11 Clever Products to Take the Stress Out of Hosting for the Holidays

Elena Danileiko / iStock via Getty Images
Elena Danileiko / iStock via Getty Images

The guests are coming in a few days, your holiday shopping list seems to be getting longer, and the line at the grocery store never seems to end. The season is in full swing, and while the holidays are a lot of fun, they can be equally as stressful.

In order to help make things just a bit easier, we searched the internet to find products that will help take some of the stress out of preparing meals and hosting a house full of guests. Alongside making life a little simpler, these items could double as great presents, too, helping you cross another item off your to-do list.

1. iPstyle Pan Lid Holder; $8

iPstyle / Amazon

Hot, dripping pan lids and food-covered utensils are an easy way to make a mess on counters and floors while cooking big meals. The iPstyle Pan Lid Holder provides a place to set down both without getting food everywhere, giving you one less thing to worry about.

Buy It: Amazon

2. Kraft Paper to Cover the Kids' Table; $24

DIY Crew / Amazon

While kids definitely make the holidays more lively, their short attention spans and penchant for spillage can definitely complicate your peaceful dream dinner. Covering the kids’ table in kraft paper, however, will not only keep them occupied—it’ll also make for the easiest clean-up imaginable. Toss in a pack of crayons or washable markers, and let your tiny guests’ imaginations do the rest.

Buy It: Amazon

3. Silpat; $17

Silpat / Amazon

Even if you enjoy baking cookies for the holidays, you may be less fond of the clean-up that comes afterwards. The easiest way to avoid scrubbing burnt messes off your baking sheets is to use a silicone mat. The Silpat makes any surface non-stick, which means that baked goods come off clean every time without messy sprays and oils. The best part is that it keeps the tray beneath clean, and all the mat needs is a quick wipedown before it's ready for your next baking session.

Buy It: Amazon

4. Super Sonic Scrubber; $24

Sonic Scrubber / Amazon

Cleaning up after the holidays doesn’t have to be backbreaking work. This super sonic scrubber helps remove stubborn stains and sticky residue from stoves, dishes, and sinks, to name just a few—leaving you more time to spend with family and friends (or to catch up on a Hallmark holiday movie marathon). The set comes with five removable brushes that you can switch out, depending on what and where you’re cleaning.

Buy It: Amazon

5. 16-Piece Rubbermaid Food Storage Containers; $56

Rubbermaid / Amazon

Whether you’re hosting or being hosted for the holidays, there are going to be leftovers. So you may as well be prepared. This 16-piece set comes in all different sizes and is 100 percent leak-proof and airtight, keeping your food fresh for longer.

Buy It: Amazon

6. Automatic Pan Stirrer; $25

Uncommon Goods

Sometimes, when you’re working in the kitchen, you could really use an extra set of hands.With the automatic pan stirrer, you can have them. For recipes that call for continuous stirring, simply put the wand in a simmering pot, set the timer, and let the stirrer go to work as you continue crossing other items off your to-do list.

Buy It: Uncommon Goods

7. Cookbook Stand; $60

Uncommon Goods

Made from salvaged wood, each of these cookbook holders has a unique design that makes a beautiful and practical addition to any kitchen. Alongside its beautiful look, you can adjust the angle, and it has a convenient space for charging cords if you're using a tablet. When you're not using it, the stand collapses flat, making it a snap to store.

Buy It: Uncommon Goods

8. Wine Dispenser; $65

Uncommon Goods

Wine is a pretty important part of holiday gatherings, so make sure it’s served in style. All you need to do is put in the bag from boxed wine or fill the included three-liter bag with your favorite bottle—or bottles.

Buy It: Uncommon Goods

9. Cheeseboard; $85

Uncommon Goods

What holiday party is complete without cheese? This board has four spaces for ceramic serving bowls, a section for crackers, and a drawer with three cheese knives. One of the best parts about this board is that when you're done, it folds down to half its size for easy storage.

Buy It: Uncommon Goods

10. Power strip; $30

Echogear / Amazon

A house full of guests means a house full of gadgets. To keep everyone's favorite accessory nice and charged, pick up the Echogear power strip. It includes six rotating outlets that keep power adapters out of the way, plus two fixed side plugs, so no one will have to fight over a charger.

