For most of the year, hostess gifts are limited to a nice bottle of wine or a thoughtful home trinket. But around the holidays — when hosting gets kicked into high gear, and even the most laid-back homeowner whips herself into a frenzy over macaron towers and unpronounceable cheeses — it's a good time to level-up your gift-giving, too. (After all, it's nice to acknowledge the work that goes into prepping for a party.)
For the hostess in your friend group who always greets you at the door with a drink and has the best playlist in town, here are our top picks for gifts that will bowl her over and continue to impress her guests for many more holiday seasons to come — not to mention, secure yourself a spot on the guest list forever.
Every piece of flatware by designer and artisan Ann Ladson feels like an heirloom — and that's by design. Her Barnacle collection features hand-applied sterling silver "barnacles" on a bronze base, bringing a subtly whimsical touch to her fine jewelry-like creations.
For the hostess whose home always smells perplexingly amazing. This substantial brass incense burner can pass for a piece of modern art when not in use ... not that we expect she'll be able to resist using it. (Oh, and it also comes in rose quartz for the goop set.)
These chic coasters are backed with terrazzo-inspired recycled rubber — two trends in one! — to protect your surfaces and offer additional styling options.
4. Jacob May Wesley Black Walnut Butcher Block, from $300
A good butcher block is the best of both worlds — a kitchen prep workhorse and an effortlessly elegant serving surface for dinner parties. So no matter what kind of host your giftee is, this stunning, substantial board with its unique end-grain pattern is sure to be a beloved gift they'll use forever.
5. Soho Home Roebling Gold-Rim Cut Crystal Cocktail Glasses, Set of 6, $319
This is decidedly not your grandmother's crystal. These gold-rimmed cocktail glasses feature a design inspired by the architect of the Brooklyn Bridge, lending an architectural twist to each versatile vessel — and providing you with a bit of fodder for your next cocktail party conversation.
6. Sabre Tortoise Flatware in Brushed Stainless Steel, $17 per piece
Tortoise is having a major moment in fashion circles, and we see no reason the trend shouldn't spill over into entertaining, too. This handsome flatware design feels modern yet classic, elevated yet unfussy. At $17 per piece, these might be a gift to go in on with friends if you're set on gifting a whole dinner party's worth ... but we know the effort won't go unnoticed.
As if we needed any encouragement to eat more brie. Brooke Wade's handmade oak paddle server provides a picture-perfect backdrop for an artful array of cheeses, nuts, and fruit.
Paper napkins? No chance. These delicately embroidered cocktail napkins feature artistic interpretations of each of the zodiac signs — a surefire conversation-starter no matter the crowd.
Coming right up. Hawkins New York's stately round trays come in plenty of on-trend color combinations — peacock and brass, rust and copper — to fit any decor style, and they're just as good at dressing up a last-minute tea service as they are at presenting the evening's signature cocktail.
What's more sophisticated than a silver-plated wine bucket stand sitting tableside? We can't think of much. Turn your favorite host's next soiree into a Michelin Star-worthy event with this gift.
Candleholders are never a bad bet for hostesses — and this handsome vintage pair from the 1970s will be the crown jewel of her tablescape.
Emily Bihl is a freelance writer and sometimes-songwriter who can invariably be found rearranging furniture in a domicile somewhere along the Mississippi River. She lives with her black labrador Selkie and a small army of homemade ceramics, and has not willingly closed a browser tab since 2011.