21 Best Holiday Gifts for the Host
The most delicious, tasteful and thoughtful presents for your fave foodie host.
The holidays bring the delicious promise of gathering with friends and family. But you know you can’t show up empty-handed. From the aesthete who lives for functional, food inspired décor to the one with the biggest sweet tooth, we’ve got your holiday host gift giving covered.
The beautiful gift box includes a half pound each of four varieties of organic, California-grown dates, plus five exclusive Date Flight recipes delivered to your inbox. The line-up features Medjool, a prime varietal fit for royalty; Zahidi, a rich, nutty number that’s ideal for baking; Halawy, a firm and chewy date with thick but soft flesh that Magic Dates founder Diana Jarrar calls “a butter-pecan pie in one bite”; and Barhi, a soft and chewy crowd-pleaser. Plus, 5% of proceeds benefit the Karam Foundation, a non-profit helping to build a better future for refugee youth.
For an inviting scent that won’t clash with whatever wonderful meal is cooking in the kitchen, give your host Dinner Party, the candle that’s “always invited” – and for good reason. Created by the dinner party experts at Big Night, a Brooklyn-based boutique that curates top-notch pantry ingredients, unique beverages and a collection of fun, but not too fussy, dining ware, this candle is designed to pair perfectly with any delicious gathering. Set the right mood with an aromatic blend of fresh arugula, basil, and lemongrass, balanced with amber, saffron and musky wood. Trust us, this candle has personality, without taking over the whole conversation.
Peanut brittle trumps peppermint bark in our book, and no one does it better than renowned Virginia-based peanut company Hubs. Their peanut brittle strikes the right balance of toasty peanuts to sweet candy flavor, with a delicate crunch that’s the result of a finely honed process of stirring techniques and just-right temperatures. The brand turns out all kinds of signature treats, so if your recipient’s tastes skew more savory, opt for the Happy Hour Mix, anchored by a duo of salted and honey-kissed peanuts.
Cheryl’s is synonymous with crave-able cookies, and their vegan sampler is no exception. Whether your recipient is vegan or not, each of the flavors delivers on a pleasant chewy-to-soft ratio. The cookie line-up includes frosted cut-outs, chocolate chip, marshmallow, chocolate chunk, and sugar, each wrapped individually for guaranteed freshness. The giftbox is done up in a pretty bow, so no wrapping required.
For a sweet-savory gift with seasonal flair, look no further than Harry & David. We can’t get enough of their perfect pears, which are a gift all their own, but this box also comes with crowd-pleasers such as a block of sharp white cheddar and bag of mixed nuts. It’s got everything you need to make an appealing snack board, so we wouldn’t blame you for adding one to your own cart, too.
The fan-favorite Asheville based pottery company recently extended its popular The Mug line with small and big versions. We’re partial to the small (as is most of the East Fork team)—it’s the perfect size for sipping coffee that’s guaranteed to stay hot and ideal for a spot of afternoon tea or fireside hot chocolate. As with the original, The Small Mug is Aeropress friendly, dishwasher and microwave safe, 100 percent lead-free and made with regional materials. Make it a set and buy a pair of mugs, or couple a small mug with a cake plate for a teacup-and-saucer inspired gift.
Lyre’s is proof that tasteful tipples don’t always have to include booze. The Aperitif Rosso bottles the essence of an aromatic vermouth Rosso, but with a distinct spin. The balanced flavor profile features prominent notes of blood orange and vanilla, with a trio of caramel, citrus pith and cacao rounding out the mix. You can sip it neat or on the rocks, or try pairing it with Lyre’s Italian Orange and tonic water for a spot-on, non-alcoholic Americano.
Runamok has earned a following for their Vermont maple syrups, but their Sparkle Syrup shines brightest. It’s infused with pearlescent mica (edible glitter) to create a sparkly syrup that adds a dose of magic to every bite. Pair with your favorite pancake and waffle mix for a memorable host gift that keeps on giving. Or up the ante with Runamok’s all-new holiday cocktail gift box (launching November 1), which includes a bottle of sparkly maple syrup, a bottle of Maple Old Fashioned mix and a bottle of orange bitters, which mingles orange aromatics with a subtle maple base.
Replenish your favorite host’s pantry with a duo of extra virgin olive oils from Graza. Both oils are made with Spanish Picual olives; sizzle works best for high-heat cooking such as searing, baking, roasting and frying, while drizzle makes an ideal finishing oil for salads, pasta dishes and ice cream (trust us). The olive oils are packaged in a squeeze bottle that makes for mess-free pouring and chef-worthy finishing. You can stock your own pantry at select Whole Foods across the Northeast and Southern California.
The LA-based chocolate company Compartés turns out a treasure trove of giftable goodies, from chocolate bars to truffles to chocolate-dipped dried fruit. We can’t get enough of the beautifully packaged premium bars in creative flavor combinations. It’s too hard to pick favorites, so opt for the limited-edition Los Angeles Chocolate Bar Gift Set. It comes with four of their most popular flavors, including Donuts & Coffee, Potato Chip Crisp, Strawberry Shortcake, and California Dreaming (dark chocolate brownie), all tucked into a stunning illustrated gift box.
