History shows that the Pilgrims had their priorities straight: They made sure to bring cheese for their voyage on the Mayflower. As we get set to celebrate the holidays and endless entertaining, let’s face it, the holidays are just better with cheese.

For a crowd-pleasing cheese board this holiday season, it’s back to the basics. Start with the tray for the cheese – it could be a cutting board, chalk board, slate tile or your favorite holiday tray. Whatever it is, remember that the cheese is the star!

Above all, the cheese has to be flavorful, so avoid these 11 common mistakes when storing cheese.

Cutting up the cheese into bite size cubes or pieces makes things neater for your guests to enjoy. If you’re using a softer or creamy cheese, leave a spoon or small cheese knife for guests to serve themselves.

Start with some cheese that is approachable for everyone — orange or white cheddar, or smoked Gouda, Monterey Jack or a Havarti.

Grab something a little more adventurous for the foodies in the crowd — like a washed-rind cheese that’s stinky but delicious.

Add the finishing touches to your cheese tray with some simple crackers or bread, dried fruits and nuts.

Chef Marc Murphy shows how to make a cheese board for your next party. His tip? Always take the cheeses out of the fridge about “an hour in advance” of your event, Murphy said, so they have enough time to adjust to room temperature. Also, place the cheeses on the outside of the board so that it’s easier for your guests to access.

Gathering with friends and family, you can also use cheese as a topic of conversation or as an ice breaker in meeting new people at holiday parties. Here’s how to talk about cheese!

There’s just something about cheese. It’s the perfect snack, the perfect addition to recipes and the perfect way to welcome guests.