Sasha Alexander likes to end her year on a high note.
Each year, the actress gathers her best girlfriends and treats them to a very special meal.
“At the end of every year I always feel very reflective, and so I always do a gratitude dinner or a gratitude lunch to thank [my girlfriends] for being there for me, and for being amazing women,” Alexander told People.
Alexander told the magazine that the annual celebration begins with the Dawson’s Creek alum tying a red piece of yarn to guests’ wrists as they arrive for good luck and health.
“It’s an old Italian tradition,” said the Rizzoli & Isles actress. “It’s something you’re supposed to keep on as long as it stays on.”
The menu plays an important part in the tradition and always features dishes with an Italian flair. The 41-year-old actress told People that this year’s meal includes recipes from Sophia Loren, who is the mother of Alexander’s husband, Edoardo Ponti.
“The ricotta cake is pretty amazing, I have to say,” she said when asked which dish is her favorite. “It’s pretty awesome, especially if you serve it with raspberries on top!”
— Rizzoli & Isles (@RizzoliaddIsles) December 9, 2014
The highlight of the celebration is when Alexander takes some time to thank each of her friends individually for their role in her life.
“I really treasure the friendships with the women in my life because they’re the ones I call and can talk about anything with,” she said. “We all have such busy and full lives, and especially when you have children and families, and you’re juggling work and kids, you just don’t get to spend that time together to just say, ‘Thank you’ and ‘You’re so awesome.’”