35 things you need if you're obsessed with the holidays

USA Today Technology 1 week ago

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Growing up in an interfaith household, I was ecstatic that I would receive presents for both Hanukkah and Christmas. That was enough to instill in me a great deal of joy for the holiday season into my life as an adult. Now, I get to share with you a wide array of products that will boost all aspects of your holiday cheer.

Whether you’re gearing up to host a party (or several) or you just love the most wonderful seven-or-so weeks of the year, we’ve got recommendations for 35 top-rated products that will prime you and your household for a joyful holiday.

1. A cookware set that empowers amateur and pro chefs alike

If you’re hosting any holiday gatherings this year, you can trust this stainless steel cookware set to accomplish all your culinary goals. This one is our hands-down favorite, as it gives you great versatility, convenience, and value.

2. These string lights to illuminate your holiday cheer

Hang up these lights anywhere you please––along your roof trim, on a bare deciduous tree, or around a bannister, the options are limitless. These string lights come with eight different modes, dim control, and a timer, so it’s no surprise that these are Amazon’s top-selling outdoor lights.

3. A Christmas tree that will save you time

Growing up in a household of procrastinators, one of my childhood dreams was for my family to own an artificial tree. We would always wait until Christmas Eve to go to the tree farm and end up with a ratchet monstrosity that would probably amuse the likes of Scrooge and the Grinch. Spare yourself the time, long-term cost, and embarrassment and just get a sapless artificial tree, if you found yourself in a moment of reckoning. This is one of the most popular ones at Home Depot and can be a terrific option to make your home more festive—no pine needles required.

4. This beautiful and practical French oven

Make your holiday stew and chili all the more festive and delicious with this gorgeous French oven from Williams Sonoma. Reviewers have given it a perfect five-star rating thanks to its enameled cast iron that’ll cook all your ingredients evenly. Additionally, it’s dishwasher-safe and resistant to rust, chipping, and cracking.

5. A set of savvy, interfaith wine glasses

As someone who celebrates both Christmas and Hanukkah, these stemless wine glasses from Wayfair really resonate with me. On top of their inclusiveness, any party host will appreciate that they’re also dishwasher-safe and shatterproof, plus they come with a nearly perfect 5-star rating on Wayfair. Spare yourself the headache until the day after you drink the wine, and please use better judgment than to serve Manischewitz.

6. A set of containers for all those holiday leftovers

When cooking for the holidays, there’s a good chance you’ll find yourself making more food than everyone can eat in one sitting. This 42-piece set of food storage containers is a must-have if you love leftovers as much as I do. We loved this set when we tested it and consider it one of the best reusable food storage containers of the year since each container stays tightly sealed and they’re all so easy to clean and maintain.

7. This multipurpose cooker to bring your kitchen peace of mind

Regardless of whether you’re cooking a stew, rice, or baking a cake, the Instant Pot Ultra could very well wind up being your kitchen’s MVP this holiday season. This product landed atop our list of 2019’s best pressure cookers, as it had the best cooking performance of all the cookers we tested and is safe to clean in a dishwasher. 

8. These top-selling shatterproof ball ornaments

Between the laws of physics and two easily stimulated cats, my household never went a winter without multiple glass ornaments going bust during my most formative years. Fortunately for people who have also endured this kind of trauma, these ball ornaments on Amazon can give your Christmas tree a classic look without the mess or distress of past eras. Customer reviews consistently point to this product being a great value, as the colors options are easy on the eyes and cost per unit is about 39 cents.

9. This festive elf that helps keep your kids in line year-round

Ever find it difficult to explain to your children how Santa keeps tabs on them throughout the year? This “Elf on the Shelf” bundle will help you do just that. In addition to a copy of the classic bestselling book, this bundle includes a Scout Elf with whom your family can play “I spy” every day by placing it in different spots around your home, which can also help develop your children’s observational abilities.

10. A tree for Hanukkah

If you’re looking for a new menorah, you might find this brass tree menorah on Wayfair a great option. Its small size makes it perfect for people who live in small spaces or who don’t want something huge. Reviewers give this an average rating of four stars with most of the detracting remarks stemming from that they neglected to look at the product dimensions.

