I personally love the holiday season. There’s something about spending time with the people I love and being cozy at home with them. Christmas magic is a lot for me as a mom, but I’ve figured out what traditions really work for me and my family. And as it turns out, celebrities are no different. I got the great pleasure of talking with John Legend and Chrissy Teigen about their family holiday traditions, which include getting into the kitchen with their kids Luna and Miles.
As a family, they like to spend time together preparing food — as evidenced by many of their social media posts. Cooking with young kids is always a fun (though mildly anxiety-inducing) experience. John Legend and Chrissy Teigen are no different when it comes to being cautiously excited about cooking with their little ones. As Chrissy points out, it’s important for them to learn about hot stoves and sharp knives, but “you don’t want them to burn themselves on the hot stove!” You want to teach them proper knife skills, but then you’re going to be holding your breath while they demonstrate their skills. (To their credit, they let Luna use sharp knives. I have an 8-year-old and I don’t trust him that much.) 5-year-old Luna loves to “slice strawberries” and other simple things. Like every little one, she also loves cracking eggs.
“I was so proud when she cracked her first egg properly,” John said, his eyes shining at the memory.
Chrissy explained why getting into the kitchen with your kids is important, even though we freak out a little. Aside from being a fun bonding experience and giving them a better appreciation for food, you’re tapping into some other parts of their brain space.
“Flour is a sensory experience for kids,” she points out. “It’s like the stuff they do in school — those sensory bins and boxes.”
Making their special Chex Party Mix is another way to give the kids that same sensory experience with minimal mess. According to John and Chrissy, Miles is still “reckless” in the kitchen, but even he has a good time “experiencing the different textures” while they create. Even though the family has their patented Chex Party Mix they love, it’s also something that they like to get creative with! That’s the inherent magic of Chex cereal. John and Chrissy prefer to use corn Chex for their mixes, which they then personalize.
“If we’re making them for Luna’s friends and we know one of them likes marshmallows, then we’ll add mini marshmallows,” Chrissy said about their love for customization. John’s favorite is a peanut butter and chocolate combo, which we both agreed is the best flavor combination to ever exist in the history of flavors.
“We’ve moved away from buying impersonal gifts for our friends in favor of making gifts,” John explained. For them, that includes their custom Chex Party Mix.
“If I bake for you, that’s how you know I love you,” Chrissy told me. I absolutely love baking and can totally share her feelings. For Chrissy, it’s not merely the love, but the time commitment that baking requires.
“I like to clean up as I go,” she explained, adding that following a recipe can take “hours” because of this. I admit, I wish I could be that diligent when I’m baking, but I did share a tip I figured out while doing my Thanksgiving baking. If you do your measuring over a kitchen towel or dishrag, you can more easily shake things like sugar or other spilled spices into the sink or garbage. Chrissy did think it was a good hack, so I hope she uses it sometime and thinks of me.
Talking about my Thanksgiving cleanup tip led us to talk more about the recent holiday. “Thanksgiving is like my Super Bowl,” Chrissy explained — and girl, same.
Thanksgiving at John Legend and Chrissy Teigen’s house is a “blending of cultures” as Chrissy prepares the kind of spread she loves, but also incorporates John’s family recipes. Like me, Thanksgiving is full of her “favorite foods,” so she goes all out with dinner.
And while Thanksgiving is Chrissy’s day to shine, Christmas is John’s big day. Growing up in Ohio, Christmas was a day for celebration. The entire Stephens family gets together, and it really is a celebration of the spirit of the holiday, but also spending time together as a family. John spoke warmly about holidays past with his entire family gathering around the piano and singing Christmas songs. (Chrissy confirms that this actually happens, and she was amazed the first time she witnessed it.)
“I made my Christmas album, ‘A Legendary Christmas’, to remind me of those times,” he explained. The album, a mix of holiday classics and originals, is perfect to put on as you decorate the tree or play in the background while you bake holiday cookies. Since its release, it’s in regular rotation at Christmastime at my house. My favorite track is “Silver Bells”, which is also one of his favorites. A soulful take on a pretty basic holiday standard, Legend said he gave it a more “Barry White feel” to spice it up a bit, and it absolutely works.
Since Christmas is fast approaching, I had to know what was going to be on Chrissy Teigen’s Christmas dinner table.
“Beef Wellington!” she said excitedly.
Beef Wellington seems pretty fancy, but Chrissy explains that they’re not as hard as they look, especially if you buy a pre-made puff pastry dough. She also told me that Wellingtons are a new thing for her in the kitchen, and while they’re “so nostalgic and old school,” they’re definitely worth the hype. “I have a meatloaf Wellington in the cookbook (“Cravings: All Together”) and it’s really delicious. I was on this mission to incorporate stuffing into a recipe somehow and so instead of plain breadcrumbs we use stuffing ground up in the meatloaf mixture — it tastes so much like the holidays.” I don’t even like meatloaf, and I think it sounds yummy.
When it comes to cooking for the holidays, or even on just a regular Tuesday, Chrissy Teigen is all about finding ways to make things easier. “Seeing the first cookbook, pre-kids is so funny,” she said. “Stripping thyme and like, taking the time to do this — no, fry your own wontons. Oh my God, it all went out the window.”
“She makes it a little easier to prep and do all the other things in this book because she knows what it’s like to have kids,” John adds.
Sounds like we want to get invited to their house this holiday season.
This article was originally published on