The holiday season has always been a special time for Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt's family. As the New York Times bestselling author tells us, it's her "favorite time of the year." But since having her daughters Lyla, 3, and Eloise, 1, (who she shares with husband Chris Pratt), she says that that has amplified.
"It really makes things so much more special and magical, having little kids around and wanting it to be so special for them," Schwarzenegger Pratt tells Shop TODAY over the phone. "So it gets everybody really excited about the holidays in a very different way than before we had kids around in our group, it's been a really exciting shift for everybody in my family."
Part of that comes from being able to introduce her kids to the holiday traditions that she shared with her own family, which include wearing matching pajamas and going to church on Christmas Eve.
"We all go to my mom's house in the morning on Christmas," Schwarzenegger Pratt says. "And my sister [Christina Schwarzenegger] and I try to squeeze in a sleepover, because that's something we've done every year since we've been little is have a sleepover right before Christmas."
Fast forward 30 years and her daughters might be carrying on the tradition. "It's crazy to be able to have my girls be a similar age difference as Christina and I, so it's exciting to think that they'd be able to do a lot of the same traditions," Schwarzenegger Pratt says.
Of course, finding the perfect gifts is another big part of the holiday season, and Schwarzenegger Pratt had plenty of amazing ideas to share. But during our conversation, she also let us in on one of the best Christmas gifts that Pratt gave her during their first year of marriage: Matching personalized stationery. Which she described as "a very romantic, very sweet and thoughtful gift."
"I am somebody who still loves to write handwritten notes and handwritten thank you notes, so I loved that part of it. But also the part of it that when he's on location, he got this stationery that we could both use to write each other letters back and forth."
For our Shopping Diaries series, we asked Schwarzenegger Pratt to walk us through some of her go-to gifts and current holiday favorites. (And she even revealed what she's giving Pratt this year.)
Shopping Diaries: Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt
Schwarzenegger Pratt recently released a holiday collection with Cleobella — her second line with the brand — which includes a mix of fashion staples for women and kids, as well as kitchen linens.
She says that this oven mitt set and the matching apron from the line is her "go-to hostess gift" this year. "I feel that it's something that everybody can use and put to use, especially around the holiday season, but also you can use it year-round. And you don't need someone's size, you don't need [to know] someone's taste."
Playing on her own family traditions, Schwarzenegger Pratt's collection includes matching pieces (including pajama sets!) for both kids and adults. And she shares that her daughters have loved matching each other, along with other members of the family.
"My daughters are obsessed with my mom and also my sister, so the fact that we can all do something that's matching together is really fun and special," she says.
Her girls even gave some input on the final products in the line. "I tried everything on them, in every iteration that we did, I made sure that I brought everything home and tried it on both my girls. And Lyla was very specific. We had a frill around the neck in the beginning, and she was like, 'I don't like it, it's itchy,' so we got rid of that."
Her book, "Good Night, Sister," which was released earlier this year, is her "go-to gift for children around the holidays." Inspired by Schwarzenegger Pratt’s own relationship with her sister, the children's book explores the bond between sisters.
Gifts always feel so much more meaningful when they're personalized. And recently, for a couple of family members' birthdays, Schwarzenegger Pratt created sweet DIY beauty kits with some of her favorite items. "It's not necessarily the fanciest gift but it is a gift that I feel people really enjoy." While she tells us she genuinely loves trying new products, if the person you're shopping for is somebody "who gets intimidated by products or doesn't really know how to use them," it's a great opportunity to introduce them to some of your favorites.
She starts by getting a "nice toiletry bag" that can be customized with their initials (she likes Cuyana and Clare Vivier), and adding "inside of it, my top five to 10 favorite products and writing a description."
She shared some of the products that she's used in the past, below.
"I put in the Summer Fridays lip balm because my lips get so dry around this time of year, and also my girls go through all of my products now — which is so fun," she jokes. "So I feel very comfortable letting them use a product like Summer Fridays because it's OK for them to use and also put all over their face."
She also includes one of her go-to mascaras — which just so happens to be a drugstore favorite! "Everybody always asks me what mascara I use and my CVS find has been hands-down the best one," she says.
Schwarzenegger Pratt was introduced to Laneige's viral Lip Sleeping Mask by her sister, "she was like, 'you have to try it!'," she says, and now it's one of the beauty staples she gifts to others.
The mask features ingredients like the brand's Berry Fruit Complex, along with murumuru seed and shea butter.
She also adds sunscreen to the bag. "I always talk about my journey with melasma, especially during pregnancy, so I try to get everybody to wear sunscreen," Schwarzenegger says. She adds that her current favorite brands are Supergoop! and Kosas.
Concealer is another addition. "I've been using the Merit one and also the Haus Labs one, because it's very easy to use and works very well."
As for gifts that she herself has received, Schwarzenegger Pratt says the Smeg Milk Frother, which was gifted to her by a friend, is one that gets used every day in her house. "I am really happy that she actually convinced me to use [it], because it makes such a difference in my morning. And also my morning coffee — I wake up really early — and it's the thing that I really look forward to in the morning." She adds that it "also makes hot chocolate for your kids."
She shares that Pratt has "gotten very into cooking this past year," and so she's been going to Williams Sonoma for some gifting inspiration for him. She already got him a large dish from Le Creuset (she didn't say which one, but this Dutch oven is a popular choice). "I got one for him because he likes to make things around the holidays for our whole family, so a bigger pot was definitely needed."