So you’ve been invited to a dinner party (or to brunch, or to spend the weekend). Great! Only question is what to bring? You could do a standard bottle of Veuve, but why not up the ante with a gift that everyone will remember? We asked some regular party attendees to let us in on the best hostess gifts: the coasters, candles, and basil plants they bring to parties — and get them invited back.
“Cocktail napkins are tiny and frivolous and something nobody would buy for themselves. (I only found out about these when I insanely thought I was getting a great deal on regular-sized linen napkins), but they’re great for hosting, when people have their fingertips all over greasy, nibbly bits. I love that these are a fun stand-alone multicolored palette, so you don’t have to worry too much about matching your host’s dishes or décor style.” — Hannah Morrill, writer and editor
“If I’m just showing up to a party, I’ll bring a bottle of Tito’s vodka, but if I’m a house guest staying for a little bit of time, I’ll up the ante with a Tom Dixon set of Moscow Mule cups with all the fixings — ginger beer, some lime juice, and candied ginger.” — Michael Krueger, Global PR, Mr Porter
Unfortunately this set is currently unavailable, but the Tom Dixon Shot Glasses & Measure Gift Set—in the same copper design—is available.
“I give gifts that I personally couldn’t live without. Something luxurious, not necessarily expensive, that I feel the host may not buy for themselves. The soap bars from Byredo are my go-to. From the packaging to the product itself, everything is flawless. Mojave Ghost and Bal d’Afrique are my favorites.” — Dane Charles, design director, D’AquinoMonaco
“I’ve been giving these out the past couple of months. They’re printed on beechwood and they’re really graphic and nicely made.” — Emmanuel Platt, Director of Merchandising at MoMA
“This bright-red flower print is my favorite from Marimekko. I usually see it as a tablecloth, but I love that it comes on a teapot.” — Wendy Goodman, New York design editor
“And if someone were to bring me a hostess gift, I would be so happy to be given even one plate from Astier de Villatte. Such a divine present, and I’d feel like a really lucky friend.” — Wendy Goodman
“People only buy bags of ice when they’re having a rager, but even if they’re just having people over for drinks I find that they run out all the time. I’d also get Lillet Blanc. Drink that on ice with a slice of lemon peel — it’s mad delicious. Such a good spring-summer drink.” — Jonah Reider, chef
“I just got my friend this candle, which basically means fire in the woods. It smells incredible and I would happily bring it to anyone’s house. If you’re really good friends you get the big one, and if you’re just chill you bring the small one.” — Brendan Fallis, DJ and entrepreneur
“Depending on the host, I think a properly rolled joint is a very nice gift. If not that, I usually go with incense. A bottle of Champagne is kind of played out, so it’s nice to bring something different and surprise them a bit.” — Chris Black, founder of Done to Death Projects and author of I Know You Think You Know It All
“I love to bring a plant because they’ll have it around for a long time and if you’re going to someone’s apartment it doesn’t have to be big. Bring a pot of basil and whenever they see it they’ll say, Oh, so-and-so gave it to me.” — Cornelia Guest, socialite and author of Cornelia Guest’s Simple Pleasures: Healthy Seasonal Cooking and Easy Entertaining
“In the summer I always do rosé. Clos Beyless is my favorite because it comes in a beautiful blue bottle, but it sells out fast, so I’ll usually get Whispering Angel. If it’s a close friend I’ll buy them a case.” — Ramona Singer, Real Housewives of New York
The Whispering Angel is currently unavailable, but here is a similar option.
“Now that it’s getting warmer I’ve been buying people baby pools to fill with water, ice, and drinks like beers, Champagne, and chilled wines. It works for rooftop parties, garden parties — we even put one in the house the other day. I’ve been getting funny ones depending on the person, but I’ll mostly stick to Hello Kitty.” — Naomi Shimada, model
Unfortunately this is sold out, but here is a great Hello Kitty Inflatable Play Center.