Wax Buffalo’s line of cocktail-inspired soy candles makes an ideal gift for the cocktail lover in your life. The products’ scents are inspired by a range of drinks, like the fan-favorite Mimosa, with notes of lemon, mandarin, orange and bubbly, or the moody Whiskey, redolent of coconut, cognac, ginger, musk, patchouli, and mulled spice. For a wild-card pick, opt for the Absinthe-inspired number, starring a heady blend of anise, palo, lemon, tonka, cardamom, tea and saffron. The small-batch candles are poured into clear, reusable whiskey tumblers, making it a stylish gift that’s doubly functional.
Rifle Paper’s whimsical prints and floral patterns grace everything from tea towels to coasters to notecards, but this season we’re totally smitten by their wall calendars. The fruit stand version features 12 beautiful, fruity illustrations, such as a charming fruit stand for March, succulent peaches for June and a basket of gleaming apples for September. The calendar’s spiral binding is chic and functional, with a center notch that makes hanging a breeze. Pair with a beautiful notecard and a thoughtfully penned thank you for an extra memorable touch.
This gift set is perfect for your bestie who abides by a breakfast of champions ethos or the host who needs extra incentive to get out of bed in the morning. It features three products from women-owned companies, including a bottle of Dona Masala Chai Concentrate, which makes for a spice-forward, not-too-sweet cup of chai, Zero Waste Chai Spice Dust and small-batch chai streusel granola from Jamie’s Farm. Or purchase the masala chai separately and gift with a cute cup or travel mug. For every order of masala chai, Dona gives $1 to Chhaya Development Corporation, which works to build housing stability and economic well-being of South Asian and Indo-Caribbean communities in New York City.
Seattle Chocolate’s two-bite truffles are a year-round mainstay but look for seasonal mixes and clever packaging for an especially giftable goody for the chocolate lover in your life. The “It’s Chocolate Weather” bag includes an assortment of cozy and classic flavors, such as malted milk ball (so, so good), dark chocolate, dark sea salt and peanut butter. Seasonal truffle gift boxes are available too, featuring a sampling of signature two-bite truffle flavors packaged in a box illustrated with cute Pacific Northwest fauna outfitted in snuggly knitted garb.
This assortment of gourmet snacks makes for the kind of host gift that’ll ensure you get invited back next year. The line-up skews savory (which will probably be a welcome reprieve from the holiday sugar rush), including white cheddar popcorn from lauded Asheville company Poppy Handcrafted Popcorn, top-notch potato chips from Billy Goat Chip Co., sea-salt-and-pepper pistachios from the Gilded Nut Snack Co., irresistible vegan cheddar crackers made by Green Mustache and a bag of cookies from Mouth’s own line, such as pistachio shortbread of chocolate sables.
For the host who fancies themselves an oenophile or happy hour opportunist, these wine-inspired soaps extend their appreciation from the wine glass to the bathtub. Heather Swanepoel crafts her all-natural, handmade vegan soaps using a blend of coconut, olive and sunflower oils, cocoa butter, and complementary scents and oils derived from tasting notes found in popular red and white wines. For example, citrus for a chardonnay-inspired soap, or berries, plums and apples for a pinot noir-esque bar. The set of four soaps look as pretty as they smell, too.
Whimsical kitchen towels never go out of style, and we love the seasonal ones dreamt up at MacKenzie Childs. For the holidays, our pick is this Nutcracker design that was inspired by the namesake ballet. The 100 percent cotton dish towel features a colorful nutcracker in festive holiday attire, plus the brand logo and candy-cane inspired trim. Buy two to make it a set.
Confectionary shop Le Parfait Paris was originally founded in San Diego by a Parisian couple, but happily their delectable treats are available for nationwide shipping. We love these diminutive French confections, which make for a gift that’s equal parts dessert and eye candy. The 12-pack includes an assortment of macarons ranging from traditionally inspired flavors such as Galaxie Chocolate to Sicilian Pistachio, to contemporary concoctions like s’mores and key lime pie. The naturally gluten-free treats are baked fresh daily and made from 100 percent natural ingredients.
Give the gift of liquid gold with Spicewalla’s trio of golden milk blends. There’s the original best-seller, a comforting blend of turmeric, ginger, nutmeg and roasted coriander, plus a chai spiced version that’s heady with cardamom and a mocha number augmented with luxurious Guittard cocoa. The vibrant yellow blends are as striking as they are delicious and guarantee comfort in a cup. The mixes are also great in baking (try a teaspoon in a batch of granola or banana bread) and cocktails (like a golden milk mocha riff on an espresso martini).
Holiday host gift giving doesn’t get more classic than a classy bottle of Champagne. Champagne Lallier’s R.018 is a crowd-pleasing bubbly that’s worth the splurge (without breaking the bank). It’s made with a blend of pinot noir and chardonnay and features citrus aromas on the nose, an undercurrent of white peach on the palate, and a clean, long finish with a touch of creaminess. This champagne makes a fine pairing with a crudité platter, to cut the richness of a cheese board of soft, creamy cheeses, or to open a meal and whet the appetite.
Red Clay is known for its award-winning hot sauces, but their line of spices also packs a flavorful punch guaranteed to zhuzh up any dish. We can’t pick just one, so opt for the Spice of Your Life Set, which showcases the company’s spicy Southern spin on classic blends, grilling seasonings and cocktail rimmers. The five different chef-crafted blends include Spicy Everything Salt (ideal for avocado toast and eggs), Spicy Barbecue Rub, Spicy Seafood Seasoning, Spicy Margarita Salt and Spicy Bloody Mary Salt (you’ll never drink one without it again).