It's been a whirlwind year for Meghan Markle, the new Duchess of Sussex. From her lavish wedding to Prince Harry at Windsor Castle in May, to her first overseas tour of Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific. And of course the biggest news of all - the announcement that the newlyweds were expecting their first child.
Meghan will be spending her second Christmas with the royals this year. But rewind a few years and her festive routine was very different – although arguably no less aspirational.
Back when she was starring in Suits, Meghan ran a lifestyle website called The TIG. In amongst the travel guides (including her campervan trip around New Zealand), interviews with her favourite movers and shakers, summer reading lists and fitness blogs, she shared her top tips for hosting the perfect Christmas with friends.
For Meghan's tips - including her recipe for a festive cocktail - scroll below.
Trim with a twist
Meghan says: Traditionally garland or magnolia branches are used to adorn a stairwell banister or mantle. Take this concept and trim the outline of a mirror or beautiful piece of artwork that is centrally located in your entry hallway or living room.
Meghan says: When creating a table-scape, keep it simple and crisp with an all white tablecloth, runner and napkins. Accent with gilded plates and napkin rings and use a stylish set of cutlery. All white flowers placed in the low vases are the perfect centrepiece.
Meghan says: Purchase silver serving trays, platters, nut bowls from flea markets or Etsy to add formality to hors d'ouevres passing.
Serve a festive cocktail
Meghan's recipe: Almond Milk Spiced Holiday Cocktail
- 4 cups unsweetened almond milk (you can make your own by blending raw almonds with milk and straining it)
- 1 tsp of cinnamon + 1 tsp cardamom + 1tsp of powdered ginger
- 1/2 tsp of clove
- 6-8 dried dates soaked in water
- your favourite bourbon
- cinnamon sticks for garnish
Blend all ingredients (except the alcohol) in a powerful blender and then move to a small saucepan. Heat at a low temperature until heated and then add 4 -6oz into the pot depending on your friends' palates. Pour each drink and garnish with a cinnamon stick. If you prefer this drink cold, then omit the heating and shake it hard in a cocktail shaker and serve in champagne glasses with a cinnamon/sugar rim on the glass. Super pretty and equally delicious!
Meghan says: Holidays with your friends allows you to break the family traditions and avoid Aunt Julie's fruit cake! Have each of your friends bring a dish or cook together in the kitchen. If you do not have a proper set-up, use your dining room table or kitchen counter as a buffet.
Put a twist on Christmas dinner side dishes
Meghan says: If you're like me, you end up buying way too much of everything for holiday meals. So whether you have leftover sweet potatoes or simply want to revamp the classic holiday side, these maple glazed potato wedges are crave-worthy. With the slight kick from cayenne and the brightness of the added lemon, they will be a crowd favourite:
- two medium sweet potatoes
- 2 tbsp of olive oil
- juice of half a lemon
- 1 tbsp of maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper
- himalayan sea salt
- handful of pepitas
Slice the potatoes into wedges and coat with the mixture of oil, lemon juice and maple. Toss and then coat with the sprinkle of cayenne and salt to your liking. Lay onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for a half hour at 425 farenheit for 30 minutes. At the 15-minute mark, toss the potatoes and add the handful of pepitas for crunch and texture. They will be beautiful, browned and crisp and read to devour.