Sure, this isn’t really the time of year to shop for yourself. But consider these holiday entertaining items an investment toward making this season’s parties much easier and more fun, whether you’re hosting your first Thanksgiving with the in-laws or your famous New Year’s Eve party.
If you need some inspiration before the holidays, explore our party accoutrement suggestions and tips for stocking your bar cart well before the RSVPs arrive.
What kind of party are you having?
You’re in need of a “let’s not overthink this” get-together.
You know how it goes. You and your friends show up at all the same parties, yet never really have a chance to talk. For a breather between the other festivities, you can invite a few select pals to drop in for snacks and cool cocktails–no dress code, no gifts, no pressure.
What you’ll need:
- Usful Glassworks glassware–This is modern glassware with a mission. These “upcycled” glasses are made from familiar bottles (think Jameson Whiskey and Skyy Vodka) by participants in the Boise-based nonprofit’s job training program.
- That Black Dot Joybar Towels–Designed and printed in Seattle, John Choe’s Joybar Towels are fun, contemporary, and not at all fussy. They’re a great talking piece in a hip kitchen, and come in several designs suitable for holiday or year-round enjoyment.
- Bitter Housewife bitters–Good for a laugh, and good in your drinks. Small-batch cocktail bitters from Genevieve Brazelton come in traditional Aromatic, warm Cardamom, and fresh, sprightly Grapefruit–definitely not your dad’s ancient bottle of Angostura bitters.
- HOST Cooling Pour Spout–Your friends just texted to say they’ll be over at 7, but it’s 6:30 and that bottle of Chardonnay you picked up on your way home from work is still sitting on the counter, exactly where you left it. Unless you have your very own blast chiller in your kitchen (um, who are you?!), you’ll need a quick solution to bring your wine to temp. Keep this Cooling Pour Spout in the freezer for emergencies, and simply pop it into any bottle you need to chill FAST. The quick-freezing gel tube will cool your wine just in time and do triple-duty as a spillproof spout and airtight stopper.
You’re hosting your significant other’s family for the first time.
In most circles, inviting your SO’s loved ones to join you for a holiday is considered a pretty monumental move. It’s your chance to step up and show off just a little–time to break out the fancy tablecloth.
What you’ll need:
- DECICIO Stemless Wine Glasses–These are definitely “special occasion glasses” but they’re anything but ostentatious. These stemless wine glasses are handblown by Greg Clark for DECICIO Artisan Glass Studios in Seattle, and will add an elegant touch to your already sophisticated table.
- Gramercy Cellars 2013 Lagniappe–So, Dad considers himself a bit of a wine expert? Impress him with this Gramercy Cellars Lagniappe, which earned an Outstanding 93-95 point ranking from Wine Spectator reviewers. It’s a Washington Syrah blend at its best.
- Forte Artisan Chocolates–Trust us, these will put a successful evening with the in-laws over the top. Your finishing flourish comes in the form of these artisan truffles by Forte Chocolates in Mt. Vernon, WA.
You’re going all out this year.
If you’re only going to host one party a year, let it be spectacular. A little glamour can go a long way toward making everyone feel like the guest of honor.
What you’ll need:
- DECICIO Handblown Decanter–Another treasure from Greg Clark, this DECICIO whiskey decanter is a unique piece of craftsmanship. Add 4 matching whiskey tumblers to complete its enchanting effect.
- Metallic Leather Coasters–Remember what we said about glamour? That’s where these metallic laser-etched leather coasters from Molly M Designs come in. The set of 4 includes gold, copper, pewter, and platinum with a distinctive geometric pattern–each one is uniquely striking.
- Bubbles, etc–Pull out all the stops. Start the evening with Bruno Paillard’s Première Cuvée Brut (after all, it’s not a party without champagne), and pour an exceptional bottle of Washington or Oregon wine to keep spirits high.
Stocking the bar cart? Here’s where to start:
Holiday Bar Cart 101: Beverage director Terence Lewis shares his best tips for stocking your holiday bar cart and making guests feel welcome on the Anthropologie blog (check out his recipe for a chamomile-ginger hot toddy!).
How To Stock A Holiday Bar: For more holiday bar basics, plus mixers and a recipe for a spicy, herbal gin cocktail dubbed Rosemary’s Baby Jesus, see Sarah Krathen’s suggestions in Food & Wine Magazine online.
Don’t forget the little things! Snacks, table decor, and party games:
Miss Marjorie’s Steel Drum Plantains Slightly spicy Jamaican-style plantain chips. The perfect finger food.
Bobbysue’s Nuts These nut mixes from a secret family recipe could become your own favorite holiday snack.
Party games These Victorian-era party games and favors from TOPS Malibu make great icebreakers or a fun after-dinner activity for kids and adults.