Whether you like it or not, friends, family and neighbors will be dropping by more often in the next few weeks, bringing good cheer, and possibly the need for a libation or snack, too!

These 5 handy items should be in your kitchen at the ready – they will spare you any last minute fuss and you will look like the most prepared hostess ever.

Marcona Almonds – these are just the best nuts, and so decadent.   Seasoned with rosemary and  sea salt, they compliment any cocktail.  Pour them in a little silver bowl and your guests will feel very special.  Find them at Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, or your local gourmet store.

Peppermint Bark – yes, I read that hilarious blog that puts Williams-Sonoma to shame.  But this is the ONE item from their catalogue that is actually really good, reasonably priced, and great with a wine spritzer or a cup of hot chocolate.  [Trader Joe’s is also yummy!]


Hot Chocolate – this is not the time for Nesquik.  Splurge on some of the really good chocolate mixes (try Jacques Torres or Ghirardelli), and serve it up with fresh whipped cream (I always keep a pint of fresh whipped cream in the refrigerator – it takes 2 minutes in the food processor – add 1/4 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla); your guests will remember that delicious treat for some time to come.  If you get really adventurous, check out the really cute mugs at Macy’s and Anthropologie, and have a hot chocolate party!  Use ready made marshmallows from Whole Foods, or make your own!

Champagne & Sparkling Cider – Rose for the adults, pink for the children.  Say no more. 



Festive Cocktail Napkins – start picking up a package here, a package there.  Fancy ones at Pottery Barn or Sur La Table, cute inexpensive ones at Target, Cost Plus, or Pier One.  Mix them up – makes that glass of wine, flute of champagne, or mug of hot chocolate seem like you were planning it all along!

Happy Holidays from Rosecrest Special Events!

p.s.  You should also have a copy of the Barefoot Contessa’s Parties on your shelf at all times.  It makes a great gift, too!  And yes, those adorable gift boxes and ornaments are from Ikea…run, don’t walk.