1. Beautiful serving ware.
"You can use prepackaged or quick service items from your high-end grocer in a pinch," says Jessica Kielblock, a senior event planner for . "But displaying them on your own platters with beautiful garnishes will make them feel special."
2. Delectable dry snacks.
"Nuts, snack mixes and even chips are good filler at any event," says Rachel Bruzek, a Senior Event Planner for . "Or you can step it up by popping popcorn and adding a little truffle oil and parmesan cheese to the melted butter."
3. A stack of blank place cards.
"If you host an impromptu dinner party, a handwritten place card is quick to execute and makes guests feel important and welcomed," according to Bryan Rafanelli, founder of .
4. A few go-to cheeses.
"My favorite entertaining item is the cheese platter – it's easy to throw together at a moment's notice," Bruzek says. Carolyn Bane, Executive Chef and Co-Owner of NYC's Pies 'n' Thighs, recommends a classic combination of clothbound cheddar, a soft washed rind cheese, and a creamy blue along with Dalmatian fig spread and hot pepper jelly. (Check out the board she created below.)
"I love sweet and savory combinations of a cheese plate on a gorgeous wooden board," she says. "The holidays are a good time for a little splurge in this department."
5. Good chocolate.
"It can keep for a very long time, and should always be kept on hand," Kielblock says.
"Candlelight is so important when entertaining," says Rafanelli. "Create clusters of candlelight in as many places as possible whenever you have guests."
7. Prepared playlists.
"Create a few playlists in advance to quickly queue up music," Rafanelli suggests."We have playlists such as "In the mood to entertain," or "In the mood for background music," which are perfect for parties."
8. Bottled beverages.
"Always have a bottle or two of wine on hand as well as some sparkling water," suggests Kristen Zwieg, an event planner for . They're easy to store in bulk, so you'll always have something to offer guests both planned-for and unexpected.
9. Sweet treats.
"We often have an abundance of cookies or treats in our home," Rafanelli says. "You can simply add them to a tray and serve with tea."
10. Go-to gifts.
"Always keeps a treasure trove of beautifully-wrapped, little gifts", suggests Elizabeth Scokin, celebrity event planner and owner of . That way, you'll always seem prepared even if you forget a birthday or holiday.