We recently had a big group of friends over for a dinner party, and, to my surprise, one of our guests brought my favorite candy—Swedish-made salty licorice. I was delighted (and I got to keep it all to myself, since none of my family members like it). Yes, wine is always welcome, but here are a few unexpected gift ideas guaranteed to thrill the hard-working host.
To make sure we've got everyone on your list covered, we're posting a new gift guide every weekday from now until Christmas. See all of the Gift Guides to date in our archive.
Above: A reusable Maple Bottle Stop handmade in Cincinnati; $22 from Spartan of Austin, Texas.
Above: In Japan, the sea bream is associated with good fortune. Welcome Soap, made by a 120-year-old Tamanohada soap factory, is a good house gift. It has a brown sugar scent; $45 from Nannie Inez.
Above: Summon dinner guests by sounding this hand-made Dinner Bell with the tag line "Heed the Pavlovia call!" It's made from steel, leather, and brass by Brooklyn designer Pat Kim for Best Made Company: $50.
Above: Who can resist a cup of hot chocolate? From La Boîte à Epice, a New York spice lab founded by chef Lior Lev Sercarz, Reims N. 39 is a hot chocolate laced with honey, star anise, cinnamon, and ginger; $18 via Food52's shop Provisions.
Above: For drying wine glasses without leaving a trace of lint, these Belgian Linen Kitchen Towels are $25.95 each from Kaufmann Mercantile.
Above: A Small Lot Selections postal tube containing three sought-after coffees; $40 from Blue Bottle in San Francisco.
Above: Play pioneer indoors and outdoors with these 4-inch-tall Copper and Brass Handheld Lanterns hand-forged in Wisconsin (and ideal as a backup during blackouts); $24.90 each from Kaufmann Mercantile.
Are you hosting this year's holiday party and looking for table setting guidance? Check out our post Expert Advice: Setting a Table With Food 52.