Showing up to a celebration empty-handed? Not on our watch. Wowing a host with a thoughtful and generous gesture is one challenge we welcome with open arms (and it's also a skill likely to score you a repeat invite). If you're in need of the perfect gift to tote to your next summer soirée, these elevated tokens of appreciation won't stress your wallet: They're all priced at $30 or less. Party on.
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.
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 wildly affordable white comes recommended by James Beard Award semifinalist chef Grae Nonas of Olamaie in Austin.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Grillmasters who take great pride in their work might just like to sign it. A custom branding iron leaves the right impression.
Whether presented solo or filled with fresh stems, a sculptural vase is a welcome addition to dining tables, desks, mantels, and beyond. This citrus-hued number is like a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day.
If you plan to bring a bouquet of fresh flowers to the party, be sure to have a container handy, too—even if it's simply a glass mason jar. This will prevent your host or hostess from having to scramble to find a vase instead of entertaining their guests.
Elevate the essentials with a gift of everyday kitchen musts such as unique gourmet salts. Everyone loves an artisanal twist on the classics.
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.
Balmy summer evenings are best concluded by a lawn game—think cornhole, giant Jenga, horseshoes, or croquet. Bonus: Gifting your host or hostess with a lawn game ensures they have a trick up their sleeve in case the party comes to a lull.