December 24, 2012 09:00 AM

Courtesy Giada De Laurentiis

The tree’s done. The stockings are hung. Giada De Laurentiis and her family — husband Todd Thompson and their daughter Jade Marie — are officially ready to host the holidays.

“Christmas Eve is the big tradition in an Italian family. It’s when my entire family gets together,” the newest face of Clairol tells PEOPLE exclusively.

“This year, for the first time, it will be held at my house … so Jade and I and my husband are very excited.”

On the menu for the family festivities is “a big fish dinner,” one that no doubt Jade will help her mother to prepare. After all, adds the celebrity chef, she is the unofficial taste tester.

“My daughter loves to cook. We have a lot of laughs together. I spend a lot of time in the kitchen and she loves hanging out with me,” De Laurentiis, 42, shares. “The reason she loves it so much is because she can stick her finger in everything and taste it as she goes along.”

Once the big dinner is done with, and the evening starts to wind down, De Laurentiis and Jade will start to prepare for the night’s biggest guest to arrive: Santa Claus. At 4½-years-old, her little girl is still a strong believer in the magic of it all, notes her proud mama.

“She leaves him little treats — for the reindeer and for him too — and she’s very much a believer in Santa,” De Laurentiis says. “I hope she’ll be a believer for a long time, I think it’s really fun for kids to be able to do that.”

Recently, the pair sat down to write out Jade’s wish list, but after much pleading on Jade’s part over the past few weeks, it’s no surprise as to what she hopes to find under the tree this year.

“The one thing she keeps asking me for over and over again is clip-on earrings. She must have seen them on somebody else, but she has asked me for clip-on earrings for the past month,” De Laurentiis notes. “I am on a mission to find clip-on earrings for her because I don’t think she’ll ever forgive me if I don’t.”

But based on her newly transformed play space, the “girly girl’s” specific accessory request should come as no surprise.

“She’s opened up her own little salon in her playroom. She gives free makeovers, she curls people’s hair and gives them little manicures as well,” De Laurentiis says. “I’ve always been a girly girl my whole life — maybe she will, maybe she won’t — but it’s a lot of fun to play with her right now.”

— Anya Leon with reporting by Kate Hogan

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