Being a guest is mostly easy. Dress nice, show up, have fun, send a thank you note after, and oh: bring a gift. But what? We’re glad you asked. We think you’re ready to graduate from the nearest bottle of wine at the liquor store to full-fledged host and hostess gifts. Join us in the halls of gifting academe.
Image: “Meet Me in St. Louis” (1944)
Hostess gifts for foodies and home cooks
There are some parties you go to for the company, some you go to for the atmosphere, and some you go to because you know you’re going to eat well. For those hosts, we think the right move is to get out of the way of their culinary explorations, but give them a gift that makes for good outfitting: think serviceware and expensive condiments, rather than gift baskets or actual food.
Staub mini-cocottes: Amazon. On Vegetables: Amazon. Ceramic serving bowl: Food52.
1. These Staub mini-cocottes are charming on the table and just as durable as their larger counterparts on the stove. We love them for coddled eggs or chocolate pots de creme.
2. A new cookbook can be the start to months of inspired new dishes: On Vegetables is a great gift, because it opens up an old world of ingredients to new eyes.
3. A ceramic serving bowl, like this model from Ebru, is a modern centerpiece that’s versatile enough for the daily salad (or pasta).
Ceramics: Sue Fisher King. Spanish Bottle: Food52.
4. For another idea from la beau pays, Astier de Villatte’s ceramics take inspiration from traditional 18th and 19th-century methods, but use modern forms and glazes to bring classic serving pieces into the present day. They’re also completely handmade, so your gift is legitimately unique.
5. A really special olive oil, like this grassy Spanish bottle, is a great gift—it lets great cooks put finishing touches on soups, steaks, and anything in need of a final flourish.
Gifts for wine lovers and cocktail enthusiasts
They don’t need another drink. For the oenophiles and classic cocktail lovers in your life, give them something to serve the sauce in or, better yet, encourage them to discover some new favorites.
Wine Aromas kit: Wine Aromas. Stemless wine glasses: Amazon.
6. We love the Le Nez du Vin Wine Aroma kits as a hands-on way to learn about the high art of good wine.
7. Stemless wine glasses are here to stay—the modern form of these Spanish ones are perfect for today’s tables and they store so easily.
Moscow mule kit: Paper Source. Rustic coasters: Fog Linen. Bottle openers: Burke Decor.
8. For drinks on the run, this cute Moscow Mule kit makes the skies so much friendlier to fly in.
9. Rustic coasters from Fog Linen are just the thing to put under those glasses: hand-made and beautifully understated.
10. Bottle openers from Futagami are the perfect way to bring something useful and beautiful into a friend’s home.
Gifts for home decor and design lovers
Take care of the luxuries, because houseproud hosts usually have the necessities well in hand. Host gifts for amateur interior decorators are easy to pick out—just find something that’s lovely and a little bit unnecessary. You want to give something that people love to have but would have never bought themselves.
Candles: Jonathan Adler. Paper weight: John Derian. Faux fur blanket: Barneys New York Warehouse.
11. Candles are the key to a hygge winter sanctuary. Give them a little piece of design with this great choice from Jonathan Adler.
12. Paperweights aren’t just for the desk set: this astrological choice from John Derian is a beautiful objet for any surface.
13. In the cozy season, a big faux fur blanket is a great showpiece for the couch and will probably get put to good use.
Glass candlesticks: ABC Home. Snakeskin-print lighter: The Line.
14. These elegant glass candlesticks are a beautiful vessel for tapers.
15. If they’ve run out of great matchbooks, offer your friend a light—this lovely snakeskin-print option will do the trick.
Gifts for new grads, new hosts, and other new adults
We’re going to recommend the opposite approach here. If you’re attending a party hosted by someone new to entertaining (or to adult life in general), we think the right approach is to buy something absolutely essential that’s still a bit luxurious.
Knife set: Amazon. Leather backpack: Nordstrom. Coin purse: Cuyana.
16. Every kitchen needs a good set of knives—we don’t mean the kinds sold via infomercial. A J.A. Henckels set with its own storage block is a perfect addition to the beginner’s kitchen.
17. Upgrade your host’s school bags to this chic, work laptop-ready model from Shinola.
18. To encourage early savings and thrift, throw in this leather coin purse, too.
French press: Amazon. Pillowcases: Hill House.
19. The day shouldn’t start without coffee. This design classic from Chambord is a kitchen staple for a reason—and now it’s in trendy-but-timeless copper.
20. The day shouldn’t end on bad sheets, either. A set of good bedding in a simple design scheme, like this choice from Hill House, will let guest and host rest easy.
Every product in this post is one we personally love and can confidently recommend to our users. Paperless Post may earn a commission through affiliate links on this post.
Don’t let your friends have all the fun. Plan your own holiday party with our invitations.