It’s always tough when your Thanksgiving host tells you not to worry about bringing anything for the meal. With stuffing and pumpkin pie out of the question, what can you bring as a token of gratitude? Forget standard run-of-the-mill host gifts like a jar of jam or Yankee candle–6sqft has rounded up some fun and affordable options that are unexpected yet surprisingly useful. From a clever wine tote made in Brooklyn to an adopted olive tree in Italy, here are our top ten hostess gift picks.
Chef, cookbook author, and visual artist Diana Kuan combined her passions into Plate & Pencil, a line of food-inspired designs for totes, tees, and home goods. Her “Love the Wine You’re With” wine tote is the perfect accessory for that bottle of Beaujolais you plan to bring to Thanksgiving dinner. Not only is it reasonably priced at $18.50, but each print is individually block printed right here in Brooklyn.
Budapest-based company Copypastry uses 3D printing to create custom cookie cutters that look just like a person’s face (how’s that for a personalized gift?) But before committing to this gift idea, be sure your host won’t find it creepy; if you think that’s a little extreme, the company also offers versions for pets, as well as for couples. Go one step further and use it to bake a batch of cookies; then tie the cutter on the cookie tin with some ribbon. Portrait and pet cutters start at $29.00 with a couple going up to $41.00
Sure, candles are perhaps the most standard hostess gift, but these creative versions add a bit of whimsy perfect for literature lovers. Created by soy candle company Paddywax, the Library Collection likens classic authors to a scent. Jane Austen is gardenia, tuberose and jasmine; Charles Dickens is tangerine, juniper, and clove; and Edgar Allen Poe is cardamom, absinthe, and sandalwood. Other available authors are Leo Tolstoy, Oscar Wilde, Mark Twain, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and John Steinbeck. The candles are $21 and their decorative boxes come with a quote from the author.
To mark the beginning of the holiday entertaining season, why not give your host a cheese board? Everyone (well, mostly everyone) loves cheese, and these rustic boards from Brooklyn Slate make the perfect backdrop for your charcuterie, baguette, and cheese. In addition to the cool appearance, slate lends itself to chalk, so you can write out exactly what you’re serving. The plain rectangle boards range from $28 for a 6-inch x 10-inch board to $46 for a 12-inch x 18-inch board. There’s also upgrades like monogrammed engraving, cheese knives, and actual cheese.
5. Mixology Dice ↑
‘Tis the season for a little imbibing. To make things exciting, consider this fun mixology dice set that yields a whopping 1.5 million flavor combinations. Each wooden dice is laser-engraved and features a spirit, sugar, liqueur, citrus, fruit, herb, spice, and/or bitter. There’s also (waterproof!) instructions that specify which dice to roll for certain types of drinks. The set’s available at Uncommon Goods for a very reasonable $24.
Here’s the perfect gift for the architecture or preservation nerd in your life. These four screen-printed hand-cut coasters line up vertically to create a tall rowhouse. Get them at Yardsale Press for just $20.
Regardless of your host’s preferred cuisine, he or she is going to need some salt. This $30 Himalayan Rock Salt and Grater Set from CB2 will get the job done and then some. The sophisticated design puts the pink block of salt on display atop a smooth beechwood pedestal, which also has a groove to fit the stainless steel Japanese micro grater.
Along the lines of salt, all chefs need a good bottle of olive oil, and one straight from Italy’s olive trees can’t be beat. Nudo works with eight olive groves across Le Marche, Sicily, and Liguria, each with their own distinct tasting notes. To adopt a tree, you can pick your grove and tree, and as part of the $77 gift, your host will receive a shipment of cold pressed extra virgin olive oil from the specific tree come spring.
Buying things like glasses or plates for a host can be tough if you’re not sure what they already have or their color scheme, but versatile storage containers are a great all-purpose option. This fun set of four from Fishs Eddy features their black-and-white New York City Skyline print and is an affordable $28.
10. City Tea Towels ↑
Tea towels are another kitchen accessary that you can never have enough of. Brooklyn-based illustrator Claudia Pearson has had her work published everywhere from the New York Times to Elle, but you can now hang a piece of her creativity in your own kitchen with her flour sack tea towels. They come in foodie-based graphics and city-specific designs, but we think the latter are a fun way to add a little flair to that boring old oven handle. And at $16 each, why not get two?
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