Holiday Tips From the Pros

Art Smith, Nate Berkus share holiday tips

The holidays are upon us, and you've got to love seeing all of the fabulous decorations and decor. We all try our best to seek out our inner-Martha Stewarts during the season, and a little help may be all you need to get there.

As far a holiday meals go, you can't do much better than local hot chef Art Smith. Not only is his restaurant, Table Fifty-Two, rated one of the best in the country, but his organization, Common Threads, is a godsend for many children across the country. Here are his expert tips for the holidays:

  1. Buy a live tree and plant it in your yard or buy a smaller one for your terrace. No one ever remembers to water a Christmas tree!
  2. Collect tree ornaments. They are more charming than having the hot design of the year.
  3. Don't forget the pets! They remember ...
  4. Make the freezer your best friend. Most great holiday foods can be kept fresh and preserved. I love an ice box fruit cake!
  5. A delicious juicy Allen Brothers rib roast is a wonderful Chicago tradition.
  6. Discover the cheese ball again! Homemade is better!

Everyone knows and loves designer to the stars, Nate Berkus, one of Oprah's favorites. Besides being adorable, he has a whole new line of his fabulous home furnishings available at Now you can see his top tips for decorating for the season and beyond:

  1. Your sofa will have an "instant makeover" with new pillows and a throw.
  2. I love silver bowls filled with all one color solid ornaments mixed with votives on the table or fireplace.
  3. A little ethnicity goes a long way in setting the table -- an African bowl lined with a linen napkin for bread, woven placemats mixed with your good china. Go for contrast when setting the table.
  4. Never underestimate the allure of candles. They truly transform a space. Keep the lights low and remember, NO scented candles in the dining room. That should smell like food!!
  5. When guests or family come to stay, the nightstand in my guestroom always has three things: fresh flowers, a tray for jewelry and things you take out of your pockets, and a bottle of water.

Stay tuned for more Holiday Tips from the Pros coming soon! God bless us everyone.

Candace Jordan is the 1976 "Playboy Bunny of the Year" and author of the blog and a contributor to the NBC Chicago Street Team Blog.

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