(Graphic: Helen Jane Hearn/TueNight)
Our household throws a lot of parties. And although I’ve never expected a hostess gift for our efforts, it’s always lovely to receive something thoughtful. Host gifts are tricky gifting — you don’t want to clutter up someone’s home, but you also don’t want to be the odd guest out who arrives empty-handed.
With those caveats in mind, I’ve pulled together my dream list of host gifts — all for less than $50.
1. Linen Dish Towels
I love receiving gifts that are a luxurious upgrade to life’s regular, cruddy routines. These natural linen hand towels are the luxurious upgrade you didn’t know your dishes wanted.
2. Footed Aeirum
Upgrade your host’s desktop with this adorably footed container for some sweet little plants. Moss, lichens and Tillandsia will change as they grow, or you can add an air plant (starting at $14) for even more magic.
3. Multi-function Cake Stand
Responsible for bringing a dessert? Leave behind this multipurpose cake stand, which also becomes a chip-and-dip platter, punch bowl and salad bowl.
4. Penzey’s Herb 8-Jar Gift Pack
Bring a gift you know your host will actually use, like this 8-jar herb gift pack from Penzeys, my favorite place for herbs and spices.
5. Numbers Wine Charms
If you’re bringing a bottle of wine, why not include some bling? (Bonus party game: Have the other guests share why they chose the numbers they did.)
6. Guy Fieri Cruising Waiters Corkscrew
While we’re on the topic of wine and wine gifts, this Guy Fieri Cruising Waiters Corkscrew is my absolute favorite. Heavy, sharp and with enough leverage for my wee hands to wield effectively, this corkscrew will tickle your more discriminating friends — and provide a great tool for future entertaining.
Books are one of those prezzies that say as much about you as they do the giftee. Compliment your host (and flatter yourself) with the perfect book.
7. A New Napa Cuisine by Christopher Kostrow
A stunning, artful gift, this thoughtful cookbook by Napa Valley chef Christopher Kostrow subtly compliments your host’s skills in the kitchen.
8. Milk Bar Life – Recipes and Stories by Christina Tosi
NYC’s famous Milk Bar’s savory side is highlighted in this creative party-food and snacks cookbook.
9. The Food Lab – Better Cooking through Science by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt
From Serious Eats to the New York Times bestseller list, this book lays out the scientific basics for the best food you’ll ever taste. It’s great for the geekiest food enthusiast.$27.47, amazon.com
10. Advice from John by Samantha Smith
This comprehensive collection of the world’s best bathroom graffiti is a racy addition to your host’s guest bathroom.