7 Things I'm Buying Right Now to Make Holiday Hosting a Breeze
This time of year always feels so festive and magical. One of my favorite parts of the holiday season is getting to spend time with the people I love the most (plus, gatherings usually involve lots of wine and delicious food—both major wins in my book). Every year I promise myself I'll be more present and won't get caught up in the hustle and bustle of it all, but by mid-December, I'm usually channeling Clark Griswold in the movie Christmas Vacation and saying, "Holy sh*t! Where's the Tylenol?"
To spare myself some of the stress this year, I'm picking up a few things that will make holiday hosting a little easier. Whether you're hosting Friendsgiving or having family in town for the holidays, these items will help you (and me) breathe a little easier.
What to Buy for Easy Holiday Hosting
While I love my Nespresso maker for everyday coffee, it only makes one cup at a time, which isn't ideal for hosting a crowd. It's definitely worth picking up an inexpensive drip coffee maker and some tasty ground coffee to have on hand. That way, you can just dump in some coffee grounds and program your coffee maker to brew in the morning (read: overnight guests can serve themselves and don't need to wake you). I'm not usually a fan of flavored coffee, but this one from Barnie's has completely converted me. The "Santa's White Christmas" blend is a medium-roast coffee with notes of caramel, coconut, vanilla and nuts—and I think it'd be perfect for drinking around the holidays. I'll definitely make sure to have a few bags on hand since it's a perfect festive treat in the morning or after dinner with a slice of pie.
Compostable Wrapping Paper
I'm kind of a nut when it comes to holiday wrapping paper. Every year, I watch YouTube wrapping videos and I change out my tree ribbons to match whichever paper I choose that year (in 2019 I did metallic glitter wrapping paper, and last year I had red wrapping paper with little rats holding pizza...clearly I needed some humor in 2020). But every year, after all of the holiday gifts are opened and there's a huge pile of paper sitting in the corner, I feel super guilty about tossing it. That's why I was excited to find out about a company called Wrappily that makes wrapping paper that's both recyclable and compostable—so it can get a second life in your garden!
I fully expected Wrappily's paper to be more practical than pretty, but that was not the case at all! I'm actually obsessed with their holiday designs. Each sheet is reversible, so you may have Christmas elephants on one side and green trees on the other. My favorite design is the pop art Andy Warhol-inspired Santas and soup cans. So fun and different!
I'm always looking for little ways to make holiday guests feel comfy (whether it's putting fresh flowers in the room or a carafe of water next to the bed), and this air purifier from Filtrete is ideal for a guest room. It helps rid the air of dust, bacteria and viruses with its HEPA filter and boasts a fan function with a volume that's pleasantly soft (it's great for when your guests want ambient noise to sleep). Plus, it works with your Alexa and has a WiFi-enabled app so you can control it wherever you are.
I recently picked out a set of six Estelle Colored Glass wineglasses from Food52 x Tillamook's All for Farmers' virtual market. The hand-blown wineglasses are a bit of a splurge, but they're something that will make your holiday table feel special and will never go out of style. Plus, they come in four stunning colorways and are part of a great cause. A portion of sales (at least 10 percent of each purchase) goes to the American Farmland Trust, which helps support U.S. farmers facing financial hardship. Talk about a holiday gift you can feel great about giving (or keeping for yourself!).
A Few Bottles of Wine (and Bags!)
Each year, I inevitably find myself in the "OMG I don't have a present/hostess gift/Secret Santa item for X person" situation and end up panic-buying something that the person may or may not even like. This year, I'm going to buy a few extra bottles of delicious wine in varying price ranges to keep on hand for these very situations. My favorite inexpensive wine to give as a gift is Los Vascos cabernet sauvignon (buy it: $10, Total Wine). It's rich and spicy with notes of plum, and is perfect for chilly winter evenings (plus, I find that most people love it and think it's a lot more expensive than it really is). My favorite splurge-worthy holiday wine is Nicholas Feuillatte's Brut Reserve Champagne (buy it: $38, Drizly). It's bright and bubbly and perfect for celebrating the holidays. Pick up some inexpensive holiday- or winter-themed wine bags to make the bottle of wine feel a little more special (I love these buffalo check ones; buy them: $15 for six bags on Amazon).
A Holiday Candle
I like to create a cozy vibe in my home whenever I'm hosting—and I think holiday-scented candles can really make your guests feel welcome. My current favorite is Capri Blue's Pumpkin Clove—it smells like fall without being overly cloying. It's just the right balance of spicy and sweet from the notes of pumpkin, clove, orange, cinnamon and vanilla. I'll be burning this little guy all fall and winter long.
Triple Slow Cooker
This triple slow cooker holds three, 1.5-quart stoneware crocks to keep your food piping hot. There are three settings (warm, low and high), so you can start your recipe from scratch or use the slow cookers to keep your food warm while you're finishing up the rest of your meal. I'm honestly not sure why I never thought to buy this before, but it's going to be a game-changer this year around the holidays!
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