The 'How to Make It in America' star says she enjoys spending the holidays at home with her parents

By Kate Hogan
Updated November 14, 2011 05:00 PM

Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic

Far from Brooklyn and the fashion industry amateurs Lake Bell hangs out with on How to Make It in America, the actress kicked off the holiday season at Manhattan’s Henri Bendel on Thursday, starting her shopping after the store’s famous holiday window unveiling.

And though she was dressed up for the big event — “I’m very festive, I kind of go with the store, don’t I?” she asked — Bell said when it comes to holidays at home, she prefers to dress down. “I like that the holidays are a moment to take a break from all the style talk and just hang around with your parents,” she told PEOPLE. “I think my holiday style actually is in truth wearing sweatpants and a T-shirt.”

However, relaxing her dress code doesn’t mean taking a break from beauty routines, too. “I think that the main thing about the holidays is the hydration situation. It gets dry, and I already have dry skin,” she explained. “I think the best beauty tip is just drink a lot of water and spritz yourself with some sort of herbal essential.”

Celebrating in a shimmering one-shoulder Zimmerman mini (“Let’s be honest, I look like a really classy Christmas tree ball and I’m fine with that,” she joked), Bell took in Bendel’s Rockettes-inspired windows and mingled with donors from FINCA’s Lend a Hand program (she served as a host for the organization, and 10 percent of proceeds from Thursday night’s sales benefited the online donation project). She even tried some festive jewelry on for size.

But it’s not holiday break time for Bell just yet: before she treats herself to her annual tradition of one vegan “cheat” during her holiday meal plus a New Year’s Eve trip to “somewhere warm,” the actress is looking forward to what’s in store for her How to Make It character, Rachel Chapman. She promises, “This next episode is my favorite for my character. There’s debauchery and sweatiness — and that’s all I can say.”

–Elyse Roth