Interview with Vanessa Lachey: A Special Bracelet, Christmas Casserole & More of Her Family's Holiday Traditions

By: Robert Khan

Actress Vanessa Lachey of "A Twist of Christmas" and the upcoming "Christmas Unleashed" (Premieres Saturday, December 7 at 8/7c) tells us about a special Christmas gift from her husband, Nick, cooking during the holidays and whether she parents like her character, Abby.

What's a memorable gift your husband has given you for Christmas? And what's one you've given him?

My favorite gift is one I will be passing on to [my daughter] Brooklyn. The week before she was born was Christmas and [my husband] Nick gave me a special bracelet called a "Love Bracelet." You have to screw it on with a special tool. She will be 4 years old in January and I have never taken it off. When she turns 18 we will take it off my wrist and give it to her to remember us as she steps into her own life as a young adult and always have a piece of Mom and Dad.

What are the holidays like at your house? Do the kids tell you what gifts they want, or do you surprise them?

They are at that FUN age and Christmas is very magical to them. We let them each tell Santa a special gift they want. Then the rest are from Mom and Dad. We try to be practical, but it always seems to get out of hand. I love Christmas and always had memories of waking up to a magical tree. So Christmas Eve is a busy night for me and Nick.

What are the essential holiday traditions in the Lachey home?

We always decorate the day after Thanksgiving. And Nick and I always have this special cocktail with cream. And now new Christmas Eve traditions since it's also [my son] Phoenix's birthday.

Do you cook anything special around the holidays? Do you have a signature dish?

Yes! I love making monkey bread for Christmas Eve brunch. And I do a casserole for breakfast on Christmas morning. It's our little tradition. It has eggs, sausage, potatoes, cheese, all the good stuff!

There's a very sweet scene in the movie where the two adults, including your character, Abby, and their kids go ice skating. You all seemed like skating pros—did that come naturally for you?

No, but I am very active. It's all balance, thank goodness. I still have some of that even as a mom of three!

Abby has firm ideas on trees — she rates them by shape, scent and firmness. And they have to be decorated a certain way. What's the most important element of the Lachey family Christmas tree? Any must-have decorations?

We have a special tree just for the kids with Nick's childhood ornaments. It's special to watch the ornaments grow and change every year.

Abby doesn't like messes and is accused of "over-parenting." As a mom, are you at all like Abby?

I will say yes and no. I used to be ALL Abby, but three kids later I've let a lot slide. I have to or I'd go crazy! Nick and I are a good team. I like to think we balance each other out with everything. Fun parent, disciplinarian parent and traveling, working parent. We take turns and the other one is there to balance it out. I'm very grateful for Nick.

There's a line at the end of the movie: "The best present is living in the present." Anything you'd add to that? What's the lesson to be taken away from "A Twist of Christmas”?

Allow the moment to settle in. Nothing is ever going to be perfect or as planned, so stop and take a beat. You'll realize the beauty in everything all around you and see that it's better than you even expected.