The Season of Gratitude

The holidays are about many things - family, friends, the coming together and toasting another year gone by. And of course, a few luxe gifts never hurt anyone, either. This year, as we begin to usher in this joyous time, our thoughts turn to gratitude and everything we have to be thankful for. So we asked a few of our favorite women how they’re planning on celebrating the holiday this year and all the ways in which that feeling of gratitude informs every moment of their celebration.

As founder and owner of Leontine Linens, Jane Scott Hodges is something of an expert when it comes to embracing the holidays with style and panache. The New Orleans-based bon vivant celebrates the local way complete with brandy milk punch, live music and a traditional Southern seafood gumbo. Follow along as Jane shares her holiday tips and how she keeps things merry and bright in her home.

To me, the holidays are...

Nothing says the holidays in New Orleans like a Brandy Milk Punch. Try the Commander’s Palace recipe at home. A fully stocked bar cart is the perfect decorative accessory to ensure your guests get the libations they want! I’m always half-expecting a Black Magic Drumline chugging through my house later in the evening.

If you could transport back in-time to your favorite holiday memory, what would it be?

Our New Orleans holiday dinner always starts with a bowl of traditional seafood gumbo; it was the tradition of my mother-in-law. Philip and my son Nalty take over the kitchen. We serve a standing rib roast, cheese soufflé, and an array of side dishes ending with a croquembouche that the family prepares ahead of time. You need sustenance to soak up some of that Brandy Milk Punch.

What is your go-to tip for holiday entertaining?

For tablescapes, the secret to my success comes down to two words: colorful linens! They’re a game-changer on the table and are as important as the flowers and candles. Square placemats—a necessary table accouterment as a bon vivant from a fallen Southern aristocratic family—frame round plates beautifully and allow you to fit more guests around your table. I always recommend a felt liner under placemats to protect your table and dampen excessive sound

What’s your favorite holiday shopping destination to find hidden treasures?

For hostess gifts, a nod to the personality of the hostess is always appropriate. If she’s a cocktail lover who believes in the mantra, “It’s 5 pm somewhere,” then maybe it’s monogrammed cocktail napkins. Or a trinket for the tree, perhaps hand-blown glass. My go-to for ornaments in New Orleans is Judy at the Rink. Something for the bar is always nice, too—consider an assortment of Jack Rudy’s bitters. 

What’s your favorite holiday indulgence?

I cherish my collection of Fortuny stockings from Becky Vizard. I bring them out at Christmas and hang them from the grand mirror in the entry hall in hopes that Philip might get the hint that an empty stocking needs to have some shiny bauble in it for me to find on the 25th.

At the holidays, you must...

Have live music. Live music is also a key element in creating an experience. In New Orleans, we treasure our brass bands. I have them perform on the front balcony as guests arrive. It sets a festive tone for the evening, and keeps me feeling bubbly and party season ready.

Get the Look - Jane Scott Hodges is wearing the Holly Silk Dress in Black Spider Lily

Jessica Chaney

Jessica Chaney is something of an expert on creating whimsical experiences. As the founder of Lycette Designs, she’s bringing a love of needlepoint and old school Palm Beach glamour to legions of millennials who clamor for her must-have clothing, accessories and home collections. We sat down with Jessica to get the scoop on how she celebrates the holidays, the one holiday tip that she’s never without and how to create a festive and relaxed celebration.

To me the holidays are...

All about family and friends. Tinsel. Pink and Gold. Turquoise and Silver. Food, drinks, and merriment.

If you could transport back in time to your favorite holiday memory, where would you go? What would you do? Who would you see?

My grandparents hosted a Christmas cocktail party full of chic drinks, appetizers, and holiday glamour. My aunt and I were frequently in trouble for "bumping" down the stairs and erupting in giggles at the bottom. If I could transport back to my favorite holiday memory it would be that. Laughter, magic, and nostalgia with family. I would wear my mother's Christmas pumps that had lights in the heel, sneak cookies in the kitchen with my aunt, watch "It's a Wonderful Life," sprinkle the tree with tinsel, and have my grandfather and father read, "Twas the Night Before Christmas."

