While your hostess will always appreciate a nice bottle of wine, there are occasions where you want to arrive with something special in hand. Gifts can be small tokens to thank them for the evening or slightly more elaborate if the relationship and events warrant it. If you are searching for ideas, read on as we reveal unique hostess gifts that fit any occasion, be it a long weekend or informal dinner party.
Cocktail Books with a Message
If your hostess has a passion for mixology, she may appreciate a book that combines innovative cocktail recipes and a celebration of her other interests. The editors at Food & Wine recommend bringing “Cocktails Across America: A Postcard View of Cocktail Culture in the 1930s, ’40s, and ’50s” by Diane Lapis and Anne Peck-Davis as a unique hostess gift. It’s filled with vintage cocktail recipes, historical vignettes and stories that will bring to mind the glamour, jazz and exotic venues that defined cocktail culture.
Special Kitchen Accessories
If you are attending a house warming party, dinner party or even a birthday celebration for someone who enjoys cooking, small kitchen accessories can be welcome gifts. Handcrafted cutting boards made of wood from Tuscany can bring back memories of European travel. Monogrammed wooden trays perfect for serving tea or snacks are personal as well as practical hostess gifts. Designer kitchen linen sets can brighten up a space. InStyle praises the “Kate Spade New York Kitchen Sunny Disposition Tea Print 3-Piece Linen Set” as a unique hostess gift that can add a chic element to a kitchen or butler’s pantry.
Does your hostess have a sweet tooth? Options abound for a decadent hostess gift, and they will look so tempting that you may want to buy two so you can indulge when you get home. InStyle raves about the taste and look of “Charbonnel et Walker Milk Sea Salt Billionaire’s Shortbread Truffles.” Not only are the shortbread truffles delectable but the packaging is so beautiful that your hostess may keep it long after the truffles have been devoured. Meanwhile, Food & Wine favor the “Bee Raw 9-Piece Varietal Honey Flight.” The flight includes nine different kinds of honey. It’s a delight for the hostess, and it is a unique gift that won’t be gone before sunrise. Are you thinking about splurging for someone special for the winter holidays? The editors at Martha Stewart Living have their eyes on the “Nespresso Parisian Gourmandise-Inspired Limited Edition Holiday Variations.” Your hostess will delight in the Paris patisserie-inspired flavors, including those that evoke “macarons, madeleines and pralines.”
Rare or Inspired Books
Is your hostess all about fashion? Consider bringing the three-series set of hardback Chanel books which reveal many of the secrets of the iconic French designer. Does your hostess love to pore over vintage cookbooks? Martha Stewart Living rhapsodizes that “unusual out-of-print cooking and gardening books with charming covers or beautiful illustrations make unique and display-worthy hostess gifts.” And, of course, if you are looking for something special, first editions of any work by your hostess’ favorite authors will be a treasured gift.
Olive Oil or Special Seasoning
If you are searching for a unique hostess gift that evokes a sense of luxury, InStyle proposes bringing “Fernando Pensato Olive Oil with 18-kt. Gold Flakes” to the party. The made-in-Italy gift offers not only an unusual flavor but a gorgeous bottle, ideal for displaying even after the olive oil is gone. InStyle also adores the “Global Goodies Seasoning Blend Set” for epicureans. Many chefs will tell you that any good recipe must start with just the right salt. Martha Stewart Living agrees. They see the unusual “Jacobsen’s Salt Co. Salt Sourced 8 Vial Set” as a terrific gift option, as it boasts salt “sourced from far-flung regions like Bali and the Himalayas.”
With lighting considerations comes an assessment of the amount of natural light that enters the room. Drapery that picks up your color scheme can make an office feel pulled together, and it will allow you to control the amount of light streaming in during the day. Even simple Roman shades will help you control how much sun comes into the office. Does your office window overlook a back deck or patio? Consider investing in a remodel that exchanges small windows for French doors that open onto the outdoor space. Not only will your home office instantly feel bigger but the fresh air and sense of indoor/outdoor living can often spark the creative juices.
As Food & Wine explains, one of the things that a hostess really wants is a break from bartending. On their wishlist for unique hostess gifts is the genuinely revolutionary “Herb & Lou’s Infused Ice Cubes.” These ice cubes are “ready-made cocktail mixers — just add a cube to your spirit of choice, sit back, and enjoy.” Want to help your hostess add stylish accessories to their cocktails? Consider gifting sets of gem-encrusted cocktail picks to add a bit of festive bling to the proceedings. Do you know if your hostess has been searching for just the right shaker for her next cocktail party? If so, Food & Wine suggests that your hostess will admire the polished “Uncommon James Copper Cocktail Shaker.” It’s an elegant addition to any party, and you shouldn’t be surprised if your hostess puts it to work immediately.
Decadent Moisturizers and Soaps
When giving moisturizers or soaps, it’s essential to know your hostess’ favorite scent and to choose luxurious items that will invigorate rather than overwhelm the senses. InStyle editors prize the “Meyer Lemon Scent Gift Crate” as a unique hostess gift. They explain that the gift is an “assortment of lovely items that could live beautifully in the bathroom: soap to impress every guest, lotion to keep skin moisturized, and a candle to set the mood.” For hand soap options, the editors at Martha Stewart Living suggest “Frama Studio Luxe Hand Soap” because “its sandalwood and cedar notes are masculine, the ylang ylang is floral, and together they’re unisex perfection.” Meanwhile, Food & Wine’s favorite is the “Resurrection Aromatique Hand Wash & Hand Balm Duet.” In fact, they are such fans that they predict that the hostess will judge “this duo too good for the guest bathroom and promptly [stash] it in the master bath instead.”
Decorative vases can be both practical and stylish. Does your hostess infuse her home with French country or farmhouse decorative touches? Select the “Farmhouse Pottery Countryman Pitcher” recommended by Food & Wine as a unique hostess gift. As they explain, “this sturdy stoneware pitcher combines traditional craftsmanship with a clean, modern aesthetic.” They also suggest adding a bouquet of wildflowers for an additional, personalized touch.
If you know your hostess well, something cozy and indulgent could be a splendid gift. Cashmere is divine; a cashmere throw for a new sofa or as a housewarming gift will be embraced. It’s a luxury item people adore, but often don’t buy for themselves. The same goes for plush slippers. InStyle editors endorse gifting the “Ugg Mirabelle Genuine Shearling Slide,” particularly when winter weather is threatening to arrive.