Let’s face it: those friends and family members who kindly host holiday parties, dinners and the like each year typically have their act together. (Like, seriously together.) Plates and silverware are laid out days in advance, and the floral arrangements, catering and cooking are done well before guests arrive.
Here’s a tip for a lifetime of party attending: always ask the host or hostess how you can help with party prep. What they may ask you to contribute can inspire a greater gift for the occasion, an item that they’ll use in turn at future party after future party…
Gowanus Furniture Co. Superfun(d) Wine Rack | $44:
Were you the guest asked to “bring a bottle of wine” for the umpteenth time? Surprise your host or hostess with this unique wine rack, handmade in the heart of Brooklyn; it’s delicate balancing act doubles as a party trick. In keeping with the theme of Brooklyn and New York, wrap it up with a bottle of your favorite local wine.
SimplyNu Small Salvaged Slate Cheese Board | $48.95:
If your hostess requested a cheese platter, take it up a notch. Why not gift an actual cheese board along with your 3 favorite New York State cheeses. Call up Manhattan’s Murray’s Cheese or Brooklyn’s Bedford Cheese Shop for recommendations. And remember to always follow the rule of three: one hard, one soft, and one blue cheese will keep all of your guests happy.
Wishbone Letterpress Fish Scale Coasters | $12.50:
It’s a sure bet that libations will be part of the celebration, and these coasters are an unexpected perfect pairing with your favorite cocktail recipe and a bottle of your favorite (New York State-distilled!) liquor. Check out our 12 favorite regional cocktails
for inspiration – and print off your favorite recipes. This is a wonderful gift to present to your host or hostess at the start of the party.
Hostess wouldn't drop any hints?
Here are a few options that suit any occasion and any personality, and ensure you'll get a return invite in the future:
Rusted Roof Pottery Clay Ornament Trio Set | $37.10:
Does the host or hostess have children? Kids never tire of decorating the Christmas tree, and this trio of handmade clay ornaments is a welcome addition to any ornament collection. It’s the perfect finishing touch to a tree of any size.
SerendipiTea Spa Specific Sampler | $47.50:
Here’s a gift that keeps on giving: SerendipiTea’s Spa Specific Sampler will cure any holiday hangover with Zen, detox, and immune boosting blends to choose from (they’re also a visual delight). A selection of 6 different teas will leave your host happy with enough cups of tea to last through to the bitter end of the winter season.
Duane Patisserie Cookies | $52.35:
Here’s a little secret: for the host you may not know too well, these iconic New York travel poster-decorated cookies are a surefire way to win their heart. Wrapped in a tin and tied with a pretty satin bow, these intricately hand-painted pastries can be served to party guests or saved for Santa (lucky guy!).
Tom Stoenner Glass Champagne Glasses | $99:
With so much focus set on the holidays at hand, it’s easy to let New Year’s Eve fall off your host or hostess’ radar. Gift these hand-blown champagne glasses with your favorite bottle of champagne, and a note that encourages them to, “Keep the party going!”
Watson Woodworking Cherry Tray | $145:
Overstaying your welcome as an overnight guest this holiday season? The best way to end a holiday slumber party is to give your incredible hosts (yes, even if they’re your crazy aunt and uncle) breakfast in bed (figuratively, of course). Instead of wrapping this tray for under the tree, leave this gorgeous woodwork on your host or hostess’ kitchen counter with a budvase of a few flowers and a plate of breakfast items (we recommend Catskills Provisions’ Lumberjack Breakfast
) to help them start their day in a delicious way; your host will thank you for giving them one less meal to think about.