Written by Amy Scalia

One of the best things about this time of year is getting to see friends and family at all the upcoming holiday parties. There is, however, some stress when hosting the party lands on your shoulders. What to make, how much to get, who to invite, how to decorate?

You might also feel some stress around getting your groove back after the past year of canceled plans and staying in. Here are some of our top must-haves for bringing comfort and joy back to hosting a holiday party.

Set the Scene
It’s been a stressful year — well, make that almost two years — and we’ve all grown a little more accustomed to the comforts of home. Clear the air by diffusing the soothing yet festive scent of eucalyptus oil. This fresh, minty pine scent helps you relax, and when used in a diffuser, it can also cleanse surfaces and purify the air.

Make sure you have plenty of pillows and super soft throws out for your guests to cozy up to. Add a Floor Poof (or three!) for extra seating when you need it, and extra softness in the room when you don’t. Have a puzzle or board game nearby for some easy entertainment. And if your holiday party might head outside for a bit, be prepared with a Flikr Mini Fireplace to add a warm glow to any outdoor gathering.

Get in the Spirits
If you haven’t already become a mixologist online over quarantine, you can still learn how to make artisanal cocktails at home. The “Shake. Stir. Sip.” book from our friends at Chronicle Books shows how the best cocktails are a breeze to make at home.

Other great books to drink up are “Wine for Normal People” and “The Ultimate Bar Book.” You can also make your shindig more sustainable with stainless steel straws.

What to Wear
Speaking of sustainability, you can wear it on your sleeve — quite literally — while still feeling warm and festive. From tunic turtlenecks to crewnecks, plaid to colorblock, cropped to dresses, there’s a wide variety of sustainable sweaters made from recycled yarns and materials.
Go for head-to-toe sustainable style with dressed up denim in a dark wash, made by our friends at DL1961, a family-owned company that makes jeans in the best way possible for people and the planet.

Gifting Comfort
Whether it’s a party favor or thank you gift, you can never go wrong with a cozy pair of socks. Or you can warm up anyone’s spirit with a candle (don’t forget matches!), especially when they’re poured in a reusable vessel, so it’s a gift that keeps on giving. A lava bracelet — with pitted surfaces perfect for holding essential oils — can be an attractive gift for men or women, and also a gentle little reminder that something beautiful can come from any eruption.

We hope these suggestions help you this holiday season to connect with those you love and new ways to find joy. Despite the distance and pause, gathering with friends and family again is sure to bring a new level of merry and bright.