What every holiday host should have on hand

From bestreviews.com
Marilyn Zelinsky-Syarto

Being a great holiday host requires some preparation to make sure you've got everything lined up properly before guests arrive.

Whether you're a seasoned host or it's your first time hosting the holidays, it helps to have a few key essentials at your fingertips to make the most of the occasion. 

Tidy up your home, welcome guests, create a festive atmosphere and send everyone off with a light heart and good cheer. Here are the items you'll want nearby to make your guests comfortable and your gathering one they'll still be talking about into the New Year.


For preparing the home

iRobot Roomba 960 Robotic Vacuum Cleaner: $549 at Amazon

Keep your party space free of crumbs and dust bunnies with this reliable robotic vacuum. It can be programmed to turn on and off or paused via an app. Schedule it to clean your home the day of your gathering, even if you're away. The app means you can control your vacuum while you're out shopping for last-minute holiday trimmings. You won't know how you ever lived without one. Also consider this model from Shark if the Roomba 960 is too pricey. Buy from Amazon.

Echo Dot: $49.99 at Amazon

Let Alexa know you need some holiday tunes and effortlessly play your holiday music through your streaming platform of choice. This device will even play holiday sounds, like sleigh bells or reindeer, to get your guests into the spirit of celebrating. Plus, this generation of devices offers better quality and richer sounds thanks to an enhanced speaker. Buy from Amazon


For the guests

SoundAsleep Dream Series Air Mattress: $119.95 at Amazon

If you're tight on space for overnight holiday guests, consider a comfy airbed. This particular model has dozens of internal air coils to give it above-average firmness and support, which means guests will wake up refreshed. It's also double-height so it's easy to get in and out of the bed. It only requires a flick of the switch and the queen size will inflate in under four minutes, so there's no hassle to detract from your holiday cheer. Buy from Amazon


Simple Houseware Industrial Grade Z-Base Garment Rack: $69.97 at Amazon

Give your guests a convenient place to hang their coats instead of draping them over chairs and beds. This heavy-duty garment rack holds up to 400 pounds and can be wheeled anywhere on durable casters that brake and lock. The beauty of investing in a garment rack is that it can be repurposed for your own storage after the holidays. Buy from Amazon.


For the home decor

Sandstone & Sage Flameless Candles: $21.99 at Amazon

Give your home a safe and inviting glow with these flameless candles, which have a high-grade resin covering that looks just as beautiful as real wax candles. Artfully arrange multiple sets on tabletops, mantels, in front of mirrors, and in fireplaces. This electric-powered set of three pillars can also be dimmed to four different settings via remote control. Buy from Amazon.


Nest Fragrances Festive Diffuser 3-Piece Set: $54 at Saks Fifth Avenue

Add calming, yet festive fragrances with essential oil reed diffusers placed in strategic areas around your home. Flameless reed diffusers consistently release fragrance so you don't have to worry about a thing. This set of petite diffusers blend in with your decor and come in delicious woodsy and fruity holiday scents. Buy from Saks Fifth Avenue. 


 Zephs Rolling Bar Cart: $199.99 at Amazon

The size of your home bar doesn't matter as long as it has the basics. If you're tight on space, consider a multi-level wheeled bar cart that'll fit into any number of nooks and crannies in your home. This sturdy cart holds four wine bottles and eight wine glasses. Roll it using the sturdy handle to wherever you need it, and locking casters keeps it safely in place. It also stands at a perfect height for making mixed drinks. Buy from Amazon. 


For the food (and drink) portion of the evening

Wines: $19+ at Wine Access

When hosting a party, it helps to go straight to the experts for the best holiday selection of wines. This one-stop-shop of specially curated wines from vineyards around the world ships cases of top-rated wines and accessories directly to your door just in time for your gathering. Look for holiday deals and exclusives so you can stock up in anticipation of hosting or sign up for a year-round subscription so your cellar is always full. Buy from Wine Access.


Godiva Chocolatier Assorted Chocolate Gold Gift Box: $29 at Saks Fifth Avenue

Chocolate makes everything more cheerful. Give your guests a taste of heaven or give them a parting gift with this impressive gold gift box of assorted ganache, pralines, caramels, and more. If you're the guest, this box of delicacies also makes a perfect host gift to bring along. Buy from Saks Fifth Avenue.


Instant Pot DUO80 8 Qt. 7-in-1 Pressure Cooker: $139.95 at Amazon

Cook for the crowds with this multitasking appliance and you'll cut down your cooking and clean up time. This advanced pressure cooker is actually seven appliances in one pot. With all its different functions, this one-stop pot will help you miraculously whip up everything from appetizers and main dishes to side dishes and desserts. Buy from Amazon.


