11/25/2013 01:37 EST | Updated 11/29/2013 12:10 EST

Your Holiday Essentials Guide

Michael Powell via Getty Images

The holiday season: between party hopping from one soiree to another, shopping for gifts, and not to mention also having friends and family over to your place, it can be a hectic month. Make December a little easier on yourself by making sure you have a supply of all of the little things we're always running out to the store to get at the last minute. Do yourself a favour and use this list to prepare in advance.

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Tea time, any time

Foodie friends will appreciate selections of teas to keep them warm throughout winter. And why stop at tea? Hot chocolate, apple cider; it’s fair game as long as it warms them up!

Light a fire

A scented candle helps create instant ambiance, and modern candlemakers have figured out a way to make burning wax smell like absolutely anything you can imagine.

Hang out with some ornaments

Holiday ornaments can be used as decoration for any part of the house, not just the tree! And good ornaments (like these adorable examples, available only at Target) will be brought out each winter for years to come. Maybe your new ornament will be a family heirloom for years to come!

For everything else, there’s greeting cards

While you could send out e-cards, there's something special about receiving a handwritten card. And what’s classier than a hand-written (and thoughtful) thank you card once all the gifts have been unwrapped?

Give the gift of holiday wrap

For those oddly-shaped presents, it's smart to have a selection of truly charming gift bags on hand, like these ones from Target. And if you have a selection of differently-sized bags, you’re setting yourself up for gift-giving success!

Everybody loves chocolate

There is literally no reason to not have a box of chocolate on the coffee table for guests. No one ever has turned down free chocolate, especially if you spring for a variety pack.

Better than cash

Need a small but flexible gift for some guests, or a last-minute stocking stuffer? A gift card for music is something everyone can use (or easily regift).

Tag it and bag it

Cheerful gift tags will add a final bit of flair to any and all gifts you hand out this season. It sure beats writing your name on a strip of masking tape.

A classy glass

An inexpensive set of stemware is worth buying if you host often -- serving in real glasses is so much classier and more environmentally-friendly than the plastic disposable variety.

A better kind of napkin

Cloth napkins will elevate your place settings, while adding a certain level of Earth-friendly eco-consciousness that can’t be beat. Besides, themed napkins are always adorable.