Credit: Andy Kropa/Getty Images for Wetpaint Entertainment Photo: Richard Wakile and Kathy Wakile

It’s been a few months since the ladies from the Real Housewives of New Jersey have graced our televisions, but with the holidays fast approaching, we just couldn’t stay away from our Garden State girls.

Wetpaint Entertainment chatted exclusively with Kathy Wakile and she told us all about her Christmas plans (it sounds like they don’t include cousin Teresa Giudice!) and her new holiday-inspired cocktail!

Check back for part two of our exclusive interview with Kathy, coming next week!

Wetpaint Entertainment: How was your Thanksgiving? What did you guys do?

Kathy Wakile: It was really nice. Low-key, quite, but it was really nice. I had Thanksgiving at my house with my immediate family, my brothers, my sister and my husband’s brothers and sisters and all of our nieces and nephews, they all came. It was really low-key

What have you been the most thankful for this past year?

I would have to say really the health and wellness of my family. As long as we’re all healthy, that’s got to be my favorite. All the good things that have been happening in our lives, that comes with it but the health of all of our family is most important to us.

What holiday traditions did you, Rosie, and your family have growing up? What do you remember most?

We were always together. We would be helping my mom out in the kitchen, making a mess. Christmas Eve there was always the big anticipation of getting ready for Santa to come and we were always so excited about that. We would try to wake up in the middle of the night and catch somebody putting gifts under the tree.

We had a revolving door on Christmas Day, I grew up around a lot of cousins and it was tradition that we would go to church either Midnight Mass or the next day and people would just pop in and pop out before our big meal. We all had such big families, all my cousins, so we didn’t always spend the mealtime together because it was out of hand, but my aunts and uncles and cousins would pop in. We’d all drift to each other's houses at one point or another. We lived nearby each other so it was easy to do that.

It was fun, you couldn’t wait until your cousins popped over, even if it was for a little while, you knew that you were going to see them and spend some time together.

What are some of your family’s holiday traditions now?

Since my mother has gotten older and our families grew so much, my husband and I have taken over Christmas Eve. When we had little kids we just wanted to be home on Christmas day so they can play with their new gifts and relax. Christmas Eve is always a big gathering and everyone would come to our house. 

We do the Feast of the Seven Fishes — cook seven different types of seafood or fish — and I incorporate my husband’s heritage as well. He’s Lebanese so my mother-in-law or I’ll make some Lebanese specialties. It’s a big culmination of all of our friends and their different backgrounds. Whatever their religious beliefs are, we’re all here to celebrate. 

The real importance of any holiday is loving your family and friends and being healthy so that’s what our Christmas Eve is like. We have our Jewish friends over, we have our Muslim friends over, we have our Christian friends over, and then we have friends that really don’t practice anything, but they just want to be part of the fun. 

It’s like a really great revolving door at our house on Christmas Eve.

Whats the best Christmas gift you’ve every received?

That’s a tough one...I have to say that last year when my kids gave me a laptop for Christmas — because I was starting to think about what I was going to do next in my life — they bought me a laptop so I can keep things organized, that was really sweet, the gesture and the thought behind it. 

What really was so nice was the speeches that they put together, I had no idea. It’s the small things like that that mean so much to me. The thought that they took the time out to write their words down, their thoughts down,  that those are the things they’re feeling, wow, that made me feel great.  

Do you have any advice for how blended families. or families where the parents are divorced can still make the holidays a special time? 

That’s always such a hard thing I think. I never had to experience it myself, thankfully, but I know increasingly that it’s more the norm. I think that if people can drop their egos a little bit and realize that the kids happiness is most important. 

A holiday is really important, but if you have custody and you get to spend a majority of time with your kids, if it means a lot for them to spend that day with the other side of their family, I think you should just let them go and have your own special reenactment another day. 

It’s just a day on the calendar, you can make a holiday your own any day. I think it’s the times in between that mean the most. Just try to keep in mind the kid’s happiness and if you put your kids happiness first you’re going to do the right thing I think.