Home & Garden

Aerin Lauder shares secrets for being a gracious host, guest

Tortoise inlay 5x7 from Aerin, $150.
Tortoise inlay 5x7 from Aerin, $150. TNS

When you grow up in a family that made its name in cosmetics, you’re no stranger to beautiful things.

But for Aerin Lauder, granddaughter of the legendary Estee Lauder, the love of beauty extends well beyond lipsticks and blush. She’s passionate about creating a welcoming, inviting home.

And during the busy holiday season, that can mean being ready for drop-by guests at a moment’s notice. Her trick for pulling it off graciously: a well-stocked tray.

“You have an instant party,” Lauder says. Pretty glasses and a set of stylish bowls that can be filled with specialty nuts, chocolates and nibbles make for effortless entertaining, she says.

Lauder says a great tray is a must-have for all at-home hosts, whether for an impromptu get-together or something more formal. It’s not surprising then that her Aerin line, which also offers fashion, beauty and pieces for the home, includes several trays and a brass butler tray stand.

In addition to serving up style, food and drink, passing a tray filled with glasses of water at the end of the evening can subtly signal to guests that the party is over, Lauder says.

Being a gracious host is important, but equally important is being a gracious guest.

For Lauder, that includes arriving with a gift for the host. Lauder’s partial to giving beautifully scented candles. “People always love a candle.”

Coffee-table books are another favorite – just be sure to get a title tailored to the recipient’s taste and interests. It’s hard to go wrong with a picture frame, Lauder says, especially when it’s given filled with a special snapshot.

And when you find a good hostess gift option, there’s nothing wrong with buying multiples. “Make it your signature,” she says.

For her, that’s a luxury hair brush. She is in the business of making things more beautiful, after all.

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