Zulay’s 9 Hacks to Help Your Holiday Season Run Smoothly

Zulay, Kevin and Kennedy

Modern Muze founder Zulay Henao is known for being the hostess with the mostest. However, it wasn’t always this way.

The actress and entrepreneur has thrown her fair share of soirees. From launch parties, birthdays, baby showers and retreats — she’s got it all down to a science. And when it comes to the holidays, she’s mastered the art of hacking the system to enjoy herself.

This holiday season, we’re sharing her nine hacks for running things smoothly, coquito in hand! You can thank us later.

Zulay, Kevin and Kennedy
Zulay Henao, Kennedy and Kevin Connolly

1. Quit the idea of perfection

From decorating to making enough empanadas, Henao reminds us we will fall short somewhere — and it’s okay.

“I think embracing that the holidays bring with it a lot of hectic energy, from late flights to last-minute guests…Christmas lights that decided to stop working on Noche Buena,” she says. “Releasing the idea that all has to be perfect and allowing some of that hectic Christmas energy to transmute to joy! I personally have had to reframe a lot in past years!”

2. Say adios to diets and restrictions

If you’ve been reducing yourself to crackers and water for the holidays, take a moment to set them aside for a few days. After all, you can’t let all the tamales, empanadas, lechón and moros go to waste. Can you?

“This is the best time of the year, I am not saying to completely get off track, but to enjoy all the amazing food our culture has to offer without shame or guilt,” Henao asserts.

3. Plan ahead

Planning will save you a lot of heartbreak, stress and panic during the holidays. If you are throwing a party, book vendors early, prepare your home for guests in advance, and save yourself last-minute stress with cleaning and sprucing.

“Create a music playlist etc.,” Henao says. “Delegate, you don’t have to do everything alone!”

4. Start shopping early

While it seems like you have plenty of time for shopping during the holidays, don’t leave things for the last minute. Check out our store for some great holiday gifts!

5. Set a budget— and stick to it!

Overspending is one of the greatest issues faced during the holidays, but it doesn’t have to be. Keep yourself accountable and remember that giving comes in various forms. Stick to thoughtful but useful gifts to ensure money well spent.

6. Tell your partner what you actually want for Christmas, don’t wait for them to guess

Magical thinking continues to be alive and well. Of course, for our partners and ourselves, this can be daunting.

“When figuring out the right gift if you’re in a new relationship or any relationship and feel like your partner needs a little push or help, give it,” Henao says. “I often hear from friends that they were expecting a certain gift and didn’t receive it. Speak up, even though it’s the season of giving, and most people want to give, we don’t always know what you want! I know what Kevin wants this year and that means, for me, zero stress.”

7. Let go of expectations and be open to receiving

Expectations often leave us disappointed. Especially when we want everything to go perfectly. This holiday season, let go of what you expect and open yourself up to receiving in all its forms. Be it love, gifts, or surprises, expect the unexpected.

8. Manifest

Muzas are big on manifesting! Henao suggests scripting your dreams out daily, “It’s such a magical time and such a great reset for the year ahead.”

9. Rest, hydrate and enjoy the coquito!

Finally, in case you need a little push to rest, this is your sign. Take this time to take it down a notch, nap, cuddle up next to your favorite people and of course— sip on the coquito.