It may feel like peak sweater season now, but the holidays will be here before we know it (as always). Whether you’re hosting a festive soiree or attending one as a guest, you’ll need to make a shopping list pronto. To make sure each celebration goes off without a hitch, we’ve broken down what to make, buy and gift for every holiday party you attend this year. You can thank us later.
What to Make, Buy or Gift for Any Holiday Party This Year
What To Make: Baked Brie With Cranberries And Pomegranate
The key to hosting is impressing your guests while secretly doing as little work as possible. And let’s face it: You can’t go wrong with a dish of melty, creamy cheese. Enter the ever-dependable wheel of Brie. The toasted pecans, fresh herbs and homemade cranberry sauce on top simply gild the lily. This 40-minute appetizer pairs best with a side of seeded crackers or toasted bread, but we wouldn’t blame any of your guests for digging in with nothing but a spoon.
What To Make: Mini Cranberry Potpies
The only thing better than a slice of pie? A whole pie, of course. Thanks to these festive cuties, everyone can get a personal pie all to themselves—no sharing required. The filling is super simple to make, since cranberries thicken up naturally when cooked (that means you don’t have to stress about it turning out too runny). Better yet, the crust is made with frozen puff pastry, a shortcut that will help you pull these off in just over an hour. Don’t worry, it’ll be our little secret.
What To Buy: Ketel One Botanical
This isn’t your average hostess gift. The Ketel One Botanical line features three varietals (Grapefruit & Rose, Cucumber & Mint and Peach & Orange Blossom) of vodka distilled with real botanicals and infused with natural fruit essences. One serving clocks in at 73 calories and 0 carbs, meaning it has 40 percent fewer calories than a glass of white wine.* Did we mention Ketel One Botanical is free of artificial sweeteners and added sugar? Wrap the bottle up with a few wine glasses and your favorite club soda (we recommend Fever Tree) and boom: It’s a cocktail kit.
What To Buy: Pretty Punch Bowl
Cocktails are arguably the most important part of hosting a holiday party. But no host wants to be stuck doling out refills and shaking drinks up one by one all night. Enter the timeless punch bowl, the simplest way to quench the thirst of the masses (or just a few relatives). Not only is a punch bowl convenient for the host, but it can also look downright fancy to your guests if you pick a nice one.
What To Gift: Ultimate Cheese Plate With Roasted Grapes
Cheese boards can be stunning on their own. But we obviously prefer them piled high with cheese, nuts and all the snacks—and odds are, so does your gift getter. This recipe calls for usual suspects like Brie, sharp white cheddar, quartered figs, crackers and baguette. But the real star is the grapes, roasted to savory-sweet perfection in fresh herbs and olive oil. Throw on some smoked almonds, baked pumpkin seeds or pomegranate arils for a classy finishing touch.
What To Gift: Matcha-cranberry Linzer Cookies
Come Christmastime, cookies are a no-brainer. But we feel like gingerbread men and sugar cookies dressed in royal icing have gotten a bit, um…tired. You can so do better. Enter these gorgeous goodies that your Secret Santa will assume you bought from a fancy bakery, giving you the perfect opportunity to humble brag about your baking skills. Come on, they even fit the color scheme thanks to vibrant green matcha powder and tart cranberry jam filling. All they need is a dusting of confectioner’s sugar (read: snow) and a pretty tin to hang in.