“I was the new girl in town so I threw an elaborate, lavish dinner for 50 people,” she recalled. “I cooked for three days straight until my hands were literally raw.”
She learned her lesson: “I’m all about the intimate gatherings now. No more than eight people, and it’s even better with six.”
Goodman, 38, writes for magazines on topics from parenting to fashion design and penned her first book this year: “Wear This, Toss That!” (Atria), a compilation of practical shopping and beauty tips. She also appears frequently on the “Today” show and “The View.”
She shuttles between New York, Los Angeles and McLean, where she lives with her husband, two children and yellow Lab Kiloi, a twist on the Japanese word for “yellow” and a nod to her Asian heritage. (She is half Japanese.)
This season, her survival guide includes crafts fairs, a little baking and taking her daughter to the Ritz Carlton in Tysons Corner for the Nutcracker Tea.
Favorite dishes: I’m all about healthy holiday dishes that are light yet rich. I make a champagne-roasted chicken dish that is easy, filling and the meat melts in your mouth.
When I’m entertaining, one of my signature moves is to offer guests little shooters right when they walk in the door. I line a silver tray with mismatching shot glasses filled with butternut squash ginger soup. It’s meant to be consumed once and put down, but I’ve learned to make extra over the years!
Childhood traditions: A lot of people in Washington are from elsewhere or are passing through, so it’s nice to have little tastes from home. I make dishes that are a nod to my heritage, like my mother’s signature stuffing, which is made with sourdough bread, water chestnuts, black olives, apricot, Grand Marnier and wild Japanese mushrooms. It’s very San Francisco and always a hit.
I love having Cowgirl Creamery downtown, too, because they have the best local artisan cheese. They actually hail from the Bay Area near where I grew up, and the D.C. store is the only one on the East Coast.
The tree: I’ve become a huge advocate of chopping down your own! We go to Ashcroft Farm in White Post, Va., and the kids have a blast. Almost all of the farms in the area offer free hot cider or hot chocolate with marshmallows and most are dog-friendly. The Douglas fir is my favorite tree because it gives off the best fragrance.
We decorate with glass vegetable ornaments. I’ve been a vegetarian for more than 20 years, so it’s symbolic but also beautiful. Everyone always told me that you can’t have glass ornaments if you have children, but we love them. We add a couple of new ornaments every Christmas, and it’s how we map out the years.
The tree-topper: I have a straw angel that is entirely too small for our tree but was gifted to me several years ago and is close to my heart. She’s very simple. Whenever I look at her, I’m reminded that even though the holidays have become so stressful and commercial, it all boils down to a simple concept: celebrating family and a warm home.