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10 Must-Have Appliances for the Holidays

Small Appliances

Help ease the stress of the holiday season. With the right household appliances, your holiday events can be a breeze.

1. Indoor Grills and Griddles

Don’t let cold weather spoil game-time events. With Indoor grills and griddles, you can still serve up the great flavor of grilled food at holiday get-togethers. Grills and griddles are available in different sizes and types:

• Open grills, like outdoor grills, are perfect for grilling meats, vegetables and fruits.

• Closed or contact grills have lids and are ideal for grilling sandwiches and thinner cuts of meat and vegetables.

• Combination grills offer the best of both worlds. They have ridged and flat cooking surfaces that allow you to cook a variety of foods on one appliance. With this versatile tool, you can cook pancakes for breakfast, make panini's for lunch and grill steaks for dinner.  

For fast cleanup, shop for appliances with nonstick cooking surfaces, removable grill plates and grease catchers that are dishwasher-safe.

2. Slow Cookers

Slow cookers combine convenience with great taste. Chop some vegetables, add seasonings and in a few hours you’ll have a delicious home-cooked meal. Plus you can clean, do your holiday shopping or even go to work while your meal cooks. Slow cookers range from basic to sophisticated and offer a variety of features:

• Programmable slow cookers allow you to set more specific cook times than your basic model.

• Models with removable inner pots make leftover storage and cleanup a snap.

• The triple slow cooker allows you to cook three dishes at once. It's ideal if you have a large family or enjoy hosting parties and gatherings.

3. Toasters

If you want a no-fuss, no-muss way to toast bread and bagels, then the basic, two-slice toaster is probably the best fit for you. A few minutes in the toaster and up pops toast, browned to your specifications. While many toasters work best with standard-sized bread slices, some offer wider slots to better accommodate split bagels or muffins. Large families may want to invest in four- or even six-slice versions.

4. Toaster Ovens

A close cousin of the toaster, toaster ovens offer greater flexibility in the types of foods you can cook. While you can’t fit a turkey in it, depending on the size you choose, you can cook anything from a small pizza to a small chicken. During the busy holiday season, kids can prepare their own meals by baking precooked or frozen single-serve meals. If your budget allows, consider investing in convection or rotisserie toaster ovens. They're a little pricier, but these toaster ovens cook food more evenly.

5. Food Processors

Trim preparation time off holiday meals with a food processor. These indispensable kitchen appliances come with interchangeable blades and attachments that allow you to chop, dice, knead, shred or slice. When shopping for your food processor, consider capacity and the types of foods you’ll be preparing. In addition to large-capacity models that range in size from 11 to 14 cups, you can also purchase mid- and small-sized units, which allow you to chop smaller or single items more efficiently.

6. On-Demand and Single-Serve Coffee Makers

Satisfy everyone’s coffee cravings with on-demand or single-serve coffee makers. These coffee makers allow you and your holiday guests to enjoy fresh, hot coffee any time. On-demand coffee makers, which are programmable and have an auto shut-off feature, have a reservoir that can hold up to 12 cups of coffee. Just press the lever to serve up a cup. With single-serve or pod coffee makers, there’s no measuring or mess because you place premeasured pods in the coffee maker. And you don’t have to settle for just one coffee flavor: The single-serve pods come in a variety of gourmet flavors.

7. Hand and Stand Mixers

These handy kitchen devices mix, whip and beat your food, saving you time and effort during the holiday season. Available as hand or stand-alone models, consider space and the types of foods you most often prepare. Hand mixers are less expensive and easier to store. They work well for batters, whipping creams and eggnog, and mashing potatoes. The more powerful stand mixer allows you to mix thicker batters and knead bread and Christmas cookie dough.

8. Blenders

Countertop and immersion blenders can help save cash and trips to the store, especially if you and your family enjoy soups, salsas and smoothies. Blenders also come in handy for holiday parties and other large get-togethers. Consider size, power and capacity when purchasing your blender. You’ll need a powerful blender for recipes that require crushed ice or a larger blender if you entertain a lot. If space is an issue, then the less-expensive handheld or immersion blender might be the best choice for you. The small size allows you to prepare drink mixes or puree vegetables directly in a cup or skillet.

9. Vacuum Cleaners

Keep your home in tip-top shape for the holiday season with the right vacuum cleaner. While there are plenty of options to choose from, you should consider your space and long-term needs. If you live in a small space, stick or canister vacuums may be your best choice. These lightweight vacuums are easier to carry, and they fit in tight spaces. But nothing beats the maneuverability of ball vacuums. These nimble vacuums allow you to negotiate corners, furniture and other obstacles with ease.

10. Wine Coolers and Chillers

Complement holiday meals with a perfectly chilled bottle of wine. Temperature-controlled wine coolers and chillers are available as stand-alone models or built-ins that can fit with existing cabinetry. They can range in capacity from models small enough to fit under your countertop to large units capable of storing hundreds of wine bottles. There are also coolers that offer dual temperature controls for both red and white wines.