The holidays are in full swing, and Real Housewives of New Jersey star Melissa Gorga is enjoying them to the fullest.
“Christmas is my favorite holiday,” she tells Babble in an exclusive interview. She gets it going by decorating her stately home as soon as possible; everything is in place by early December. “I have a ridiculous amount of decorations,” she says – including oversized poinsettias and enormous nutcrackers standing sentry at the front door.
Melissa isn’t so prompt when it comes to shopping, however. “I do everything last-minute,” she confesses. “I buy presents the last three days before Christmas.”
She does it the hard way, too. “I don’t do much shopping online,” she says. “I go to the stores because I prefer to see it with my eyes and grab it. I’m usually all over the place, but I have a pre-plan; I know what I want before I go.” (It’s a long list; in addition to husband Joe and their three children, Melissa has “a lot of nieces and nephews” and staff members to buy for.)
What do her kids want for Christmas? “My daughter [7-year-old Antonia] wants an American Girl doll that looks just like her, with curly hair,” says Melissa. “The boys [Gino, 5, and Joey, 2] are into superheroes, everything superhero!” They’re sure to appreciate whatever Santa brings. “They still believe, and I want to keep it that way as long as possible,” Melissa says.
Christmas Eve is Melissa’s favorite time. “I like how we stay up till midnight,” she says. “The kids put on cute pajamas and we open gifts.” Some years, they attend Midnight Mass before they do the unwrapping; other years, they attend church the next morning.
Then on Christmas Day, they’ll gather with family – this year it’ll probably be at Melissa’s sister’s house – for a traditional Italian feast. “I always make eggplant and broccoli rabe, and my mother makes lasagna and manicotti,” she says. At this time of year, there’s no worrying about diet for this fitness-conscious Housewife: “I don’t count any calories. Instead, I eat and go to the gym.”
Guilt-free libations will be part of her celebrating, however. Melissa is the newest celebrity ambassador for Voli Light Vodkas, the world’s first low-calorie vodka. “We’re going to the naval station [the NEX Navy Exchange Store in Norfolk, VA] on the 19th, and we’ll have Voli Light flowing,” she says. “I love the martinis made with their pomegranate and raspberry vodkas.”
Never far from Melissa’s thoughts, however, are the thousands of people in New Jersey and New York still struggling after the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. “I just hope my fans get out there and donate to Sandy relief,” she says. “I know a lot of people who are still affected, and I hope that people who have their lives intact will do something at Christmas to help them out.”
[Photo: via Pivotal Public Relations]
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