Throw a Sunday brunch after the holidays and before everyone hits the road, then take the rest of the day to yourself. Brooklyn chef and cookbook author Louisa Shafia has the plan.



woman in kitchen


tips + how-tos

green glasses on platter

Louisa uses seasonality and sustainability as muses for the menu and beyond. Here's how.


While shopping in the vegetable aisle, buy extra of whatever's seasonal and vibrant, like fresh herbs, pomegranates, persimmons or winter squash. Just placing them in a big bowl makes the table look bountiful and beautiful.

Most cities have some form of farmers' market. Use fresh-food finds: local dairy (serve it with coffee) and pastureraised turkeys -- they eat organic feed, and they taste better.


Paper towels can be a hostess' savior, but try using cloth when you can, like for napkins or table linens. A sponge or reusable microfiber cleaning cloth is great for spills, too. If you must use paper towels, buy ones made from recycled paper.

When treating guests to a meal, real plates and silverware just elevate the experience. If you don't have enough, ask to borrow from neighbors or friends for the day.

Have something nice to look at, like extra trays, colorful accessories or a mini gourd to weigh down a stack of napkins. And if it's sustainable -- like recycled glasses -- that's all the better!


Leave your music collection out for guests to skim. A record player is fun because everyone takes turns spinning some vinyl. For a daytime party try jazz, bossa nova or lounge albums -- something with a beat and quieter lyrics.

See guests out the door with their first holiday "to do" checked off the list. Give away goodies that will help during the holiday season.