What is your go-to tip for holiday entertaining?

Focus on fun and make guests smile. Color, fun drinks, unaffected finger food like pigs in a blanket, and jolly music. Life is stressful - create a merry and joyful oasis for friends and family.

What’s your favorite holiday shopping destination to find hidden treasures?

Today's "hidden treasures" are moments that make us forget technology and our phones. Gift loved ones experiences like a surf lesson, a concert ticket, a day exploring a nearby city, or an indulgent trip. Hop on Ticketmaster or purchase tickets to an art exhibit. The past two years have been isolating. Give gifts that inspire exploration, imagination, joy, and creativity.

How are you gifting yourself this season?

Allowing myself time to recenter, forgiving myself for not getting everything done, and prioritizing creativity. Oh, I also treated myself to a fab handbag!

Can you name your favorite holiday indulgence?

Uninterrupted time with friends and family, an abundance of glitter, tinsel, and feathers, and "forgetting" to read the nutrition label before nibbling on holiday sweets.

Tell us about your biggest (and funniest) holiday blunder.

Laser focus on "perfection." If the conversation is good, the drinks are flowing, and music is playing then no one will notice if your tree leans to one side.

Another tip? Keep pets away from your tree. Growing up we had tall, fabulous trees loaded with tinsel and a plethora of vintage and heirloom ornaments. One evening our little bichon decided to tinkle on the tree and the whole thing fell over. I remember neighbors coming over in pajamas to help hoist it back up. Since time has passed, our family finds it humorous, but in the moment my mother was heartbroken that her great grandmother's ornaments had shattered.

Over the holidays, you must...

Turn off your phone.

Get the Look - Jessica Chaney is wearing the Carol Silk Kaftan in Black Spider Lily

To me, the holidays are...

Filled with traditions alongside the people you cherish.

If you could transport back in-time to your favorite holiday memory, where would you go? What would you do? Who would you see? 

If given the chance, I would happily time travel to any Christmas Eve when my grandparents were still alive. My brother and I would still be asleep when they arrived. We’d jump out of bed and help them carry in their shopping bags of wrapped gifts with satin ribbons. Dressed head-to-toe in red, they would bring champagne and caviar, and I’d ask for Bagel Bites. We called it “Old People & Fish Eggs.” How I wish for one more Christmas with my three grandparents who are now gone.

What is your go-to tip for holiday entertaining?

Hire a bartender for your Christmas party! Having a designated person to ensure the champagne coupes are filled to the brim enables you to be a calm and present hostess. Your grace and ease when entertaining will translate to your guests. Worth every penny!

Favorite holiday shopping destination to find hidden treasures?

I’m an old soul who prefers old things, so I love to find vintage trinkets and treasures for friends on eBay and Etsy. In Dallas, I love shopping under the twinkling lights of Highland Park Village, but you couldn’t pay me to brave NorthPark Mall during the month of December.

How are you gifting yourself this season?

I bought myself a pair of mustard square-toe Mansur Gavriel ballerina slippers with a handpainted monogram in martini olive green and Calamine-lotion pink.

Favorite holiday indulgence?

Every year, my girlfriends and I go to the flagship Neiman Marcus in downtown Dallas for their magical holiday lunch in The Zodiac Room. We dress up in vintage fur, sip festive martinis, feast on truffled macaroni & cheese, and exchange ornaments against the backdrop of jubilant laughter.

Tell us about your biggest (and funniest) holiday blunder.

On Christmas Eve, my family would play a board game together with my grandparents around the tree. When I was a little girl, I blurted out a supremely naughty curse word in front of the whole family when I lost the game. I suppose I’ve always been a bit competitive… and a bit cheeky. My mother was mortified!

At the holidays, you must...

Be in the photograph! Your family treasures the photos that you are in. Step out from behind the camera and allow these special moments to be documented forever. Maybe you’re in a nightgown with bedhead, surrounded by a mountain of gift wrap on Christmas morning, but there is someone who wants to remember you exactly this way. Your imperfect life is beautiful just as it is. (This is the reminder I need to hear, too!)

