The actress, mom, and crafter shares her holiday traditions, including two mouthwatering Christmas recipes, below.

By Jennifer Brunnemer Slaton
October 25, 2013
Tori and her family, from left: Tori, Finn, Liam, Hattie, Dean, and Stella at home in California. Below: Monogrammed stockings; Homemade snow globes, Salt dough ornaments.
Photo: Marc Royce

For actress, reality show star, and mom of four Tori Spelling, it wouldn't be Christmas without making handcrafted ornaments at her home near Los Angeles. It's a tradition that the former Beverly Hills, 90210 actress adopted as a kid.

"My mom was a crafter, and holidays were our time to do it big. Then when I had kids, it took on a whole new meaning for me," she says.

She has helpers in son Liam, 6, daughter Stella, 5 ("She calls herself a 'mini-craftista,'" Spelling says), daughter Hattie, 2, and even son Finn, 1—plus husband Dean McDermott, who starred with Spelling in their hit reality show Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood. (Their newest reality series begins this spring.)

"We make tons of decorated ornaments out of salt dough in every holiday shape," says Spelling, who also hosted TLC's Craft Wars last year. "I'm doing them every year with the kids, so by the time they're adults they'll have all their own ornaments."

Spelling celebrated both Christmas and Hanukkah with her mom and her famed producer dad, the late Aaron Spelling, and she carries on that tradition with her family today. "I grew up in a house where holidays were about family and celebrations of all kinds. Dean and I believe in that, too, and we want the kids to experience everything."

When it comes to her tree, Spelling cherishes her new DIY tradition: "The kids and Dean and I actually cut down our own tree at a place in Santa Clarita—you take a train ride, get a wagon, and saw your own tree!"

Spelling also gets crafty with her kids in the kitchen, baking up delicious holiday dishes. She shared two of her favorites with us.

Tori Spelling’s Favorite Green Beans
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 17 minutes

10          slices bacon
1/2         pound fresh green beans
4            tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4         cup brown sugar
1            tablespoon soy sauce
1            teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1. Preheat oven to 375°. Line a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with aluminum foil.

2. Cook bacon, in batches, in a heavy skillet over medium heat 5 minutes or until partly cooked but not crisp. Drain on paper towels.

3. Cook green beans in boiling salted water for 2 minutes. Drain, and rinse with cold water. Arrange beans evenly into 10 bundles. Wrap each bundle with a slice of bacon.

4. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in sugar, soy sauce, and Worcestershire sauce. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly, until sugar melts. Brush mixture over bean bundles. Bake 10 to 15 minutes until bacon is cooked through. Makes 10 servings.

Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

1            (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
3/4         cup peanut butter
2            cups all-purpose baking mix
1            teaspoon vanilla
1/4         cup sugar
1            (13-ounce) package milk chocolate kisses

1. Beat condensed milk and peanut butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add baking mix and vanilla, beating at low speed just until blended.

2. Shape dough into 1-inch balls; roll in sugar. Place on lightly greased baking sheets.

3. Bake at 350° for 11 minutes. Remove from oven, and immediately place a chocolate kiss in center of each cookie. Remove cookies to wire racks to cool.