How to Be the Best Holiday Host This Year

No matter what your festivities look like.

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Close up of finished eggplant tart on sheet tray

Whatever form your holiday meals take this year, one thing everyone can agree on is that stress should be left at the door. Cooking should be enjoyable, not a chore; hosting, no matter the group size, should be fun; and impromptu festivities should be welcome surprises, not unwanted burdens. Does that sound like wishful thinking? Well, it shouldn't and, if you have Walmart+, the super store’s new membership program, it isn't.

Walmart+ offers a host of perks, including free delivery as soon as same-day, a scan-and-go feature for faster in-store shopping, and a range of discounts, including on fuel. The free delivery alone means the program, cheaper than its competitors, pays for itself in just two deliveries. You could save up to 2.5 hours a week with that free, unlimited delivery. Perhaps best of all, however, is the stress it relieves. Whatever you’re looking for over the holidays, whether it’s a pantry staple or festive tableware, you can find it at Walmart. Join Walmart+ and that coveted item will be on your doorstep in record time, free of charge. And you don’t have to worry about delivery delays, either. Walmart uses its close to 5,000 stores nationwide as delivery hubs, so you’re never far away or at risk of a delay.

If all this convenience isn’t worth celebrating, we don’t know what is. Here are some of the many possibilities.

Have (Semi) Homemade Hors D'Oeuvres at the Ready

Keep a box of puff pastry in the freezer and you can have perfect appetizers ready at a moment’s notice. Make two-ingredient puff pastry cheese straws (or jazz them up with one whole extra ingredient: mustard). Make vegetable tarts, like this one with eggplant, cheese, and honey, or try cream cheese and chive pinwheels.

Keep This Trick Up Your Sleeve for Extra Crispy Turkey Skin

It turns out that baking powder isn’t just for baked goods (though there will be plenty of those during the holiday season, of course). Mix baking powder with salt in your dry brine, and you’ll end up with the crispiest, crackliest turkey skin ever. (Read more about this trick here.) Yes, it’s that easy and, yes, you could also use the trick on other poultry, like chicken, duck or goose, festive or otherwise. Stock up on the stuff before you’ll need it, or don’t sweat it if you need to buy more. Order a new box of baking powder in the morning and you could have it by dinner time.

Let Spices Do the Heavy Lifting

Keep your spice cabinet stocked over the holidays and you’ll have all the tools you need to upgrade any dish to occasion-worthy. It could be the traditionally warming spices you think of this time of year, like nutmeg or cinnamon—essential for baked goods and hot drinks, but also as elegant finishes for savory soups and roasted vegetables. Or it could be a spice that'll add an unexpected kick to a classic dish—a chile powder or smoked paprika. Since spices lose their luster within a year or so, you could easily refresh your cabinet with a bulk delivery ahead of the season. But if you happen upon a recipe that calls for something you don’t have on hand? There’s free, same-day delivery for that.

Conserve Oven Space

Dinner rolls.

Whether you’re cooking Thanksgiving turkey or a big batch of holiday cookies, your oven will likely be working hard over the holidays. Make some room by purchasing a toaster oven, which you can use for smaller (but no less essential) items, like dinner rolls. Because it warms up so fast, it’s also a must for reheating leftovers. No one wants to wait for that day-after-Thanksgiving sandwich.

Break Out the Large Serving Platters

Whether it’s this large, wooden serving tray or this classic oval tray, make sure you have at least one big platter out and ready. You’ll reach for them whether you’re serving big roasts, that sheet-pan dinner, or all those puff pastry hors d'oeuvres. We like ones like these, which are as functional as they are good looking. And if a serving tray is the kind of thing you prefer to hold and see in person before purchasing, remember that as a Walmart+ member, you’ll save 5 cents per gallon on fuel at Walmart & Murphy stations.

Go Stemless

Instead of finding space for multiple kinds of wine and cocktail glasses, choose an all-purpose shape. For a well-rounded wine glass that’s appropriate for both red and white, stemless wine glasses are a great purchase. They can also double as a rocks glass for cocktails.

Make the Most of Your Sheet Pans

A sheet pan loaded with skirt steak strips, bell peppers, and onions, all after being cooked until charred, ready to be loaded into tortillas for fajitas

You might also consider getting an extra sheet pan for easy, all-in-one, sheet-pan dinners—an excellent weeknight strategy that’s no less useful over the holidays. When dinner fits all on one rack, you could be roasting vegetables for tomorrow’s lunch at the same time. You should also consider spatchcocking your Thanksgiving turkey and roasting it on that sheet pan; the bird will be evenly cooked with crispier skin in less time than it takes to roast a whole one. Now where were those sheet pans? Unsurprisingly, Walmart has more than a few good options.

Scale Up

If the holidays mean baking, a kitchen scale is a must. Not only is it a more precise way to measure ingredients, but scales make for more efficient baking, too. That’s because you can measure ingredients directly into a bowl when it’s placed on a scale. Win-win.

Prepare for the Elements

Finally, stock up on anything you could ever want for outdoor dining, no matter the temperature. Whether it’s a sun umbrella or a patio heater, Walmart has it all, of course, including festive plastic plates and cutlery that you’ll want to use again and again, or occasion-worthy disposable plates.