Get the Look - Melissa Smrekar is wearing the Eva Stretch Knit Jacket in Autumn Leaves.

Ebonee Mashae seems to have her holiday style perfected. The native Floridian, fashion influencer and all around trend-setter kicks back for the holidays in her home state of Florida. It’s all about laughter, food and family coming together. We got the intel into Ebonee’s dream holidays and why you should never stress the small stuff.

To me, the holidays are... 

For me the holidays—especially Thanksgiving, which is my favorite—is about Giving Thanks to God, showing and sharing gratitude, and being with my family. It’s a time I look forward to every year. Because some family moved away from our home state of Florida, everyone comes back together. We laugh and have a great time, and eat way too much food! My grandma makes all six of her children a sweet potato pie, and of course us grandchildren take part too! 

What is your go-to tip for holiday entertaining? 

My entertaining tip for the season is don’t stress the small stuff. No one will remember that your plates don’t match, especially if you’re a first time home buyer. They’ll only remember that you made the best macaroni and cheese ever! I make the best macaroni and cheese by the way—LOL! Another tip is always have fresh flowers- it sets the tone for the room and it brings life to a table.

What’s your favorite holiday shopping destination to find hidden treasures? 

My favorite place to find hidden treasures is little boutique stores in historic downtown shopping malls. My downtown area is so cute, and has the most unique shops. I even love checking out other shops when I travel, as well as supporting local small businesses. 

What’s your favorite holiday indulgence? 

My favorite indulgence is eating all of the good food that I typically don’t eat during the rest of the year—like my grandma's dressing (some call it stuffing)! It is delicious. 

During the holidays, you must... 

A holiday must is a good campfire, s’mores and games. No phones, just good old fashioned time well spent with friends and family.

Get the Look -Ebonee Mashae is wearing the Eva Stretch Knit Jacket in Autumn Leaves.

Lisa Fröhlich

As a Hamptons-based stylist, Lisa Frohlich is all about celebrating the holidays with a chic sensibility and gratitude always at the helm. Whether she’s dressing her family in black tie for an intimate dinner at home or shopping for ornaments on her travels throughout the year, she rings in the holidays with enthusiasm and joy. So naturally we had to find out how Lisa plans on celebrating this year and the traditions that keep the season merry and bright.

If you could transport back in-time to your favorite holiday memory, where would you go?

Christmas Eve when I was younger. We would all gather around my grandmother’s piano and sing Christmas Carols. All my cousins, aunts, and uncles would be singing together. It’s a great memory for me.

What is your go-to tip for holiday entertaining?  

My biggest tip would be to start shopping and wrapping presents as early as possible. I know this is easier said than done! I like to enjoy Christmas Eve and not be in a frenzied state. We also send out holiday cards each year and I have saved one card from each year for my children to have when they’re older.

Can you share your favorite holiday shopping destination to find hidden treasures?  

We buy a holiday ornament every time we go on vacation. My twins love to hang them on the tree because they bring back great memories. Most recently we were in Nantucket, and we bought a little wooden sailboat ornament with a Christmas wreath on the sail.

How are you gifting yourself this season?

I don’t really worry about myself over the holidays. It’s all about the children. Usually, my husband and I buy each other one nice present. I’m also not bashful about buying myself something, wrapping it, and putting it under the tree for Christmas morning.

What’s your favorite holiday indulgence?

My favorite holiday indulgence is wine and champagne. It feels like every night through the holiday season has at least one or two glasses of wine involved. January is usually a very dry (and boring) month!

Over the holidays, you must...  

Whether we go out to dinner on Christmas Eve or cook in, we have a family tradition of getting dressed up. It makes the night more festive. And the kids can open one present on Christmas Eve. On Christmas Day we are usually in our pajamas for most of the day.

Get the Look -Lisa Frohlich is wearing the Kathe Cotton Dress in Sunflower.