Hosting the holidays? 15 items you never knew you always needed

Load up your Amazon cart with wine markers, Cards Against Humanity, this cute new doormat

Hosting the holidays this year, by chance? (Photo by Askar Abayev from Pexels)

The holidays are here! If you’re hosting -- either a belated Thanksgiving, a Friendsgiving, or you’re looking ahead to Christmas -- you’re probably starting to map out what needs to get done, when it comes to groceries and little upgrades for your home.

We'll tell you what: You stay focused on the menu -- and we'll provide 15 items that you never knew you always needed. Sometimes, the smallest of details really do add up. Keep that in mind when you load up your Amazon cart with the following ...

By the way: We hope you love these recommendations. Just an FYI, Graham Media Group may collect a small share of sales from the links provided on this page.

1. A fun tablecloth you can draw on with all your little cousins

Or you could color this with your nieces and nephews, or heck, even your fun adult relatives. How cool is this tablecloth? If you've got kids or people in your family, for example, who need some entertaining before dinner is served, then look no further. This gets them out of the kitchen, out of the way, and even lets them feel like they're helping (err, we're talking about the kids, in this case). Because they are helping, you know? Someone's got to handle the "decor!"

How much? Click or tap here to find out

2. An electric wine-opener

If you’re planning on serving wine over the holidays -- and doesn’t that include most of us? -- then the last thing you want to be doing is messing with a bottle, or yanking at a stubborn corkscrew. This electric opener is genius: Pop it over your bottle, hit the button, and your wine is open in a matter of seconds. As a host, you want everything to appear effortless, right? You just have to snag one of these.

How much? Click or tap here to find out

3. One of these oh-so-appropriate candles

What could be better, than lighting a little piece of “home,” if you happen to be in a new state, or if you’re hosting family from out of town? These candles are perfect. Also worth mentioning: the company offers all 50 states, plus specific cities, as well. So even if it’s not Florida that you’re longing for, the candle makers have you covered.

How much? Click or tap here to find out

4. Some sleek new stemless wine glasses

Stemless wine glasses are popping up everywhere: Restaurants, friends’ houses, you name it. It seems as if the stem is a thing of the past, at least lately, so why not hop on board with this trend? There’s less of a chance for spillage, and plus, if you’re hosting this holiday season, it might be nice to have a new set of matching glasses, rather than a hodgepodge of mix-and-match “whatever was lying around” options. Upgrade your stash and check these out ASAP.

How much? Click or tap here to find out

5. And ... get ready for this ... wine *markers*

And then ... once you have those matching, brand new wine glasses, you'll want to be able to tell them apart -- meaning, "which was my glass again? Was this mine, or is this Aunt Julie's?" You know. That kind of confusion, which can happen in a big family gathering.

We know they make wine charms for this very reason (to attach to the bottom of your glass), but if you've bought the stemless set above, or if you find the charms tacky, then you have to go with the markers. The ink washes off in the dishwasher, so you can use these again and again, and, not to mention: even if you're NOT hosting, they make for an excellent hostess gift. As of publication, they were listed for $6.95. What a steal!

How much? Click or tap here to find out

6. An Instant Pot

This has been an “it” kitchen appliance for the past few years. Do you have one yet? It’s going to make your life so much easier; especially if you’re having people over and you have a bunch of dishes to assemble. In case you’re not familiar with it, the Instant Pot can pressure cook, simmer, saute, slow cook -- heck, it can even make yogurt -- so, needless to say, it’s as if you’re getting a few appliances rolled into one. Hosting the holidays is a fantastic reason to splurge for one of these pots.

How much? Click or tap here to find out

7. A triple slow cooker

This shares some resemblance to the Instant Pot. Many of us have one, but have you checked out the double or triple version? Let’s say you need to keep the spinach artichoke dip warm, along with the mashed potatoes and one other dish. Done, done and done!

How much? Click or tap here to find out

8. A turkey fryer

If you've never fried your turkey before, we think you might be surprised. It's not so much like the deep-fried Oreos you might try at the state fair, or something you're splurging on, such as greasy fast food. When it's done right, frying the turkey is an excellent way to trap in all that moisture -- and it's typically so much quicker than baking your bird, timing-wise. We say this year, you should go for it. Just remember to be careful. If you've never done it before, be sure to look up the safety guidelines to ensure you're following all the recommendations from the experts. Oh, and everyone on Amazon swears by this particular fryer, for what it's worth!

How much? Click or tap here to find out

9. A cheeseboard, which is the new version of an everyday platter

Thinking about getting a cute new platter for an appetizer or two? Why not consider a cheeseboard? Just like the stemless wine glasses, these boards are popping up everywhere lately. This set is really neat. Plus, what an easy first course. Set out some meats, cheeses, crackers and perhaps some almonds or pickled onions, and you’re good to go.

How much? Click or tap here to find out

10. A fancy dessert stand

Because of course, the holidays are definitely known for their pie and rich desserts. Yum! Display your selection in a nice way in your kitchen or dining area -- and, bonus: this vertical set-up clears some counter or table space, as well.

How much? Click or tap here to find out

11. A meat thermometer

If you don't have one already, and you're hosting this year, now is the time. Throw it in your virtual cart. Gotta make sure that bird or piece of beef tenderloin is cooked properly!

How much? Click or tap here to find out

12. This best-selling cookbook

We can vouch for this book personally. Whether you’re looking for a perfect dessert, main course or appetizer, jumpstart your creative juices by thumbing through the pages of this best-selling cookbook.

How much? Click or tap here to find out

13. A new holiday doormat

Seems like a "duh" item, but the first thing people will notice when rolling up to your front door, is your doormat. Swap out that grungy one from all the trick-or-treater traffic and grab yourself a holiday version today.

How much? Click or tap here to find out

14. These linen napkins

Cloth napkins: Just another way to take your holiday dinner from perfectly nice, to over-the-top lovely. We read somewhere that as a host or hostess, your goal is to make your dining room table a place where people want to stay -- even after dinner, for another splash of wine, or coffee, dessert and good conversation. We know it seems small, but little intricate touches like an upgraded napkin really do make all the difference when it comes to overall ambiance. Don’t forget the details!

How much? Click or tap here to find out

15. Cards Against Humanity for after dinner, once the kids have gone to bed

If this would be too awkward to play with your family members, maybe grab a set of this game for a Friendsgiving-type occasion. This is sure to keep people at the table, linen napkins or no linen napkins!

How much? Click or tap here to find out

Are there any items that you swear by for hosting? Email us and we just might include your suggestion in an updated version of this guide.

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*This story was first published in 2018. It has since been updated.