When I step into the breathtaking brownstone where lifestyle guru Lucie Fink is hosting a Friendsgiving in partnership with Wells Fargo’s Propel Card, she’s holding a remote high above her head, attempting to get yule log footage to appear on the TV. It’s not her actual home, but the cozy atmosphere and the ease at which Fink floats throughout the space would have you think it is. It’s clear she’s a natural host, which comes as no surprise to anyone familiar with her lifestyle videos on YouTube, both with Refinery29 and on her own channel, which boasts 151,000 subscribers. The evening is an opportunity for Fink to dole out holiday hosting tips, just in time for Thanksgiving and before the December rush begins.
I sat down with her before the festivities, cranberry cocktail in hand, to pick her brain about how she stays sane while entertaining. “I think first and foremost, take the pressure off,” Fink says when I ask what advice she would give to first-time hosts. “For me, the part of hosting that stresses me out is needing to cook. I’m like, ‘I don’t know, do I need an appetizer? Do I need a main course? Do I need dessert? Is someone vegetarian?’ That’s really stressful.” Instead of taking on the burden of holiday meal preparation, Fink operates like a true New Yorker: She orders in. “Going with Seamless is honestly an affordable and totally delicious route to go, and there’s a million options,” she says. “I just hosted a sushi Friendsgiving, which was so fun.”
If ordering Seamless isn’t an option, or if you just prefer homemade meals, Fink says delegating dishes is key. “Just because it’s your apartment doesn’t mean you have to do everything,” she says. “People want to help. I always find that my friends text me, ‘What can I bring? What can I do?’ And I wind up saying, ‘Nothing’, when I should say, ‘Your job is to make a playlist, your job is to bring the alcohol, your job is to gather everyone for photos’ — whatever the job is. And people really appreciate having a job.”
Fink says that it’s okay to be somewhat selfish when throwing a party, too. Whether you’re hosting holiday events or merely attending, it can be a dizzying time of year. As she points out, not only are family and social obligations cramming our calendars, but it also tends to be a busy time of year at work. “If you are crazy swamped all week, catch up on the weekends,” Fink recommends. “I always make sure that I’m not planning things on the weekends, or that my weekend plans are relaxing.” Consider throwing your dinner party on a Thursday (or even Friday) night so you have a couple of days to regroup after.
She also stresses the importance of being selective with your guest list. “I know that for a lot of people the holidays are a triggering time, whether it’s family drama or no family and seeing all your friends with family,” she says. “So, staying close to the people that matters most is key. I always say that the thing that I’m most grateful for in my life is having friends that feel like family and family that feel like friends. Whoever it is you feel close with, whether it’s family or friends, just sticking together, celebrating together and enjoying the close of a year…in this case, a decade.”
But that wasn’t the only helpful advice she had. Keep scrolling for more holiday hosting tips from Fink.
Set a mismatched table
Sustainability is hugely important to Fink, and something that she incorporates into all of her holiday hosting tips. “I’m trying to make it affordable and not break the bank while not buying the cheapest plastic products and polluting everything,” she tells us. Though you may be tempted to opt for paper goods, especially if your apartment’s dishware is a smorgasbord of old roommate’s mugs and mismatched dishes, Fink says that a hodge-podge is that much more charming. “I think people want to go buy some sort of plastic or paper plate because they want it to look uniform,” she says. “But it actually looks cuter when it’s just a mix of what you have. It will actually feel homier and warmer.”
Have a simple staple dish
Whether you’re hosting a last-minute party or attending a potluck, it’s always good to have a simple recipe ready to go. Fink’s go-to when tasked with making a homemade dish? Applesauce. “One thing I love doing this time of year is making homemade applesauce,” Fink’s eyes widen as she recalls a recent excursion to an orchard with friends. “We kind of had a contest. We went to this orchard, we got all these apples, and five of [my friends] were like, ‘We’re making apple crumble.’ And I was like, ‘Well, I need 10 apples for applesauce.’ And they were all just kind of laughing at me the whole time and then when they tasted it, everyone wanted the apple sauce,” she laughs.
Pare down the drink selection
Not knowing what beverages to provide can also be a source of hosting stress. “I usually just provide wine,” Fink says when I ask how to manage people’s preferences. “You can’t really offer every person’s drink. If you know someone who only drinks tequila and you know that, maybe you can have tequila for that person. But you can’t be expected to know what everyone wants.” If she’s providing signature cocktails, Fink loves to use her juicer to add fresh ingredients to her drinks. “I recently had a drink that was just fresh ginger juice, with orange juice and a little champagne. It was so fun to be like, ‘Of, you just juiced this ginger right in front of me? How fresh,’” she laughs. “It’s fancy, but it’s also not fancy. You can also just buy ginger juice from a store.”
Decorate with natural elements
When it comes to decor, Fink recognizes that it’s really all based on preference. But personally, she prefers filling the space with votive candles, warm copper and rose gold tones, and lots of greenery. “I think that the greener and the more natural the table looks, the better,” she says. “I would honestly encourage people to go outside and pick up leaves. I think that’s a fun activity with friends.” She admits, though, that this isn’t for everyone.
If bringing nature inside freaks you out, Fink advises grabbing some branches, twigs, or eucalyptus from a local flower shop. The table where we eventually sit down to eat is filled with greenery, white roses, and candles of varying heights (something Fink recommends to create dimension). She also included her signature trick: Mason jars filled with water and floating cranberries. “I do this at home all the time!” Fink exclaims when another guest gushes over the creativity of the jars.
Add a welcoming aroma
Finally, Fink recommends baking cookies before your guests come over, so your home is filled with the delectable scent. “I know a lot of people will do an artificial, scented candle, but I would recommend the actual cookies,” Fink says. “Otherwise, I go with unscented, soy wax, beeswax, whatever kind of candle is sustainable and not toxic,” she adds.