The First 5 Things You Should Buy Before Hosting the Holidays, According to Nina Dobrev

Nina Dobrev in her Spanish-style kitchen.

Courtesy of Nina Dobrev; Graphic: MyDomaine

Christmas is coming unapologetically early this year—and we’re on board. Stores are already decked out in string lights and oversized hanging ornaments, holiday sales and deals began as soon as the calendar turned November, and TBH, we’ve never been more excited to begin our holiday decorating. 

The reason for an early start to the season? Everyone is aching for some holiday joy—and Love Hard actress Nina Dobrev couldn’t be more ready herself to settle into the holiday season, too.  

“I think everyone is really looking for that Christmas spirit, happiness, and laughter right now,” Dobrev tells MyDomaine. “They’re already in the Christmas spirit and don’t want to go back.”

Meet the Expert

Nina Dobrev is an acclaimed Canadian actress—and, notably, a decorating enthusiast. She is known for her roles in Degrassi: Next Generation, The Vampire Diaries, and most recently, new Netflix holiday rom-com, Love Hard.

Nina Dobrev next to a Christmas tree.

Courtesy of Nina Dobrev; Graphic: MyDomaine

Dobrev is a perfect resource to discuss all things holiday. She’s the star of the new Netflix original Christmas movie, Love Hard, a compulsive Christmas decorator herself, and the owner of her own wine company alongside Julianne Hough—read: she knows a thing or two about choosing the perfect bottle for those holiday parties. 

“I'm a psychopath when it comes to decorating and the holidays in general—I love it,” Dobrev shares. “I'm a planner as well, so I like to do things in advance.”

How Dobrev Preps for Holiday Season

Dobrev is thrilled that she gets to host the holidays for the first time in a few years and has partnered with Affirm to help shoppers make their holidays great while still staying on budget. It allows you to complete purchases but choose a payment plan so you don’t have to spend all at once, which is bound to be a huge help with the amount of shopping that comes with the holidays. 

“The holidays are a tough time for a lot of us—you want to celebrate as much as you can, but it's tough when you have a budget,” Dobrev explains. “But that’s what is so great about Affirm. People can enjoy holidays without spending their entire monthly budget, even when it comes to booking flights or accommodations.” 

Dobrev shares that Affirm even partners with Expedia and VRBO, so travelers don't have to stress about costly holiday travel and can pay it off over the next few months.

Another factor in holiday hosting is, most definitely, staying calm and collected while holiday hosting. Between money spending, gift buying, food prepping, and decorating, the holidays can easily become overwhelming—but Dobrev knows just the thing to combat the holiday stress.

"Family time is great, but getting out of the house and taking a quiet moment to just be in nature is also great," she suggests. "Take advantage of a peaceful, snowy environment, which I what I am usually in over the holidays. Play outside, go on walks, and break up your holiday prep so you're not stuck inside with stressed energy."

Nina Dobrev and her dog.

Courtesy of Nina Dobrev; Graphic: MyDomaine

The 5 Must-Have Holiday Essentials for Dobrev

Dobrev's brain has been focused on holiday entertaining and how to be as prepared as possible for hosting guests. She’s sharing her 5 essentials to make the most magical holiday season—and we promise your home will be guest-ready in no time. 

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The Perfect Christmas Tree

A Christmas tree topped with sage green and ivory ornaments

Finding Lovely

Dobrev notes that the Christmas tree is her #1 holiday staple. It holds an important place in her home and is the flagship for the rest of her holiday decorating, so obviously, it has to be a standout. Go for something as grand or as minimalistic as you'd like, whatever suits your style.

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Gorgeous Ornaments

A Christmas tree topped with scarlet-red, gold, and white ornaments

House of Harvee

Dobrev notes that she likes to buy new ornaments each year, and as her collection grows, she can look back and fondly remember when she picked up each one.

"Each ornament is a reminder of the year I got it, from where I was to the people I was with," she says. "But, West Elm has these beautiful basic mercury Christmas balls that I'm obsessed with. They are frosted glass and feel like you're bringing the snow inside."

Mercury Glass Ball Ornament
West Elm Mercury Glass Ball Ornament $12 $9
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Adorable Cookie Cutters

A pretty blue plate topped with Christmas-tree-shaped cookies

Finding Lovely

Dobrev shared what she recently picked up for a very merry Christmas: festive cookie cutters.

"Williams-Sonoma has a Grinch Christmas cookie decorating kit, and it's adorable," she says. "Just the smell of warm cookies when you walk into a home is so inviting, whether it's a holiday party, gathering, or a dinner. Custom cookies look pretty, are delicious, and are so fun to make because you put your heart into it."

The Grinch™ Christmas Cookie Kit
Williams Sonoma The Grinch™ Christmas Cookie Kit $30
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Picture-Perfect Gift Wrap

A Christmas tree left completely bare and decor-less

True Home

Turns out, presents become a large part of our décor throughout the holidays. As piles of wrapped presents grow under the tree, avoid visual clutter by wrapping them in a paper that coordinates with your décor.

"When you put gifts under the tree, they tell a bit of a story," Dobrev notes. "They stay under the tree for so long that they do become part of your décor for the home."

She suggests investing in beautiful wrapping paper that speaks to your design style. Dobrev notes that Target is her one-stop-shop for all things holiday and loves their assortment of wrapping options. Cute and affordable holiday essentials? Sign us up.

Winter Ski Scene Premium Gift Wrap
Hearth & Hand with Magnolia Winter Ski Scene Premium Gift Wrap $5
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The Right Wine

modern christmas decor ideas

Design by Emily Henderson Design / Photo by Sara Ligorria-Tramp

And of course, entertaining for the holidays is often complete with great food and drinks flowing. Dobrev mentioned that since she is a wine aficionado herself, she loves serving the perfect deep red wine at her holiday gatherings—often from her own line, of course.

"I feel like red is undoubtedly a Christmas staple," she notes. "White is usually my thing, but over the holidays, nothing beats a deep, rich cabernet."

2020 Cabernet Sauvignon
Fresh Vine Wine 2020 Cabernet Sauvignon $21
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