, some years, as I got older, we ended up opening all our gifts! When Nick and I started dating, we always made the day after Thanksgiving our day to decorate for Christmas. We still do it to this day, and it’s fun to kick off the season with a bang! The tree, music, lights, and cocktails! The kids help decorate, and I like the feeling it gives them of being a part of it all.

How do you balance work life and family during the holidays?
Nick and I are always juggling different work schedules, and now, three kids. We try and always put our family first in decision making and then everything else falls into place. At the end of the day, if we chose family over something else, it’s a happy ending.

Holiday pounds are a real thing: Any tricks for our readers about how to indulge without going overboard?
I always try and live a balanced lifestyle, but during the holidays, I love to enjoy and indulge a bit! It’s one of my favorite times of year, and I love to treat my friends and family to delicious sweet treats when I’m entertaining. I always like to have a signature drink to offer to everyone, and nothing says indulgence and holidays better than something made with Baileys Original Irish Cream!

What is your diet and fitness routine during this time of year, and does it vary during the holidays?
I think balance is always key. This being one of my favorite times of year to indulge, I don’t focus too much on a specific routine, but it’s nice to be active, especially with three kiddos. So, during the day, we find fun activities and things that get us outdoors. Even if it’s hanging out in the driveway at sunset on scooters or with our sports balls, while Nick and I enjoy a holiday cocktail.

Find Vanessa’s recipe for her Holly-Day Hot Chocolate below:

2 oz. Baileys Original Irish Cream
1 oz. hazelnut and pomegranate puree
2 oz. hot chocolate (brewed with mint leaves and white and milk chocolate and cinnamon)
Chocolate sauce for rim
Whipped cream, nutmeg, cinnamon sticks, mint leaves and pomegranate seeds for garnish

Combine Baileys Original Irish Cream, hazelnut and pomegranate puree, and hot chocolate in a cocktail shaker and give a good shake.
Strain liquid into a mug rimmed with chocolate sauce.
Top with whipped cream, a sprinkle of nutmeg and cinnamon sticks.
Add mint leaves and pomegranate seeds to resemble holly, for that extra festive touch, and enjoy!

Ideal serve: Large coffee mug

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