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Expert Shopper Holiday

What every holiday host should have on hand

Alvina Wang/BestReviews

Which holiday hosting products do you need?

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. Look out for additional insights on the products we evaluated in the BestReviews Testing Lab.

Shop this article: iRobot Roomba s9+ (9550) Self-Emptying Robot VacuumAmazon Echo Dot and SoundAsleep Dream Series Air Mattress

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For preparing the home

iRobot Roomba s9+ (9550) Self-Emptying Robot Vacuum

Keep your party space free of crumbs and dust bunnies with this reliable robotic vacuum. The iRobot Roomba vacuum 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 via Wi-Fi while you’re out shopping for last-minute holiday trimmings.

In the Testing Lab, we noted the unit's impressive battery life, running for over 1.5 hours on a single charge. The robot vacuum transitioned well between carpet and hardwood flooring, and its D-shape allowed it to easily fit in corners and along baseboards.

Amazon Echo Dot

Let Alexa know you need some holiday tunes and effortlessly play your holiday music through your streaming platform of choice. This Amazon Echo device will even play holiday sounds, like sleigh bells or reindeer, to get your guests into the spirit of celebrating. In the Testing Lab, we found that the device was easy to set up and produced decent sound for the price.

For the guests

SoundAsleep Dream Series Air Mattress

If you’re tight on space for overnight holiday guests, consider this queen-size SoundAsleep air mattress. Our tester noted that the internal air coils gave it above-average firmness and support, meaning guests will wake up refreshed. The airbed is 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 mattress will inflate in under four minutes, so there’s no hassle to detract from your holiday cheer.

Simple Houseware Industrial Grade Z-Base Garment Rack

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.

For the home décor

Better Homes and Gardens Flameless LED Pillar Candles

Give your home a safe and inviting glow with these flameless candles. They produce a realistic flickering effect, made with real vanilla-scented wax and powered by two AA batteries each (not included). Available in sets of three, you can artfully arrange them on tabletops, mantels, in front of mirrors, and in fireplaces. An included remote turns the candles on and off.

Nest Fragrances Reed Diffuser

Add calming, yet festive fragrances with essential oil reed diffusers placed in strategic areas around your home. This Nest reed diffuser consistently releases fragrance so you don’t have to worry about a thing. This set of petite diffusers blends in with your decor and comes in delicious woodsy and fruity holiday scents.


Zephs Rolling Bar Cart

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.

For the food (and drink) portion of the evening

Godiva Chocolatier Assorted Chocolate Gold Gift Box

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 Godiva chocolate also makes a perfect host gift to bring along.

Instant Pot DUO80 8-quart 7-in-1 Pressure Cooker

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

Bambusi Premium Bamboo Cheese Board Set

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 charcuterie board.

Gainwell Wine Glass Markers

For guests who love wine, help keep track of their glasses with mess-free, easy-to-clean erasable markers in eight 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.

Creative Scents Cotton Velour Fingertip Towel

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.

Riedel Fine Crystal Tumbler Set of 2

Bring a cup of cheer to your holiday party with a well-stocked bar. You can’t go wrong with classic crystal barware. Aside from this set of two elegant whiskey glasses, the high-quality Riedel collection also includes highball glasses, martini glassescocktail glasses, wine decanters and more.

Whiskey Chilling Stones Set

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 rock's glass. Alternately, if you’ll be attending a holiday party and the host enjoys whiskey, this set makes a thoughtful hosting gift.

Wilton 3-Tier Customizable Scalloped Dessert Stand

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.

Vinturi Deluxe Red Wine Aerator and Stand Set

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.

Fancy Disposable Plates with Gold Plastic Silverware

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.

Godinger Crystal Dublin Coasters Set of 4

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.

For the memories

Fujifilm Instax 9 Mini Instant Camera

Pass this instant camera around to guests so they can capture the conviviality. This compact Fujifilm camera is simple to operate, requiring no controls thanks to its automatic functions that pick 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.


Good old-fashioned Jenga 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.

Hasbro Gaming Scattergories Game

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.

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Amy Evans writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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