We’re all celebrating in different ways this year, but we also all have the same “mom goal” as we do for every holiday—make the holidays magical. That’s why when we saw these gorgeous photos from  lifestyle expert Caryn Antonini, we knew we had to pick her brain for tips on decorating, recipes and other ways to make the next few weeks sparkle.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’ve had a lifelong love of both cooking and baking because of my Italian and Danish heritage. Both of my grandmothers taught me their techniques and secrets and passed along their joy of creativity in the kitchen. Growing up, I was exposed to different cultures, customs and food, through travel and when my parents entertained guests and colleagues from overseas. I learned things such as how to present gifts and wrap them, decorating for holidays and special occasions, how to set a table depending on the country or meal, and I developed a taste for different foods, learning to recreate them at home.

While living in Los Angeles, I started a customized gift business in Los Angeles catering to the entertainment industry with clients that included A list celebrities, their agents, producers, etc. Presentation is everything, it’s not just about the gift, so I took a gift wrapping/packaging course – no, I’m not kidding – and it made a world of difference! Everything I’ve learned in my life has led to this point where I’m enjoying sharing my love of cooking, tips and ideas with others!

Fantastic. And can you share a bit about your life as a mom?
I live in New Canaan, CT with my 2 boys. I grew up here and returned four years ago after living in Los Angeles for many years. We’re happy to be back on the east coast with the four seasons, though we loved our L.A. experience and everything the city and state had to offer.

What are some ways we can all make our home a bit brighter this season?
No matter which holiday you celebrate you can easily make your home more festive and cozy this season: decorate things like pinecones or branches with fairy lights, bake your favorite foods or special recipes, light a special holiday scented candle, play holiday music, make dough ornaments (project recently posted).

Are you seeing any trends this season that are particularly fun?
I’m loving that people wanting to bring joy to others. We can take the Secret Santa or Getting Boo’d ideas to put a smile on someone’s face. Spreading kindness is key this year.

Agreed! Do you have any tips for social distancing entertaining?
I’m loving that we’re spending more time outdoors. Bundle up and make a hot beverage of your choice! You can visit neighbors in the driveway, safely and at a distance, or with friends distanced outside at home with individual serving dishes to keep things safe.

BYOE – Bring Your Own Everything! Bring a blanket, bring a bottle, food, etc. There’s less contact and exposure. We can still sit at a 6ft distance around a firepit with another trusted family as long we’re all on the same page re: safety. We’re all in the same boat and this year anything goes.  Get a cute holiday mask, keep it distanced and safe.

Where can we find the recipe for those beautiful cookies?
Cookies and Iced Sugar Cookies are on my website. Reindeer Cookies and step-by-step are being added!

For more from Caryn, go to carynantonini.com.

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