Ho, ho, ho, it’s a real housewife! Real Housewives of New Jersey star Kathy Wakile is known for her cooking (specifically her desserts), so we had to check with her her to see what yummy things she has planned for the holidays. She also shared what she’s buying for her kids and the crazy way she shops.
OK!: What’s the best way to figure out the perfect gift for somebody?
Kathy Wakile: Listen to them when they’re talking in simple conversation, the hobby that they really love, or something that’s indulgent, that they wouldn’t buy for themselves. Or food, because everybody loves food, dessert, you know! Send them a cannoli or two.
OK!: How do you plan your shopping, since you have such a large family?
KW: I’m a last-minute shopper, believe it or not. As much as every year I’d like to get organized, that’s just not me. My husband and I will go out one day, and we’ll just go down our list. Our nieces and nephews have gotten so big now we just give them what they really want, which is cash. As far as my kids go, with my daughter it’s clothes. She just wants clothes, clothes, clothes. I’m her best stylist. She loves to shop in my closet. And Joseph, he drops hints. He has no problem asking for what he wants.
OK!: Is there a good way to handle the stress of all the shopping?
KW: I don’t think so. The best way, really, would be to plan ahead and enjoy every gift you’re buying, but it gets crazy. Time gets away from you. I’ve been taking more advantage of the online shops. It makes it easy. You have the luxury of researching it, thinking if it’s the right thing for each person.
OK!: What’s the best gift you’ve ever gotten?
KW: When I was 5 or 6 years old, my parents bought me one of those Barbie heads where you style the hair. That, and an Easy Bake oven. Those two things, I played with over and over. I would spend every single day playing with that Barbie head, styling its hair, putting makeup on it. And then there was this thing with our older brothers, we have three older brothers and we were like their play dolls, they bought us these giant, life-sized coloring books for my sister and I.
OK!: Do you have any special holiday traditions?
KW: Christmas Eve is usually at my house. It’s just a revolving door of people, whomever is traveling or from out of town, they can stop in for a few hours. I have a buffet set up, and it’s a continous eat fest. It’s really wonderful. And my niece was born on Christmas morning, my sister-in-law was here and went into labor, so that’s special. That Christmas Eve is celebrated by the birth of a family member.
OK!: How wonderful! How is Christmas different now that your kids are growing up?
KW: They go out and do their Christmas shopping on their own. They’re so cute about it. They really put a lot of thought and effort into it, and that to me is really touching. We always had to take them, and I’d observe what they bought, but now they’re doing it on their own. They are so proud of what they bought. It’s really special. It’s nice to know they enjoy giving as much they do receiving.
OK!: Since you host Christmas Eve, what is special about the meal? Do you do the seven fishes?
KW: I’m not a big fish eater, so seven is a stretch for me. But I’d just as soon get away from it, because it’s not for religious reasons, it’s just tradition. So I make turkey and roast, but my husband loves tradition, even though it’s not his tradition. I also have other specialties out, like my mother-in-law and sister-in-law will make Middle Eastern dishes, like a lamb stuffed with rice and nuts. All different kinds of desserts, or the Italian struffoli, little honey balls. We’ll make zeppole, I’ll have my mini cheesecake. Of course I’ll have cannoli! We mix his heritage and my heritage.
How do you involve your heritage in your holiday? What special traditions does your family have? Are you looking forward to the holiday? Tell us in the comments below or tweet us @OKMagazine.