A self-proclaimed “healthy-ish chef, author, beauty and wellness junkie, with an easy laugh,” Serena Wolf is the star of our final 2023 Holiday Tastemaker Blog Series. After graduating from Harvard, Serena cultivated her passion for food at Le Cordon Bleu Paris and has since put her culinary skills to work as a private chef, culinary instructor, recipe developer, and blogger at Domesticate-Me.com. She is the best-selling author of The Dude Diet cookbook series and the co-host of the podcast, Spiraling. Her work has been featured on TODAY, The Huffington Post, SELF, Woman’s Day, and The New York Post. While she grew up in Santa Barbara, California, Serena has transitioned into an East Coaster and splits her time between New York City and Sag Harbor
Serena was paired with Dogwood Hill artist Meagan Morrison of Travel Write Draw who created the vibrant illustrations and graphics featured throughout the Serena Wolf Collection. Serena sent a smattering of holiday inspiration images to Meagan in their planning stages that included cozy fireside images alongside bright punchy holiday artwork. And of course, Serena included some holiday aperitifs in her inspiration images:
Meagan was excited to see that her style aligned cohesively with Serena when she first met with her. “On the introductory call that I had with Serena, she expressed how she wanted the collection to feel joyful, whimsical, and a bit tongue-and-cheek. I was so thrilled to hear her say the words joy and whimsy, because those are the two most common adjectives used to describe my art style! It was clear from the beginning that it was going to be a really playful and harmonious pairing between us,” Meagan said.
Meagan was also pleased that Serena wanted to pull from her West Coast upbringing to create a fun antidote to traditional East Coast holiday traditions and colorways. This allowed Meagan to infuse her personal love of travel and storytelling through destinations into the collection. “I’m so elated with how this collection came together and seeing my art utilized in ways I never dreamed of, like that gorgeous West Coast pink plaid!” Meagan said.
Continue scrolling for a preview of Serena Wolf’s Holiday Tastemaker Collection. Don’t miss the fabulous recipe cards and culinary themed paper as well as some striking pink plaid stationery that Meagan mentioned above. We love the idea of gifting this preprinted Cocktail Recipe Card Set along with the drink fixings for the holidays!
Our fun holiday-themed Q&A with Serena is at the bottom of the post.
Q&A with Serena:
Which card from your Tastemaker Suite will you be sending out to friends and family this holiday?
In keeping with the theme of this collection, I plan to send two! The East Coast Sleigh for friends and family celebrating in cool climates, and the West Coast Sleigh for those living it up in warmer weather. (I also can’t wait to use the East Coast menus and place cards for holiday dinners!)
What was the inspiration behind your holiday suite?
My collection was inspired by the unique but overlapping joys of warm and cold weather holidays. As someone who grew up in Southern California but has been living in New York City for most of her adult life, I wanted to highlight some of my favorite elements of holidays on both coasts while leaning into my passion for sharing festive food (and, of course, champagne!) with people we love.
What was the process like designing your holiday suite with the Dogwood Hill team? What was your favorite part about the process?
I can’t tell you how much fun I had designing this suite with the Dogwood Hill team. I am a sucker for beautiful paper goods and have always admired the quality and artistry of Dogwood Hill products, and it was an honor to get to collaborate with such a talented and enthusiastic team to bring this suite to life. Meagan is an incredible artist, and I felt like we were on the same wavelength immediately. From the playful Beverly Hills Hotel-inspired pinks and greens to the beautifully rendered ingredients for the Pot of Christmas, she perfectly captured the visions I had in my head, and I’m so grateful for her partnership.
What is your favorite tradition?
Dirty Christmas cookies! My husband and I throw a Dirty Christmas Cookie Party every year, and it is always wildly festive and hilarious. In addition to the standard holiday party food and drink, I bake a ton of sugar cookies using some very inappropriate cookie cutters and set out a cookie decorating bar on our kitchen island with different frostings and toppings. It’s a tradition that we took over from my husband’s family, and our friends and family take their naughty cookie decorating very seriously. It makes me laugh just thinking about it, and I look forward to the ridiculousness all year long.
What is your favorite holiday song?
It’s a toss up between Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) by Darlene Love and pretty much any version of Santa Baby. But my younger self would be disappointed if I didn’t mention Britney Spears’ My Only wish. A classic. 😉
What is your go-to holiday hostess gift?
Depending on who it’s for, I love to put together a cute basket or bag of ingredients for mulled wine, Mistletoe Margaritas or Pot of Christmas! I’m also partial to pithy holiday-themed cocktail napkins and a napkin holder.
What kind of holiday shopper are you – Black Friday, Christmas Eve or year long stasher?
I feel like I’ve fallen into each of these categories at various life stages, but I’m really trying to solidify my spot in the year-long stasher category these days. When I see something that I think a friend or family member would love, I try to snag it regardless of the season to mitigate the last-minute shopping anxiety.
What brings you a sense of calm during the busy holiday season?
Puppy cuddles, a long stretch before bed, holiday-themed romance novels, and a little “bathtub theater” when possible. My husband gave me a bath tray for Christmas many, many years ago, and I’ll rest my laptop on it to watch a Christmas movie for as long as possible before turning into a prune…
Are you team real tree or faux tree?
Real tree! I live for the smell, and I will happily track pine needles all over my house and break something bringing in/removing the tree from the living room forever and ever.
Are you team white lights or colored whites?
Oooh this is a source of contention in my marriage. I’m team colored lights, but my husband is team white lights. We’ve been alternating years, but I really need to invest in the lights that are capable of both.
What is your favorite holiday recipe? Would you be open to sharing?
I always make a Slow-roasted Beef Tenderloin on either Christmas Eve or Christmas Day depending on where I’m celebrating—usually with some type of scalloped potatoes, and the Brussels sprout salad and roasted carrots from my second cookbooks. It’s one of my all-time favorite meals to make and eat.
Is there one holiday entertaining hack or secret you can share?
Don’t let your ego force you to overcomplicate food and drink! I always recommend keeping items that need to be served hot to a minimum. Choose one or two hot items and round out your menu with dishes that can be served at room temperature so that you’re not stressing over timing and scrambling to reheat things when your guests arrive.
And remember, there’s no shame in outsourcing parts (or all!) of the menu. It’s very unlikely that a guest cares whether the pigs in a blanket are homemade or whether you baked the pie yourself–they just want to spend time with you. I truly believe that people vibe off the host, so make your own happiness/low stress level a priority. If you’re having fun, your guests will too!
Who is your dream holiday party guest? If applicable, please share their Instagram handles.
Will Ferrell. Preferably in his Elf costume.
What are you most thankful for this year?
The health of my family and friends. Life is short and unpredictable, and I just feel particularly grateful for my people this year.
Card Photography: Mary Margaret Smith