Carla Hall's tips for stress-free holiday parties are genius

Julia Webb

This holiday season, we sat down with Carla Hall, professional chef and co-host on ABC's The Chew, to get the inside scoop on all things needed for stress-free (and fun!) holiday entertaining. 

When it comes to holiday parties, most people have a signature dish or never-fail recipe that starts their party off on the right foot. "For me, my go-to is my grandmother’s Five Flavor Poundcake. It's tried and true, it’s nothing new, I know that it works every time. And so it’s the thing that I make sure my nephews and nieces know how to make so that when they are hosting their holiday meals, they know how to make it and you can just dress it up," Carla said.  She even suggested adding a lemon glaze and sugared cranberries to easily take your poundcake to the next level!

If you seem to always be short on time when you are getting ready to host a gathering, Carla told us that appetizers don't need to be extravagant or time-consuming to be delicious! You can head to your favorite local grocery store and stock up on easy items that will satisfy everyone. 

"I tend to get a hummus, like a store bought hummus, bring it home and jazz it up. [You have] some different pickles, you have some cold cuts, but you make it look nice on just a plain board." 

And don't let the entire party planning burden fall on you as the host! Around the holidays, there are always people that you can pull in to help you out.

"Get your family involved, don’t try to do it all. I think a lot of times people say 'it’s the host,' but you can still have people help you. If you’re happy, your guests are going to be happy, so don’t stress out by doing all these little things!"

If you are not hosting the holidays this year, why not bring a host or hostess gift that goes beyond the typical hand towel or candle set? 

"One of the things I like to give them to say thank you, I always think about things that people will use after the party, because you know, you’ve done all of this work. I’ve done like a chai tea that I’ve made and put it in a jar, it just says 'relax,' you know? Something that says 'this is for you;' you’re going to put your feet up after all of this is over and just chill."

As always, the best part about this season is getting to spend time with the people you hold the dearest. Enjoy making special memories with your loved ones and really being present in the moment.

"The holidays for me is all about my family getting together, it's just stopping and pausing. I love the fact that I’m teaming with TJ Maxx, Marshall’s and Home Goods for the Gift My Gathering campaign. It gives 5 lucky families the possibilities to win a unique holiday gathering. it's soup to nuts from the food to the decor to gifts, but, however they celebrate, a team of people will talk to them and bring this unique celebration to these families. And you can go on to find that and you have to do is tell a story about why your family is the greatest gift."