11. These heartwarming ugly Christmas sweaters 

These sweaters present a nice way for you to break up the monotony of festive themes at ugly sweater parties while also serving as practical garments. One Amazon reviewer who bought the Slothy Christmas sweater says he got hired after he wore it to a job interview. The Krampus sweater, meanwhile, has garnered a 4.7-star rating as customer reviews laud its soft cotton/acrylic blend while also adding some edginess to your holiday attire.

12. A quality set of Kwanzaa candles

Make your Kwanzaa celebration a success with these high-quality, dripless candles. Standing at 10 inches, these candles have a burn time of six to eight hours. One thing to keep in mind with this candle set  is that each is 0.8 inches in diameter, so be sure your kinara can accommodate that width before you place your order.

13. These funny socks to keep your feet cozy

Kick up your feet in style while you put your Christmas anxieties on hold and give your loved ones the cute equivalent of an out-of-office message. These socks are a great gift idea for friends and family who enjoy Christmas movie marathons. Amazon reviewers consistently laud their soft cotton/acrylic/spandex blend and the laughter they elicit from their recipients.

14. This garland that ties the room together

Spruce up your home with this pre-lit, artificial garland. This is a great addition to your holiday decor, especially if you have more ornaments than your tree allows, as you can easily hang the overflow from this garland’s fir-like branches. Reviewers have given it an average 4.7-star rating, as its 18-foot length and warm, white lights make it a good-value purchase.

15. This bundle of classic children’s Christmas movies

Introduce kids to five timeless Christmas stories with a bundle featuring “Frosty the Snowman,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” “The Little Drummer Boy,” and “Cricket on the Hearth.” Amazon has these available on both Blu-ray and DVD, and it can be a great way to bring a little more holiday cheer to your home (aside from buying it on Prime Video).

16. A wreath to give your front door a winter warmup

If you’re looking for a wreath that requires minimal effort to put up and maintain, this could be just what you’re looking for. This wreath is pre-lit and battery powered, so you don’t need to worry about cord clutter. This is also one of Home Depot’s most popular holiday items, and it’s averaged a 4.5-star rating from 119 reviews.

17. This robust tree skirt that looks good too

Rustic looks are in, so why not extend this fashion to your Christmas tree? This tree skirt will wrap nicely around your tree and has a button you can close to give it a tailored look. It comes in red and tan colors and is made of strong burlap and jute fabrics that’s easy to wash and won’t rip.

18. A candle that smells like a moo shu matinee

Movies and Chinese food are a staple for American Jews on December 25, and now you can have both olfactory senses in one scented candle from Homesick. One reviewer calls this candle “amazing and hilarious,” as he initially bought it for his family as a gag gift, but “it actually smells great and really does weirdly smell like popcorn, but in the best way.”

19. A nutcracker that’ll inspire you to bake

While this nutcracker is too fragile to actually crack nuts, it’s an immensely popular piece of holiday decor, as it has a 4.5-star rating from over 350 reviews. Standing at 16 inches with a candy cane in one hand and a platter of gingerbread cookies in the other, you might even feel inspired to start baking. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, but his soft gaze is enough for me to yearn for freshly baked gingerbread, so don’t stare for too long.

20. A home security camera for holiday travelers

If you’re going away for the holidays, you might consider equipping your home with this security camera from Logitech. We named this the best overall indoor security camera, but it also works outdoors since it's weatherproof and several Amazon reviewers say it has decent night vision. This camera works with Amazon Alexa, Apple Homekit, and Google Assistant devices and comes with 24 hours of free cloud storage.

21. A throw pillow to celebrate Kwanzaa

Whether you’re hosting a Kwanzaa party or just including all winter holidays in your decor, this pillow is a nice way to subtly cozy up your living room. Or if you live in a warmer climate, you can happily place this pillow on your outdoor furniture, as it is made of mold-resistant polyester.

22. A personalized needlepoint stocking that’s ready to stuff

Up your Christmas stocking game with this beautiful and highly-rated needlepoint stocking from L.L.Bean. Made from high-quality cotton, this stocking is built to last, which is convenient if you want to stuff it full of goodies without fear of it ripping. You can choose from seven different designs and also get it personalized at no additional cost.

23. This enchanting reindeer hand towel

You’re going all-out with the rest of your home, so why not extend the wintry theme to your bathroom decor as well? Embroidered with a single reindeer and a few snowflakes, this towel is festive without being over the top. Reviewers rave about the plush softness, so it’s sure to feel nice and impress your holiday guests this season.

