5 Things Every Holiday Host Should Borrow, Not Buy

Hosting for the holidays can be a joy, but also pretty expensive. Instead of buying supplies, try borrowing them. Here’s a list of some things you’ll need.

Guest post by Jessica Thiefels

Hosting for the holidays is a point of pride for many, but it can also be expensive. You’re spending a lot to prep for your guests, between stocking the kitchen and making sure everyone has what they need. Instead of buying all the extra items you don’t have, borrow from a friend, family member or neighbor. In many cases, people going out of town won’t need their coffee maker or extra air mattress.

Here are some important items to add to your “to borrow” list. Stock up before your guests arrive to make sure they have a festive and restful stay.

Extra Baking and Cooking Dishes

How often do you make a 3-course meal for 5+ people throughout the year? Likely not very often—so don’t buy a handful of extra dishes for this one meal. Instead, ask friends, family or neighbors if they have anything for you to borrow. Items on your list may include:

  • Glasses: wine glasses, coffee mugs and others for alcoholic drinks, like martini glasses
  • Serving dishes: bowls, trays, large plates
  • Baking/cooking dishes: oven-safe baking trays, extra pots and pans
  • Serving utensils: extra tongs, serving spoons, carving knife
  • Standard cutlery and dishes: bowls, plates, silverware

Go through your kitchen to make a list of what you need and start asking around. If you’re still missing a few items, head to Goodwill where you can get good-quality, used products for a steep discount. Keep it when you’re done or donate it back.

Table and Chairs

If you’re hosting for a big meal, your small family kitchen table is likely not big enough for a feast. As such, you’ll need extra tables and chairs to accommodate. These are great items to borrow, instead of investing in plastic tables and extra chairs—or even renting, which can be costly as well.

In the 2017 report, The Holiday Survival Guide for Hosting on a Budget, 47 percent of respondents reported borrowing these items more often than any others, including dishware, decorations and linens. Ask for foldable chairs rather than plastic, which look nicer and are more comfortable, and throw a tablecloth over the plastic table to make it festive and more put together.

Mattress or Inflatable Bed

Guests need somewhere to sleep and you can’t give your bed to everyone. If you don’t already have extra mattresses, or you do, but your inflatable mattress empties by morning, this is a good item to borrow. In the same holiday survival guide, this was the second most borrowed item because many people have an extra lying around and it’s easy to part with if they’re not hosting.

The trick is finding space for the extra sleepers. Consider moving things around in the living room or putting a partition in a spare room for families who want their space but are staying in the same room. Perhaps you can borrow a futon or turn your living room into a bedroom to make everyone more comfortable.

House Gadgets

In addition to extra baking and cooking dishes, you may need an extra coffee machine, French press, hand mixer, and even extra chargers and outlet strips—most guests come with a lot of electronics in our digital age. Turn to friends who are going out of town for the holidays and may not have a need for something like their coffee maker. Add these items to the list of cooking goods you need so you don’t forget to ask for them. If someone offers extra, take it and return if not needed; it’s always better to have more than not enough.


You want your guests to have a great time during their stay and part of that is making sure there’s plenty around the house to keep them occupied. Instead of buying a bunch of games, see what you can borrow from friends. In addition to board games, you can stock up on:

  • Old magazines
  • Books
  • Arts and crafts stuff for kids 
  • Cards
  • Lawn games (depending on where you live or for the garage)
  • DVDs 

Get Ready to Host

Prepare your borrowing list and start asking. Get stocked up on everything you need at least a week before everyone comes so if you do need to order or buy something, you have time. When everyone arrives, they’ll never know you borrowed anything and will be able to relax and enjoy themselves—without you having to spend extra.

Jessica Thiefels has been writing for more than 10 years and is currently a full-time writer and business owner. She’s written for Reader’s Digest, Homes.com, AARP, Lifehack and more. Follow her on Twitter @Jlsander07 and connect LinkedIn.

Senior Manager, Content & Multimedia at Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. In his role he manages content strategy and execution across several platforms. He’s held other roles within the Marketing Department ranging from Previews & Product Development to the day to day management of the coldwellbanker.com redesign. Besides being a marketer, Gustavo is a filmmaker, musician and writer.

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