‘Tis the season to entertain, cook, and wow *all* your guests. Follow our RSVP series through November and December for tips, tricks, and inspiration. Happy holiday party season, all!

The holidays are officially here, so bring on the hot cocoa and winter festivities! After years of hosting a variety of dinner parties and family gatherings, I’ve found there are a few key elements that will elevate not only your decor but your get-together overall. Scroll on for the must-have items you need this holiday entertaining season (along with a recommendation for each), and get ready to start planning the perfect tablescape.

1. Stylish Serving Tray: Whether you’re using it to serve up hot appetizers or holiday cookies, or simply to add a little extra style to your ottoman along with a vase and flowers, a pretty serving tray will bring a festive flair to your decor. My Pick: Anthropologie Mimira Serving Platter in Pink ($24)

2. Cake Stand: A cake stand is a must-have for any holiday host. It’ll come in handy for all those sweets this time of year while completing your home’s holiday aesthetic. I like to stack mine so they’re tiered. My Pick: McGee & Co. Tall White Cake Stand ($100)

3.Drink Dispenser: Display your signature holiday beverage in a timeless dispenser for a pop of color this season. You can also serve up infused water if you’re looking for something a little less boozy. My Pick: Fitz and Floyd Luster Beverage Storage In Gold ($40)

4. Chargers: Chargers under white plates make a chic and clean statement. Plus, they can be found almost anywhere at a variety of price points. My Pick: Williams-Sonoma Hammered Gold Charger ($30)

5. Fancy Placemats: This is the easiest way to dress up a table and give it a charming feel for your guests. Go for linen or a more modern marble look. Either way, your tablescape will be totally Insta-worthy. My Pick: Birch Lane Marcy Linen Placemats ($42 for six)

6. Next-Level Glassware: Gilded glassware will add the perfect finishing touch. And the glasses don’t necessarily all have to match either — trying mixing a few different styles for an eclectic look. My Pick: Anthropologie Gilded Rim Red Wine Glass ($22)

7. Cheeseboard: Whether you’re using it to serve your appetizers or just for decor, cheeseboards add a pretty surface to any table or appetizer spread. My Pick: Alice Lane Addy Cheese Board ($79)

8. Sleek, Small Plates: Stylish small plates can be utilized in several ways — to serve appetizers, side dishes, or dessert. They’re pretty much the jack-of-all-trades when it comes to entertaining. My Pick: Anthropologie Perasima Dessert Plate $18

For more entertaining advice and home decor inspiration, head to my blog Pink Peonies or check out the latest on Instagram @RachParcell.

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(Images via Rachel Parcell)