Gabrielle Union’s best trick for surviving hostess duty?
“I like to be pretty tipsy by the time it gets started,” she tells PEOPLE. “Usually I find a little booze ahead of time. kind of eases you into the holidays and gives you the space to not stress out.”
The liquid courage also allows the actress, who recently released a home décor line with Shutterfly, to forget about place settings and guest politics.
“I’m not thinking about who’s not talking to whom,” she says, adding she makes an effort to, “try to not invite people who are at war with each other.”
Union’s low-key entertaining survival guide also maintains that her friends and family members shouldn’t have to waste time or money picking up hostess presents.
“I hate them,” Union, 45, says. “People always feel the need to bring gifts, which then lends itself to more thank-you cards.”
Besides avoiding the extra paperwork, her stance on nixing the old-school etiquette is more about making the experience enjoyable for partygoers who join her, her husband Dwyane Wade, 35, his nephew Dahveon Morris, 16, and his sons from a previous marriage Zaire, 15, and Zion, 10 at their house.
“I’ve invited you to my home, not for you to bring me gifts, but just because I want your presence,” says Union, who released her first book this year. “I don’t want to add stress to your life.”
There is one catch to her pressure-free and boozy soiree style, though: the possibility of a serious seasonal hangover. But don’t worry — she has a cure for that, too.
“Taco Bell,” she says. “From college days on, it’s amazing in a pinch.”
For more of Union’s spirited holiday tips, watch the full video above.