Martha Stewart demonstrates her top entertaining tips at the 2013 Delicious Food Show in Toronto.

Known for her impeccable style and lavish soirees, Martha is a true inspiration for those aspiring to be the ultimate dinner-party (or brunch, or cocktail party, or typical Tuesday night) host. Her ideas come from dining out as much as possible and paying attention to top food trends, but for holiday season entertaining, Martha lets us in on how she gets it right every year.

Martha Stewart’s Top 5 Holiday Entertaining Tips:

1. Always have the essentials on-hand. When guests stop by last-minute, have what you need in the house to make easy but impressive dishes like poached eggs, berry crisps or apple pie; minimal effort with big impact. This does not mean you need the pantry fully stocked though. Martha’s fridge does not have much, but she makes a point of having fruit, butter, four kinds of milk, cottage cheese and condiments.

2. Homemade gifts go a long way. Martha’s go-to Christmas present is “Mrs. Maus’s Fruitcake” from her first cookbook. Her trick is chopping the fruit by hand with a sharp Japanese cleaver. You don’t have to be a seasoned pastry chef to gift baked goods; newbies can find success with things like bundt cake or no-bake cakes. A lot of recipes from “Martha Stewart’s Cakes: Our First-Ever Book of Bundts, Loaves, Layers, Coffee Cakes, and more” have only five ingredients, and all you need is an oven and a mixer.

3. Be organized. The most important thing is to make sure your party is fun for your guests, which is impossible if the host is frantic. Martha’s parties tend to get bigger and bigger every year, which can be overwhelming. But a well thought-out plan will keep the host (and guests!) in party mode.

4. Keep the  menu within your ability.You can get into a lot of trouble being overly ambitious. Keep things simple and everything will flow more smoothly.

5. Start the party off with a bang: when guests arrive, have a really good drink ready to greet them with. Martha is particularly fond of sugar-rimmed bourbon sours!