11/14/2014 10:30 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

7 Essential Items You Need To Start Entertaining At Home

'Tis the season for entertaining, people, and we think it's about time you follow through on your secret desire to host a winter-themed craft cocktail party for your friends.

It only takes a few items to prep your home (or apartment, or shoebox-sized studio) for a festive, easy dinner or cocktail party. Round up these seven items (or invest in the ones you're lacking), and prepare to become the holiday hostess with the mostest.

entertaining starter kit
Multipurpose drinking glasses
They'll instantly glam-ify wine, cocktails and even champagne. Get a set of standard glasses or tumblers and make sure to have extras on-hand in case of accidents.
Gold-rimmed drinking glasses by House of Presley, at One Kings Lane

A versatile serving tray
For cheese, veggies or hot appetizers, one standard serving tray will do the trick. If you're feeling extra-crafty (or extra-cheap), make your own from a cookie sheet.
Caramel faux pony tray by Lazy Susan, at Houzz

Cocktail napkins
Paper ones are more than fine -- just something colorful and/or patterned to majorly brighten your table. If you're in cocktail party mode, guests can rest their appetizers on napkins, so you won't have to provide plates. Try a cloth variety so you always have a stash for future parties.
Monogrammed linen cocktail napkins, Grandin Road

They're colorful, they're classy, they fill up all that empty space on your countertop spread... and who said they had to be real?
Faux roses in cube vase, One Kings Lane

A serving bowl and spoons
While mismatched dining plates give your dinner party an endearing effect, this morning's cereal bowl does not do justice as a serving vessel. Invest in a big bowl to set a fun, family-style vibe for your guests.
Acacia wood serving set, Pacific Merchants

A festive drink dispenser
You didn't sweat to make that sangria pretty for nothing. Show it off -- and add an elegant centerpiece to your kitchen display -- with a glass drink dispenser. The cute little spigot is both playful and classy.
Westbury Beverage Dispenser by Godinger, at Wayfair

Big, bold ones set an instantly cozy mood that's both sophisticated and sexy... and your space will smell great no matter how much bruschetta you burn. Want to play it super safe? Opt for the flameless variety.
Flameless votive candles, Crate & Barrel

Bonus: A killer playlist
The best things in life -- and in hostessing -- are free. Cue your favorite music, and let the magic happen.



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