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Entertaining can be both fun and overwhelming, as can be picking out a gift for the host. There are more ways to say thank you than with a bottle of red, though—you just have to get a little creative.
There are two key things to consider when shopping for the hostess behind your next get together: her decor style and her preferred type of party. If she’s known for her wine and cheese nights, you might want to opt for a cheese board or a wine decanter. If she loves to whip up dinner, a mortar and pestle for some homemade chimichurri or guac will do. If she’s more of a brunch gal, look into a vintage toast rack. Basically, just keeping in mind her hobbies and style will guarantee your gift comes across as thoughtful and not thrown-together.
Here, a little something for the hostess with the mostest.
Anthropologie Composite Agate Cheese Board
Nothing kicks off a soiree like a good cheese spread, so you might as well serve up your gouda, brie, and gorgonzola on a board that’s as pretty as the cheese is tasty. This colorful, handcrafted cheese board will do just the trick as it's composed of dazzling agate, a semiprecious stone naturally formed from volcanic and metamorphic rocks.
Cheese boards aren’t just about aesthetics, though; the material it’s made of also makes a difference. Some wood boards can impart unwanted flavors, while stone, marble, and granite boards—like this one—won't absorb smells as easily. Stone cheese boards also provide the right temperature for cheeses, thanks to their ability to absorb heat more quickly than other materials. The process helps cheeses cool down on hot, summer days or steamy evenings in the kitchen as your host rushes to complete everything before guests arrive.
Pottery Barn Faux Fur Textured Ombre Throw
A faux fur throw will keep a hostess and her guests warm all winter long, and it'll look luxe splayed across the corner of her sofa. The trick to styling faux fur is mixing it with the right materials. A blend of opulence and coziness, faux fur is best paired with its opposite—something contemporary and cool. It’s fun to drape the throw over a gilded wire chair or atop a leather ottoman.
This 50 x 60-inch throw is made of an acrylic and polyester blend, but each strand feels as silky as the real thing. Ombre texture makes this baby look real by adding dimension and a whole lot of fluff. While an occasional dry clean is recommended, it can be tossed in the washing machine on gentle in cold war and can be tumble dried after so your host will have no trouble with upkeep.
Mint & Gold Creations Hexagon Coasters
Modern, stylish, and glam, these hexagon coasters promise to pack a glittering punch in any living space. Each 4-inch coaster is crafted with a mix of black, white, and gold resin as well as real bits of mirror. A 0.25-inch lip at the edge helps prevent condensation from spilling onto the table, and it means the coaster could also double as a trinket tray.
In addition to their fun geometric shape and eye-catching design, they’re also durable, lightweight, and waterproof. Since the designer hand pours each coaster, they're a one-of-a-kind gift your host will be sure to treasure.
Urban Outfitters Colina Low Serving Bowl
Whether it’s guac, chips, or a bundle of bread, whatever your host is serving will look delectable in this artsy serving bowl. It’s a great way for a hostess to flaunt her culinary finesse and her taste in decor, but it also works great as a centerpiece filled with fresh flowers or fruit. The hand-painted dish features bronze-hued flecks and two wavy stripes of blue reminiscent of a rolling ocean, rendering it the perfect piece for a bohemian table setting.
Urban Outfitters even has ceramic canisters with matching blue patterned motifs, perfect for storing flour, nuts, and tea bags. Get your hostess friend the bowl for her first holiday soiree, and the canisters for her next, and she’ll have a whole set to show off in no time!
Johanna Howard Home Harmoni Pillow
One can never have too many pillows, and this one packs a bold punch of color. Woven from pure alpaca wool in a geometric pattern, the pillow comes in three different trios of color: periwinkle, lilac, and gray; citrus, camel, and grey; and navy, cobalt, and aqua. They’re all equally pretty, so pick the one that best complements your hostess’ decor.
Apart from its rainbow prism front, the Harmoni Pillow also happens to be rather luxurious. Alpaca wool is a luxurious fiber, revered for its coziness and warmth. Unlike sheep’s wool or cashmere, alpaca wool is longer-lasting and of a lighter weight. It’s also hypoallergenic and wool resistant! Best yet, it’s eco-friendly as alpacas don’t damage their grazing lands. On top of that, the backside of the pillow is made of velvet and the inside is filled with a feather/down insert. We’re ready to take a nap with this one!
CB2 Hollings Bronze Toast Rack
Brunch just got that much better. For the hostess who would rather serve mimosas than wine, this brass toast rack will elevate any breakfast spread. An ornate handle and gold finish lend an antique air, making the toast rack look like it’s a family heirloom. It can easily pass as a toast rack from the Victorian era, when toast racks first became popular.
