The holidays are upon us — and with them, holiday parties. As we feel more comfortable seeing friends and family, the question arises: How do you show gratitude with something more creative than a bottle of grocery store wine?
We asked two gift experts for their thoughts on how to find a host gift that will surprise and delight. Jessica Salceda, owner of J. Isabel Designs, and Charly Goss, a wardrobe, interior and event stylist, shared their tips for choosing a thoughtful present.
“When selecting a host gift, I always consider the person’s unique style and interests,” Salceda said, noting that something practical is always a good bet.
Goss said offering a service is another special way to say thank you.
“I love to support local makers and business owners,” she said. “Seek out your favorite florist for a fresh bouquet, or gift the hostess an hour of house cleaning a few days in advance.”
If you’re going to a Thanksgiving dinner or holiday party at someone else’s home, read on for their top 10 suggestions to ensure you don’t show up empty-handed.
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A tabletop s'mores maker
Immediately up the cozy factor at your next party with Chef’n S’mores Roaster. “Kids and adults alike would love this cozy and interactive addition to a holiday party, Christmas dinner or a chilly afternoon,” Goss said. Toast marshmallows and melt chocolate simultaneously over a miniature flame. Get it from Amazon for $49.99.
A scented candle
With the fresh, clean aroma of blue spruce, pine and camphor, the Montana Forest Minimalist Candle from Brooklyn Studio is a thoughtful and simple gift that everyone can appreciate. Salceda said the scent combination is subtle yet captivating, and that the packaging is luxurious at an affordable price. All the brand's candles are vegan, cruelty-free and phthalate-free. Get it from Brooklyn Candle Studio for $28.
A memory collector
This stylish guest book can be left out to collect the thoughts of friends and family who visit. “Have guests write a quick hello, and savor those memories for years to come,” Goss suggested. The Memorable Events Guestbook contains 100 pages, and the cover is hardbound. Get it from Anthropologie for $36.
Gorgeous salad servers
Beautiful brass-finished utensils inject a little class to any party. These stainless-steel salad servers need to be hand-washed to ensure they stay shiny, but they make a great gift for any host who values an impeccable aesthetic. “These are stunning. Every host loves sharing food with loved ones, and adding an elevated utensil to the tablescape is always appreciated,” Goss said. Get the set from Williams Sonoma for $39.95
Minted works with independent artists to design chic linen napkins. They're "so classy when serving drinks and appetizers to close friends," Goss said. "A touch of sophistication that won’t go unnoticed.” Each set includes eight machine-washable napkins. Get it from Minted for $30.
A handpicked gift box
Any host will appreciate the Cherry Picker Gift Box, which is full of goodies from artisanal producers and self-care staples. Each is hand-packed and includes sour cherry gummies, a chai chocolate bar, a Korean face mask, a sponge cloth and a handwritten card. Salceda called it "a perfect combination of useful and unique items that spoil and wow your recipient.” Get it from the Good Box for $45.
A beautiful reversible cutting board
The consummate host will adore this gorgeous Stella Falone cutting board. Made from responsibly sourced West African ebony (the same material used for the famous Taylor guitars), the boards are beautiful enough to serve on. The reversible board has conditioning oil to keep its top shape and a nonslip mat for safe preparation. Get it from Stella Falone for $129.
A sweet treat
Bring an easy dessert or spoil your host with this decadent sweet from B Toffee, which is available in milk or dark chocolate. "It’s already packaged in a cute kraft box with a ribbon or a fun clear canister,” Salceda said. “Delectable and unexpected makes this a treat to remember!” Get it from B Toffee for $16.95.
A stunning tea sampler
Sample the most popular herbal and caffeinated blends from female-owned company Tea with Tae. These high-quality teas come in flavors including Jasmine Green Tea, Lemon Crème and Bombay Chai, and the beautifully simple packaging brings a bit of luxury to your host. Get the sampler from Tea with Tae for $39.99.
An unbeatable panettone
Panettone is an Italian bread with the richness of a cake, and it's traditionally served around Christmas and the new year. From Roy makes panettone available in candied orange raisin, chocolate or pumpkin maple pecan, and Goss deems it “THE coolest luxury baked good money can buy.” Get it at From Roy for $75.