Self-confessed bad cook

Angelina Jolie

will try her hand at whipping up Christmas dinner for boyfriend

Brad Pitt

and their brood today - but she'll have a fallback option so the fam won't be famished if she happens to mess up.

The Jolie-Pitt domestic array is celebrating Christmas - or, as Angelina calls it, "the festive period" - at their $3.5 million manse in New Orleans, a city that Pitt has been trying to help get back on its feet after Hurricane Katrina by backing an effort to rebuild housing in the city's Lower Ninth Ward.

"I've never really cooked before," Jolie tells the Sunday Express of London. "But this year, I'm going to try to cook a turkey with the kids. In case it doesn't work out, we'll have a pizza waiting."

The children of the household have made their Christmas wishes known in a letter to Santa Claus written by Jolie's eldest son,

Maddox

, 6, on behalf of himself and his sibs:

Pax

, 4;

Zahara

, 2; and

Shiloh

, 18 months.

A source tells OK! magazine, that Maddox requested "an

Elf

DVD and remote-controlled cars for Pax because his brother loves cars. Shiloh is getting a doll and a couple of books.

"Zahara wants princess dresses and a crying doll. Maddox has no idea why Z would want her toy to cry," the source says.

"Maddox really wanted a remote-controlled dinosaur. He asked Grandma

Jane [Pitt]

for one, but he isn't sure if she is going to buy it for him."

All I want for Christmas

Paris Hilton

, that

Simple Life

girl, has a simple, one-item Christmas list. The heiress confided to London paparazzi that she just wants "a man to fall in love with, one for life, that I can start a family with."

Turning up the heat

London's Daily Mirror reports that British celebrity chef

Nigella Lawson

has run afoul of the U.K.'s Food Standards Agency over the length of time Lawson says is required to cook a turkey.

The agency, which is campaigning to prevent yuletide food poisoning, says a 15-pound turkey should be cooked for three hours and 55 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius (356 degrees Fahrenheit).

Lawson says to cook the bird for two hours and 45 minutes at 180 Celsius after blasting it at 200 Celsius (392 Fahrenheit) for the first half hour.

"The most important thing is always to check that the bird is properly cooked before serving," warn the food bureaucrats, "because eating undercooked turkey could cause food poisoning."

No response from the glamorous cook.

Christmas with the Cruises

Katie Holmes

tells Parade magazine that she and hub

Tom Cruise

will spend Christmas in Colorado with daughter

Suri

. Tom's parents and Katie's will be there, too.

"I have always been a huge fan of the holidays," Katie tells Parade. "My birthday is December 18th, so it's my favorite time of the year. I'm from a big family, and we always did a grand Christmas Eve with all of the relatives. We'd sing Christmas carols and open gifts. Really joyous. Last year was Suri's first Christmas. It was so spectacular to share the holidays with her. It really meant the world to me. To be able to create a tradition for your children is one of the best gifts you can have."

Christmas at their house

Entertainment Tonight

asked some celebs about how they celebrate Christmas.

"We have mariachis come to the house at midnight on Christmas Eve," newly married Desperate Housewife

Eva Longoria

tells

ET.

"It's great," she says, and her new hub, San Antonio Spurs star

Tony Parker

, loves the mariachi.

Charlie Sheen

, who may have awakened on more than one Christmas morning expecting to find coal in his stocking, says his fam will sing "The Twelve Days of Christmas," as it does every year, at the insistence of patriarch

Martin Sheen

. Everybody has to sing every verse. "The one you don't want is 'five golden rings,' " says Charlie. "That's a note I can't hit!"

Nicole Kidman

says Christmas turns her into a little kid again. "I love Christmas trees because of the sparkly lights," she shares with

ET

. "I sound like I'm 5!"

American Idol

emcee

Ryan Seacrest

, who now works Christmas Day doing the Disneyland Parade for TV and helps

Dick Clark

welcome the new year, tells

ET

he has to make sure he doesn't get injured. "We do fondue for Christmas, that's our tradition," he says. "Long forks that are hot, that can burn your lips are always fun. I always make sure I don't stab myself before the New Year's Eve show."

Jon Cryer

, sounding a lot like his character on

Two and a Half Men

, says: "I'm the worst at Christmas preparations. I'm the guy who just hangs one little multicolored band of lights in the window. It's just very sad."

Brooke Shields

says she wakes up and has "tree-shaped pancakes."

Christmas looks a lot like any other day to newsman

Anderson Cooper

. "To be honest, I usually end up working, which is a little pathetic," he confides to

ET

.

And to

Vince Vaughn

, Christmas isn't what it used to be. "Once you get to 19 or 20, all you ever get for Christmas are the things you never wanted," Vaughn says. "Socks - got to say thank you, while you're thinking, Let's throw these aside."

Contact "SideShow" at sideshow@phillynews.com.

This column contains information from Inquirer wire services.