'Almost Christmas' Star Gabrielle Union Offers Her Favorite Holiday Must-Haves

Almost Christmas star Gabrielle Union is all about family tradition. That doesn't mean she'll kill herself to keep it going, though. The 44-year-old actress has a lot on her plate, beyond the one that's bound to have some bangin' food on it come Christmas Day. Union is juggling a solid showbiz career, a husband with a NBA schedule, and a family — all while looking better than ever while doing it. Therefore, Union isn't hung up on the place settings or even hosting a family Christmas get-together. "I feel zero pressure," she tells me. The holidays can be a stressful time, but Union's advice and holiday dinner must-haves make it easier to let go and actually enjoy the family time.

In Almost Christmas, a tight-knit family gets together for the first Christmas since their matriarch of a mom passes away — and Christmas happened to be the mother's speciality. However, Union has a unique spin on how she spends the holiday with her family, since her husband Dwyane Wade usually plays on Thanksgiving and Christmas. "Unless you’re in the arena with us, don’t look to us to be hosting any dinners," she says. And although Union's heart is with tradition, she doesn't beat herself up for succumbing to her crazy schedule.

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"Sometimes life gets in the way and you gotta let yourself off the hook," she says. She used to try being that Christmas host — the one who does it all — but it became way too much. "Life will go on. I’ve embraced that, and I strongly encourage other people to," she says. To her, a memorable holiday get-together is about the company and memories, not the perfect setup.

"No one really leaves a Christmas meal talking about place settings or how the turkey was plated... Nobody cares," she says. And her thoughts on people who would actually judge you for not hosting the perfect Christmas Day? "They’re jackasses," she says.

For Union, family comes first and the rest shouldn't create stress. Plus, there's nothing a little booze can't solve. But if you are going to plan the perfect holiday dinner, here are Union's favorite Christmas Day essentials:

A Candied Ham

"First and foremost," she says.

Collard Greens

But she doesn't play around. "Collard greens made with real pork products, not the healthy collard greens and certainly not the $66 bag of collard greens," she says. Union adds that the department stores trying to sell them are "insane."

Candy Cane Cookies

And her special recipe is here.

A Tub of Garrett Popcorn from Chicago

"You need [it]," she says.

Lastly: Tequila.

Enough said.

It's a shame Union doesn't have the time to host more Christmas festivities, because I have a feeling she's an A+ host from this list alone. But she's got family (and tequila) on her mind, and that's all that matters.

Almost Christmas premieres November 10.