How to Host a Holiday Party Like Aerin Lauder

Plus, what the businesswoman loves most about Dallas women.

Aerin Lauder at Neiman Marcus in Dallas, Texas on October 9, 2015.
Aerin Lauder at Neiman Marcus in Dallas, Texas on October 9, 2015.

When D Home’s managing editor asked me if I wanted to meet Aerin Lauder, I quickly accepted the opportunity to be in the presence of the heiress and businesswoman’s effortless perfection. The countless ads I’ve seen with Lauder lounging on perfectly appointed sofas or kneeling in fields of wildflowers did not lead me astray. Dressed head-to-toe in a creamy white pantsuit, Lauder was a thing of elegant beauty.

But she’s more than just a sophistication inspiration. Lauder was kind, personable, and immediately put me at ease with her warm demeanor and love of Mi Cocina’s Mambo Taxis (an immediate plus in my book). But most importantly, Lauder seems like the kind of fun, savvy, and resourceful person who can throw a mean party. (Seriously, just look at this poolside lunch!)

With Halloween and the holidays ahead, I decided to take advantage of our little chat to get some ideas on how to party like a Lauder and what she loves most about Dallas women. Here’s what I learned.


What are your main weapons (or just tips!) for pulling off a perfect holiday party, while making it look totally effortless?

Using a tray is a great way to pull a party concept together. You can keep drinks, desserts, bottles of wine, or even champagne on it.

I also like to put out a bowl with snacks like nuts and potato chips. There are such wonderful things that you can purchase and keep in your pantry so that you’ll always have something for your guests (no matter how last minute your party is). There are these wonderful things called “Squirrel Nuts” that I like to use. But you can’t go wrong with something fun, unexpected and delicious.


cream tray
I watched Lauder organize some perfume bottles on this AERIN tray, proving that pretty much anything would look better on a cream, shagreen surface.


When attending a party, what kind of host/hostess gifts to you like to give?

Soaps are always pretty for someone who loves to entertain. Picture frames are also a great hostess gift. It’s so nice to put a photo in it that means something to the hostess. For men, coasters are a good choice. Men love to have a nice coaster to go with their glass of scotch.

AERIN soaps available for $20 at Neiman Marcus

I love my dad dearly, but that man is so hard to shop for. You can only buy so many ties! Do you have any tips for buying gifts for dads (or just men in general)?

I love my dad and I’m always thinking about him when I’m shopping. Men are a bit simpler with the things they like. I like to give him a picture frame with a picture of us in it. Another good idea is a match striker. Whether they smoke cigars or just want to put it next to the fireplace, there’s something very masculine and timeless about that.

match striker
There are probably manlier match strikers out there, but this one really is beautiful.


What does Halloween look like at your house?

I love Halloween candy. I cannot tell a lie! My children are older now and they don’t even trick or treat, but I think candy is a great way to accent the home during any season. I love doing chocolate covered almonds in the fall. For Halloween, it’s fun to get out the candy corn. You know, all that good, down-and-dirty candy.

tulip bowl
Seriously, how great would some candy look in this bowl? No matter how down-and-dirty it is!


Besides a good marg, what else do you love about being in Texas?

I love the women! They love home and beauty equally. You see that when you go into their homes. They love flowers, delicious food, being warm and generous, and at the same time they love to wear beautiful clothes and makeup. It’s a wonderful thing.


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