You know you'll need a lot of food, but there's also a certain amount of hardware that comes with hosting a Passover seder. Especially if this is your first time. Here are some things you will need (and a few that aren't so necessary) to make your seder the ultimate Passover celebration.
The seder plate is the centerpiece of the Passover table. It is filled with six items that have come to represent different parts of the Passover story, including haroset (a mixture of fruit, wine, and nuts), a roasted egg, and bitter herbs.
While nobody is actually eating off this plate, you may still want a stylish one. Modern Tribe comes through with a number of aesthetically pleasing plates, like this bird-inspired seder plate ($49) and this uniquely shaped plate ($129) from an Israeli designer.
And for all the bookworms out there, you'll be happy to know that Passover is largely about reading from the haggadah, the book containing the passages and instructions to be used during the seder. What better way to honor this tradition than a book-shaped seder plate ($235) from The Spertus Institute Shop.
Matzah Cover and Afikomen Bag
It's hard to imagine Passover without matzah. The unleavened bread is a quintessential part of the seder, and the search for the afikomen just happens to be a blast for kids. Traditionally, there are three pieces of matzah on the seder table, wrapped or covered in a cloth. The middle piece of matzah is broken in two pieces near the beginning of the seder, and the bigger piece is placed into an afikomen bag and hidden somewhere in the house for the kids to find later.
If you're looking to dress up your matzah in style, Judaism.com has a nice selection of silk matzah cover and afikomen bag sets that can be purchased together or separately. We're especially fond of the pomegranate ($84.95) and the bird sets ($84.95).
The opening act of the Passover seder is the kiddush, or blessing over the wine. You'll probably need plenty of wine glasses to go around to all the adult guests (and one for Elijah), but a nice kiddush cup can make the holiday feel even more special.
If you want a more traditional kiddush cup, you can't go wrong with a sterling silver cup from Jewish Bazaar ($30). This one even comes with a snazzy velvet box, and you can never have too many snazzy velvet boxes.
For those looking to spruce up the cup, Modern Tribe has a great pewter branch kiddush cup ($56) that won't resemble anything your grandmother owns but will look stylish on your table any day of the week. Also check out the matching candlestick holders to complete the look. If Israeli artwork is more your thing, check out this colorful hand-painted
wooden kiddush cup ($61) from Zara Mart.
Most grocery stores and supermarkets should have a selection of matzah on hand during the Passover season. Some matzah isn't actually Kosher for Passover though, so check on the box before you buy.
If you want matzah that's a little more authentic and dare we say fancy, give Shmurah matzah a try. Shmurah, which means watched in Hebrew, is extra special because its ingredients (flour and water) are watched very carefully from the moment of harvesting and drawing. You can order Shmurah matzah from Chabad.org ($19.50-$29.50), but beware, it is a bit pricier than the boxes you'll find on the shelves. Another good thing to know is that if you or someone in your family has a gluten-free diet, Judaism.com offers Shmurah gluten-free oat matzah ($30), so nobody will be left out.
It's hard to avoid the silly toys and chotchkies on a holiday like Passover. The ten plagues seem to get an awful lot of attention, and while some of us may find it kind of inappropriate to make light of things like blood, boils, and the killing of the first born, others might find these items a useful way to bring the story of Passover more to life at the seder.
If you're down with plague toys, here are some classic masks ($9) that can be doled out to your seder patrons (fights may even ensue over who gets to be the coolest one.) There are also the ten plague finger puppets ($12.71) if that's more your style.
Sometimes it's all about the matzah. If you don't take offense to people adding salt to the matzah ball soup that you've slaved over (no pun intended), these matzah ball salt and pepper shakers ($9.95) are quite appropriate for the seder table. And if your youngest Passover guest isn't quite old enough to ask the Four Questions, this matzah bib ($12) can do the asking for them.
One of the most exciting things about having a Passover seder is that after all the hustle and bustle of cooking all the food you'll need for dinner, you are contractually (ok, Haggadah-icly) obligated to recline for the rest of the night! You can do some simple slouching in your chair, or you can get really cozy by throwing some pillows into the mix.
If you'd like to keep it in the Passover spirit, you can buy this matzah-print pillow ($20) from the Jewish Museum Shop.
Or, you can conveniently use Passover as an excuse to get those decorative pillows you really want but don't really need. Why not get something for your kids, and something for yourself? These animal shaped draw-on-me pillows ($32) are pretty great, and if you’re near one of those giant blue stores, IKEA offers up some cute affordable cushions, like these striped roll pillows ($9.99).