With pies to bake and birds to stuff, whipping up a batch of chocolate-chip cookies is probably not up there on your to-do list. But it can save you stress and heartache on the day of your big feast. So can some of these other oddball items that you might not think to have on hand to get yoursefl holiday-ready:
Stress-saver: Chocolate chips
Why you may need them: It’s a good idea to get a gauge of your oven’s temperature swings to make sure its not running too hot or too cold. The easiest way is to bake a simple recipe you know well, like chocolate-chip cookies. If the cookies take a lot of time than you expected or are done (or burned) way too soon, the oven’s temperature may be off. Check your owner’s manual to see whether the settings can be adjusted.
Stress-saver: Empty wrapping paper rolls
Why you may need them: If you’ve got a big tablecloth or two to iron, wrapping the pressed cloth around the empty tube can keep the creases out until you’re ready to set the table. You can press and store your clothes this way up to two to four weeks ahead.
Stress-save: Empty paper towel rolls
Why you may need them: If you’re replacing your regular candles with holiday-colored ones, use the paper towel rolls to store the out-of-season candles to prevent damage or breakage.
Stress-saver: Tension rods
Why you may need them: If you’ve got a lot of extra spices on hand for cooking and baking, try adding an extra makeshift shelf in your existing cabinets to keep them tidy. Use two tension rods to create a slight slant to better hold the bottles in place. Or use tension rods to divide a narrow shelf into two or three spice racks.
Stress-saver: Straight-blade ceramic veggie peeler
Why you may need it: A secret weapon among pro cooks, the straight-blade design gives you excellent control and the razor sharp ceramic blade slices easily through all kinds of produce skin—apples, winter squash, and more. You can also use it to make chocolate shavings for desserts. The Kyocera Ceramic Peeler, $18, did exceptionally well in our tests.
Stress-saver: Immersion blender
Why you may need it: No need to dirty a blender container. This smaller handheld one pureés soups, vegetables, and sauces right in the pot. One of our testers' top picks was the Miallegro Professional MiTutto 9090, $50.