Household Essentials for Holiday Entertaining

By Terri Sapienza
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, November 20, 2008

The day and time are set, and the menu is planned. Now it's time to focus on the basics. We asked local experts for their thoughts on household essentials for holiday entertaining. If your supply is low, after-season sales are great for stocking up.

Our experts

Sue Bluford, floral designer and party organizer; Susan Gage, caterer; Aimee Dominick, event planner

Folding Chairs

Have at least six on hand, our experts say, but only if you have a place to keep them. "If you have room to store them without creating clutter, then it always pays," Bluford says. Renting is another option.

Where to shop: Ballard Designs, Ikea, Target.

All-Purpose Wineglasses

In addition to crystal glasses, Dominick stocks cases of all-purpose, dishwasher-safe stemmed glasses from Bed, Bath and Beyond. They're less expensive and provide less worry. "I don't feel badly if someone breaks one, and I can just throw them in the dishwasher at the end of the night."

You'll want at least two glasses per person, one for cocktails and one for setting the table. And don't worry about having a matched set. "Using mixed glassware is just charming," Gage says. "And breaking one isn't going to ruin your set."

Where to shop: CB2, Crate and Barrel outlet, Ikea, Pier 1 Imports.

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