Bambusi Premium Bamboo Cheese Board Set: $59.99 at Amazon

Top your holiday table with a serious cheeseboard and charcuterie tray. This tray has a beautiful and functional design, and a hidden cutlery drawer easily opens and holds stainless steel knives with bamboo handles. The grooved perimeter neatly contains crackers, nuts, and olives to keep them separate from the presentation of cheeses and meats placed in the middle of the board. Buy from Amazon. 


The Original Wine Glass Markers: $9.99 at Amazon

For guests who love wine, help keep track of their glasses with mess-free, easy-to-clean erasable markers in five colors designed specifically for glassware so guests can write their names or initials right on the glass. Or, you can use personalized glasses instead of place cards at the dinner table. The ink lasts throughout your party and washes off fast in the dishwasher or by hand. Buy from Amazon.


Creative Scents Cotton Velour Fingertip Towel: $17.92 at Amazon

Spruce up your home for your holiday gathering with a few details: Indulge in a fresh set of holiday fingertip towels to give your guests a touch of luxury. This elegant four-piece set of cream and embroidered brown trim blends in with any decor. Buy from Amazon. 


Waterford Barware, Lismore Collection: $75+ at Macy's

Bring a cup of cheer to your holiday party with a well-stocked bar. You can't go wrong with this classic line of crystal barware. The collection ranges from decanters and pitchers to every type of barware glass, including tumblers and brandy snifters to highball and martini glasses. All you need is a few choice bottles of spirits and you're all set to open the bar. Buy from Macy's.


Sagaform Set of Nine Whiskey Stones: $22 at Saks Fifth Avenue

If your holiday crowd will be enjoying something a little stronger than wine this year, make sure to keep things classy and cool with this attractive set of whiskey stones. No matter the price tag on the bottle you're drinking from, these will lend a sophisticated look to your rocks glass. Alternately, if you'll be attending a holiday party and the host enjoys whiskey, this set makes a thoughtful hosting gift. Buy from Saks Fifth Avenue.


Anthropologie Swirl Three-Tier Serving Stand: $80 at Nordstrom

If you'll be serving hors d'oeuvres or bite-sized desserts at your holiday gathering, then this delicate, gold-accented serving stand from Anthropologie will be an elegant display for your holiday snacks. You can fill each of the three tiers with something different, and your guests will be drawn to this eye-catching stand that will show off your culinary prowess and accent your holiday décor. Buy from Nordstrom.


Vinturi Deluxe Red Wine Aerator and Stand Set: $49.99 at Bed Bath & Beyond

If you're going to spend the money for a nice red wine when you're hosting this holiday, you want to make sure you're getting the best possible flavor from the bottle. This wine aerator mixes in just the right amount of air to make your wine taste full-bodied and delicious from the first sip -- no need to open it and wait. Plus, the included stand adds a dramatic presentation to display whatever wine you're serving. Buy from Bed Bath & Beyond. 

Fancy Disposable Plates with Gold Plastic Silverware: $26.99 at Amazon

Whether you're having a casual or formal holiday affair, make sure you have enough tableware. This set of elegant disposable plates with gold rimming and coordinating silverware is the best way to make certain you'll have enough to go around. The 125-piece set includes 25 dinner and salad/dessert plates plus 25 knives, forks, and spoons. Disposable dinnerware also makes clean-up a breeze. Buy from Amazon. 


Godinger Crystal Dublin Coasters Set of 4: $11.99 at Amazon

When was the last time anyone complimented your coasters? These beautiful crystal coasters will add sparkle to your holiday table while also protecting your furniture. Each piece in this set is large, thick, heavy, and has a smooth bottom that won't scratch any surface. Buy from Amazon. 


For the memories

Fujifilm Instax 9 Mini Instant Camera: $69.95 at Macy's

Pass this instant camera around to guests so they can capture the conviviality. This compact camera is simple to operate, requiring no controls thanks to its automatic functions that picks the best settings. The camera snaps and prints photos instantly, giving your guests another gift to take home. There's even a selfie mirror that lets guests check that everyone is included in the frame before shooting. Buy from Macy's


Jenga: $16.99 at Amazon

Good old-fashioned games bring guests of all ages together for action-packed fun and frolicking. Challenge everyone's skill with a classic game of three-dimensional Jenga blocks. Keep the laughs going throughout your gathering to see who can build the highest tower before it all tumbles down. Buy from Amazon


Hasbro Gaming Scattergories Game: $16.99 at Amazon

When you get your family or friends together for the holidays, it's good to have a board game on hand that everyone can play in order to keep the fun going. Since Scattergories is played in teams, it's a great way to get everyone involved in the hilarity. This fast-paced game requires creativity, and it will make your party a memorable one. Buy from Amazon.


Marilyn Zelinsky-Syarto is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.