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There are two things my mother never let me forget. 1) Never show up underdressed. 2) Never show up empty handed. We've got plenty of style stories to help you with Rule One. For Rule Two, we've got this guide to hostess gifting.
Honestly, the best hostess gift is and always will be a bottle of wine or booze. It's easy to carry, easy to put away, and they don't have to keep it in their house for eternity. That said, it can be really fun to get creative with hostess gifts. Holiday gifts—like those for husbands, wives, men, hard-to-shop-for men, and tech nerds—have some flexibility. But, hostess gifts can be quite rigid. They don't have to be, but they're typically confined to home goods and foodie gifts, things they will conceivably use at their next party. We like to keep the best hostess gifts within those parameters, because it just makes the most sense. With those blinders on, we dug around, asked our editors, and came to this conclusion: The 14 best hostess gifts you can buy.
I first smelt this candle at the actual Jupiter restaurant... in the bathroom, specifically. I was blown away by how much I understood the smell as Pasta Water versus how much I loved it. It's such a pleasant surprise of a candle.
Brut Yellow Label Champagne
Bringing their favorite bottle of white or a red is a safe bet. But, they might feel obligated to uncork it over the course of the night, and that would throw off their pairings. Go in a totally different direction with Champagne. They'll want to pop it and celebrate with everyone at the end of the party.
Fruit Shaped Candle Set
Standard candle a bit boring for you? Us too. These fruit shaped candles are a fun little trompe l'oeil, and they're a cheeky alternative to any scented candles.
Cheese Shaped Scented Candle
It doesn't smell like cheese, but it wouldn't be a bad thing if it did. Even though they're affordable, if your host has a sense of humor, these will be the best gift they get all night. Buy a handful of them, and your host can use them to light the table at the next dinner party.
Terracotta Butter Keeper
There's an issue in the world: Butter needs to be room temp for optimal spreading, but it can go rancid at that temperature. Thankfully, there's a scientific solution. With a little bit of water, this French-style butter keeper seals your butter off from any would be harm. So you—sorry, the host you gift this too—can keep the butter ready to spread year-round.
Hardbound Cellar Book
A fancy leather-bound notebook to keep up with their purchases and tastings. It'll make everyone else in their amateur sommeliers group jealous.
If they're hosting a large party, or a family holidy, you can get really creative. This spa-style robe from Brooklinen reminds them to chill out and take care of themselves after a long night of refilling wine and washing dishes.
If they live in a no shoes household, give them the gift of our favorite house slipper.
Ralph's Coffee Tray Set
Ralph's is a bit like Ralph Lauren Disneyland with all its merchandise. But, we love this sugar and creamer set, and it'll especially be a hit if your host likes to offer a post-meal coffee.
9 Herb Window Garden Kit
Some people (myself included) love being gifted a plant. Some people (many I know) hate it, because of the pressure to keep it alive. Luckily, herbs are just weeds, so they're almost impossible to kill. It helps that they're practical as well.
With your foodie friends, a regular bottle of wine might not sufficiently wow everyone. Fernet—the more bitter, more herbal cousin to Amaro—is a perfect choice for real foodies. It's an acquired taste, but that's why it's so beloved.
Fresh Olive Wreath
During the holidays, a wreath can be a bit meh—just a bit overdone. But this olive wreath from The Citizenry is the exact opposite. It's regal, green, and suitable for year-round use. It's like a hostess gift they'd give a Roman emperor.
Drizzle Extra Virgin Olive Oil
If they love high-quality olive oil, few are this good at this price. Plus, Graza's signature squeeze bottle makes it perfect for high-concept drizzling and plating.
Sicilian Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Ok, the quality of the olive oil matters, and Baroncini Import & Co. works in partnership with the olive oil legends at Partanna for a high-quality oil... But the tin is what really makes this gift-worthy. The bright yellow will look great when you had it off, and it'll look just as good when the receiver posts it to Instagram.
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