Four slots leave plenty of room for all kinds of breaded delights, from challah french toast to cinnamon raisin bagels. The gaps allow heat to escape the toast, preventing each piece from becoming soggy as they might if they were stacked on top of one another. But toast racks don’t need to be confined to the kitchen or dining room. They’re also great on desks, serving as a mail or paper holder.
Williams-Sonoma Aerin Ardsley Champagne Bucket
This stylish champagne bucket is ready for a dreamy garden soiree. It features classic Chinese designs with a blue and green floral motif and a handwoven rattan handle that adds a country element. Made of porcelain, it stands at 11 inches high and 9 inches wide so it can keep the bubbly cold all day long. Sure, it's a splurge, but you’re getting what you pay for. More inexpensive champagne buckets are often made of plastic, which aren’t as durable in the long run.
This beauty would sit pretty next to the patio table for some summer fun, or as a colorful addition to any bar cart. Either way, it promises to up any hostess’ champagne presentation game and make her look like a true sommelier. Just make sure she prepares the bucket by filling it with half ice and half water and drapes a folded white napkin over the bucket to really impress.
Peace & Riot Sandstone Mortar and Pestle
A mortar and pestle may not be the most innovative gadget on the kitchen block, but it’s a tried and true one. The tool, which has been around since the earliest of civilizations, requires a bit of elbow grease, but the result is always worth it. It’s convenient for making sauces like pesto and chimichurri, grinding up your own herb mixes, and whipping up spicy guac, among many other things.
The best mortars have a deep, round shape to keep ingredients from spilling over and the best pestles have a broad base that keeps ingredients in place while being crushed. Material also makes a difference. Solid stone mortars are most recommended for their strength and density, making it easier to crush things and without the risk of damaging the material. We love this sandstone option from Peace & Riot as it's able to crush and grind spices to the max and blend seamlessly with any tablescape.
Anthropologie Herbiflora Cheese Knives
Made of stainless steel and brass, the silver and gold palette of this set of three cheese knives will complement any cheese board. They range in length from 6.25 inches to 7.5 inches. Each creatively features a handle in the shape of a different herb—rosemary, thyme, and sage.
It’s the perfect trio because together, they’re ready to tackle any kind of cheese. The flat cheese knife, or chisel knife, is used for aged cheeses like provolone, swiss, gruyere, or asiago. The pronged cheese knife, or fork-tipped spear, takes on dual action. The narrow blade allows you to cut a piece of soft to semi-hard cheese, like brie, so it doesn’t stick, while the prongs allow you to then pick up the cut cheese for plating. The fork can also help keep a block of cheese in place while cutting it with another cheese knife. And the elongated hard cheese knife helps to chip away at, yes, hard cheeses, like parmesan.
Kintsugi Candle Co. Blossom Candle
An inviting scent is perhaps one of the most welcoming ways to greet guests, so make it a good one. Kintsugi Candle Co. has several candles to choose from, all named after inspiring verbs or adjectives, like “Grow” or “Invincible,” and which feature a motivating message on the candle itself.
We particularly love “Blossom,” which reads, “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” It blends soy wax and essential oils with notes of lavender and coconut to create a calming, relaxing vibe throughout the room—a scent perfect for a small girls’ night in. But no matter which of the four candles you choose, they’re sure to uplift your hostess friend. They’re all hand-poured into a glass jar that’s 3.5 x 3 inches and will burn for approximately 80 hours.
UnCommon Goods Twist Decanter
Wine bottles aren’t always the best for serving, but that’s where decanters come in. Decanters aerate wine to amplify aromas and flavors before they’re served. Wide-necked decanters are best for fast aeration, but thin-necked decanters help remove sediment from older wines.
Decanters come in a number of shapes and sizes, meant to cater to different purposes and different types of wines, but this twist decanter is both effective and aesthetically pleasing. Its dramatic curves catch the eye and ensure that the wine will breathe before it’s served. That’s because the wine will aerate twice, once as it’s poured from bottle to decanter and again as it’s poured from decanter to wine glass.
Made of resilient borosilicate glass, it comes in two sizes—one that accommodates a half bottle of wine and another that accommodates a full bottle of wine. It also sits atop a stainless steel pedestal that keeps the vessel stable while not in use.
Regina Andrew Multi-Tone Bone and Brass Serving Tray
There’s no better way to serve a round of cocktails then on this trendy serving tray. A mosaic pattern of natural bone plays up texture in a creamy palette for a sophisticated look. Natural brass handles add another chic touch, but they’re more than pretty; they lend your host a good grip.
At 13.7 pounds, this 16 x 24-inch serving tray isn’t lightweight, but that means it’s well equipped to bear treats. Its white and beige finish is food safe, too, so it’s okay if a splash of margarita or drop of dip finds its way to the tray. The piece also works just as well as a decorative piece. Displayed on an ottoman or coffee table, it can play home to coasters, books, and candles. No matter how it’s used, it’s bound to make for a good Instagram.