24. A scented candle that smells like 'The Night Before Christmas'

Fill your home with the classic aroma of sugarplums and candied fruits with this scented candle from Yankee Candle. It’s garnered overwhelmingly positive customer reviews, one sums it up as “THE scent of the holidays.” You can count on this candle lasting throughout the holidays, as each one burns for approximately 110 hours.

25. This tree topper that looks magical from all angles

Consider adding this near-perfect iteration of the Star of Bethlehem to the top of your ornament wish list. Reviewers on Wayfair give it a nearly perfect rating, though one says it “obviously gets glitter everywhere, but it doesn't lose any in appearance.” So while it’s probably not for those who are finicky about errant glitter, it’s sturdy and never loses its sparkle. 

26. These vibrant candles for your menorah and budget

These candles are my go-to, as they do the job for the nightly prayers, look nice lit up on my windowsill, and don’t drip too badly or make a mess. Their 30-minute burn time is convenient as well, since I keep busy and don’t like to leave candles burning for too long unattended. Each box contains 44 candles, enough for all eight nights of Hanukkah.

27. These tasty Belgian chocolate betting coins

Betting varying amounts of chocolate over a game of dreidel is one of the best parts of Hanukkah. Considering the holiday lasts for eight nights, this is something you’ll want to buy in bulk.

28. A slate server that’s perfect for your Hanukkah party

This “100 percent kosher” stone slate is an excellent way to serve hors d’oeuvre at a Hanukkah party and keep the treif away. It has cork feet on the bottom to keep from scratching your table and can be used as a trivet if need be. This board also includes a soapstone pencil with which you can write directly on the stone to identify what you are serving.

29. A replica tree that’ll receive more compliments than your actual tree

We all love the Charlie Brown Christmas special, which makes this replica tree an endearing piece of holiday decor. Standing two feet tall, it would fit nicely on a side table in your living room and make for a fun topic during cocktail hour.

30. An efficient means of storing gift wrapping supplies

This hanging organizer is a must-own for gift wrapping aficionados. Standing at 40.5 inches, it’s large enough to hold your longest rolls of wrapping paper. One reviewer writes that it hangs beautifully in her linen closet and that she loves the idea of having all her decorating accessories in one place, as the organizer has four mesh pockets and six strap loops attached to its exterior.

31. An advent calendar that tea lovers will appreciate

Whether you’re stressed out or trying to contain your holiday excitement, you can enjoy a new cup of tea each day leading up to Christmas. This advent calendar features 24 different teas flavored with a variety of flowers, herbs, and spices that all pair nicely with a slice of gingerbread.

32. This holiday-themed cookbook for your slow cooker

If you’re looking for festive recipes to make with your slow cooker––perhaps the aforementioned Instant Pot Ultra––this cookbook just might be your best friend. Available in paperback and on Kindle (for cheaper, I might add), “Holiday Slow Cooker” features 100 recipes that covers all dining courses and shows how to utilize your slow cooker as a second oven. You might also find this useful after the winter holidays, as it includes recipes for other holidays throughout the year.

33. These dreidels that you can make your own

Here’s a fun idea: An arts-and-crafts night of Hanukkah. Whether you’re planning activities for kids or wine-drinking adults, this 5-star rated set of unfinished wooden dreidels is a great way to inspire creativity. You’ll need to buy painting supplies separately, but once you’ve got all that in hand, you’ll be on your way to a fun night.

34. A festive jigsaw puzzle to bring your family together

Jigsaw puzzles are a great way to spend time with your family regardless of age. This 1,000-piece puzzle has garnered a perfect 5-star rating on Amazon. It features a gorgeous painting by Darrell Bush that inspires me to light a fire, warm up with a mug of hot chocolate, and shelve all argumentative tension that would arise otherwise.

35. A wine aerator that ensures a perfect pour

No one in my family is by any means a wine snob, but everyone swears by this pouring accessory, as it has 4.2 stars based on more than 2,300 Amazon reviews. It will help your wine to open up immediately as you pour it, which is bound to streamline your holiday toasts and let you eat sooner. If you need additional wine accessories, check out our top-10 list.

Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.

Tags: Joy, Like, Desire, Love

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