Buy It: Amazon

11. Wine cooler; $26

Tezzorio Bar Supplies / Amazon

This marble cooler makes it easy to serve chilled wine without having to think about it. Simply put the chiller in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it and it will keep your bottles cool for up to two hours. The marble cylinder is also padded at the bottom so it won’t scratch surfaces. You can also get it in white for $30 on Amazon.

Buy It: Amazon

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Looking to Downsize? You Can Buy a 5-Room DIY Cabin on Amazon for Less Than $33,000

Five rooms of one's own.
Five rooms of one's own.
Allwood/Amazon

If you’ve already mastered DIY houses for birds and dogs, maybe it’s time you built one for yourself.

As Simplemost reports, there are a number of house kits that you can order on Amazon, and the Allwood Avalon Cabin Kit is one of the quaintest—and, at $32,990, most affordable—options. The 540-square-foot structure has enough space for a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom, and a sitting room—and there’s an additional 218-square-foot loft with the potential to be the coziest reading nook of all time.

You can opt for three larger rooms if you're willing to skip the kitchen and bathroom.Allwood/Amazon

The construction process might not be a great idea for someone who’s never picked up a hammer, but you don’t need an architectural degree to tackle it. Step-by-step instructions and all materials are included, so it’s a little like a high-level IKEA project. According to the Amazon listing, it takes two adults about a week to complete. Since the Nordic wood walls are reinforced with steel rods, the house can withstand winds up to 120 mph, and you can pay an extra $1000 to upgrade from double-glass windows and doors to triple-glass for added fortification.

Sadly, the cool ceiling lamp is not included.Allwood/Amazon

Though everything you need for the shell of the house comes in the kit, you will need to purchase whatever goes inside it: toilet, shower, sink, stove, insulation, and all other furnishings. You can also customize the blueprint to fit your own plans for the space; maybe, for example, you’re going to use the house as a small event venue, and you’d rather have two or three large, airy rooms and no kitchen or bedroom.

Intrigued? Find out more here.

[h/t Simplemost]

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

25 Amazing Facts for International Beer Day

iStock
iStock

Every year, suds lovers celebrate International Beer Day on August 7—which makes it the pefect day to share any one of these amazing facts about beer.

1. After he won the Nobel Prize, Niels Bohr was given a perpetual supply of beer piped into his house.

2. The Code of Hammurabi decreed that bartenders who watered down beer would be executed.

3. At the Wife Carrying World Championships, first prize is the wife's weight in beer.

4. A cloud near the constellation Aquila contains enough ethyl alcohol to fill 400 trillion trillion pints of beer.

5. Coined in the early 1900s, the word alcoholiday means leisure time spent drinking.

6. The builders of the Great Pyramid of Giza were paid with a daily ration of beer.

7. During WWII, a bear named Wojtek joined the Polish army. He transported ammunition and sometimes drank beer.

8. Fried beer won Most Creative Fried Food at the 2010 Texas State Fair.

9. The top five states for beer consumption per capita: 1. New Hampshire, 2. Montana, 3. Vermont, 4. North Dakota, 5. South Dakota.

10. Germany is home to a beer pipeline. Taps in Veltsin-Arena are connected by a 5km tube of beer.

11. Thomas Jefferson wrote parts of the Declaration of Independence in a Philadelphia tavern.

12. Cenosillicaphobia is the fear of an empty glass.

13. At the end of Prohibition, FDR said, "What America needs now is a drink."

14. Winston Churchill called the concept of Prohibition "an affront to the whole history of mankind."

15. George Washington insisted his continental army be permitted a quart of beer as part of their daily rations.

16. Oktoberfest originally started as a festival celebrating the 1810 marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig.

17. At spas in Europe, you can literally bathe in beer as a physical and mental therapeutic treatment.

18. In the 1990s, the Beer Lovers Party ran candidates in Belarus and Russia.

19. J.K. Rowling invented Quidditch in a pub.

20. Beer helped Joseph Priestley discover oxygen. He noticed gases rising from the big vats of beer at a brewery and asked to do some experiments.

21. A Buddhist temple in the Thai countryside was built with over 1 million recycled beer bottles.

22. The moon has a crater named Beer.

23. Beer soup was a common breakfast in medieval Europe.

24. At the start of Bavarian Beer Week in Germany, an open-air beer fountain dispenses free beer to the public.

25. In the 1980s, a beer-drinking goat was elected mayor of Lajitas, Texas.