Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt is having a "blessed" holiday season as a new mom!
The author tells PEOPLE she couldn't be more "excited" to share this Christmas with 4-month-old daughter Lyla Maria.
"It's her first Christmas and I'm really looking forward to it," Schwarzenegger Pratt says. "Having her grow up, getting a little bit more comfortable in the kitchen and having fun in the kitchen is definitely something I'm looking forward to having be a part of our tradition around the holidays."
Schwarzenegger Pratt, 31, and husband Chris Pratt, 41, welcomed their first child together in August, and the star reveals "motherhood is the greatest gift and such a joy" despite the "unique experience" of having to balance it all amid the coronavirus pandemic.
"It's a really hard time for everyone, and being pregnant and having my first child in a pandemic is definitely a silver lining in this wild year we've had," she says. "I feel really blessed to have been able to become a mom during this time. It's something that I've looked forward to my whole life."
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She reveals that safety has been her "number one priority" since giving birth, and admits she couldn't be more grateful to have her family to lean on. "I really try to stay close to my family when it's a possibility, and they have been really great about that and really supportive and understanding of my craziness when it comes to being safe around this crazy COVID world that we live in."
Schwarzenegger Pratt is staying focused on safety as the holidays approach, taking planning "day by day" as pandemic measures continue to fluctuate. No matter what, the star is planning to spend the time "being able to have fun with recipes and food because that makes everybody happy on Christmas morning."
She has teamed up with Planet Oat to develop a series of "super easy and simple" plant-based or dairy free appetizer recipes that bring "family together in a safe and a healthy way" this holiday season by incorporating oat milk.
"I grew up loving to bake, but getting comfortable in the kitchen is definitely something that I've been practicing while being in quarantine," she admits. Husband Pratt also complimented her baking skills, saying the couple have both been learning their way around the kitchen this year.
"I would love my family to think on Christmas morning that I have quickly become a gourmet chef, but the reality is that most of these Planet Oat recipes are really simple and not intimidating," she says with a laugh.
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As for holiday traditions she looks forward to each year, Schwarzenegger Pratt says "just being together" with family is always at the top of her list. "We all go to my mom's house Christmas morning and spend the day there," she says. "Then my sister and I, every year since we've gotten older, we make the tradition of having a sleepover before Christmas."
While the star says neither she or her husband are better than the other at picking gifts, she plans on "giving gifts that are homemade" this year. "I think this year has proven to so many people that we have so much stuff, so to be able to get creative with gift giving this year and cook something or bake something is a really great way to go into the new year," she says.
She recently celebrated her 31st birthday, and couldn't have been happier to spend it with her daughter and family.
"I woke up with my husband making me a wonderful latte that said 'Happy Birthday' on it, and my mom dropped off a cake she bakes every year, which is really sweet and thoughtful," she gushes. "Then I went on a walk with my brother and spent some time with my sister and my little brother. It was just a great way to safely see my family."
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