Going to a Summer BBQ? 11 Unique Host Gifts Under $30

Original Illustration by Stephanie DeAngelis

It's considered poor form to show up to a celebration empty-handed. Wowing a host with a thoughtful and generous gesture is one challenge we welcome with open arms. It is also a skillset likely to get you invited back. If you're in need of the perfect gift to accompany you to your next summer soirée, these elevated tokens of appreciation won't stress your wallet. Party on.

Killer Vinyl

The Bells by Lou Reed $20

Every host will appreciate adding to a treasured vinyl collection. When making your selection, choose a record that comes with a backstory. Regaling the party with why you chose the track (from road trips of yore to a hunch they're a closet Beyoncé fan) makes for good party banter.

The Perfect Vintage

Txomin Etxaniz Getaria White Wine Txakolina Getariako 2014 $20

Instead of turning up with just any bottle of booze, phone up the sommelier or waitstaff at their favorite eatery and ask for a killer under-$25 recommendation. Every wine connoisseur will have a list of go-to cheap bottles. This particular wildly affordable white comes recommended by James Beard Award semifinalist chef Grae Nonas of Olamaie in Austin.


Sur La Table Rosemary Tree in Burlap $30

A rosemary tree doubles as a sculptural centerpiece and can be planted or potted for a gift that keeps on giving. Regarded as the herb of love and remembrance, it makes a fitting totem for any gathering of friends.

Coffee-Table Stars

Art and Text by Aimee Selby $20

It's our staunch belief that one can never possess too many art books. Give your host a leg up on curating the perfect coffee-table moment with chic vintage editions or out-of-print finds. This large print is one of my personal favorites and a must for the wordsmith in your life.

Professional Tools

BonJour Chef's Tools Butane Crème Brûlée Torch and Porcelain Ramekin Set $25

Up the ante with a gift of ambitious kitchen tools. A crème brûlée set sends the message you have utter faith in their Julia Child–level mastery of a party menu.

Heavenly Scents

Boy Smells Kush Candle $28

Home fragrances are always appreciated at a housewarming. Your host may even cycle through a candle or two over the course of an event. This tongue-in-cheek scent from Boy Smells is a remarkably chill mix of cannabis, suede, white musk, tulip, and amber.

Herb Gardens

Terrain Cocktail Herbs Grow Kit $16

From the aspiring mixologist to the happy hour enthusiast in your world, this herb-growing kit promises to keep the mojito game on point all summer long. The starter kit of heirloom seeds contains thyme, lavender, Thai basil, mint, lemon balm, and blue borage.

Novelty Cookbooks

The Mac + Cheese Cookbook by Allison Arevalo $11

Turn up with specialty cookbooks from their favorite chefs or celebrities, or a simple yet glorious send-up to a signature dish. We're voting for mac and cheese.

Bespoke BBQ Upgrades

BBQ Fans Letter A Steak Branding Iron $20

Grillmasters who take great pride in their work might just like to sign it. A custom branding iron leaves the right impression. 

Artful Eats

Olive Oil & Vinegar Pairing Set $26

Elevate the essentials with a gift of everyday kitchen musts such as flavorful oil-and-vinegar pairings. Everyone loves an artisanal twist on the classics.

Classic Barware

Williams-Sonoma Copper Mug $30

No home bar setup is complete without a set of copper mugs. There's no better companion for summer. These easy-on-the-eye accessories always keep their cool.

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