gifts

48 Gifts for Every Type of Host

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photos: Retailers

Jump to section

Whether you’re headed to a dinner party at a friend’s house or departing for a long overdue visit to see family, it’s always hard to figure out what gift to give a host. You’ll want to present something more unexpected than a bottle of wine but not so atypical that it risks living in that closet with all the other stuff they never use. And it shouldn’t be too unwieldy or fragile to travel, whether you’re taking a quick subway ride or a cross-country flight. To help you find the right gift for whatever host you might be thanking, I’ve rounded up 48 practical, unexpected, and all-around highly giftable ideas — some of which are expert-recommended, too. They include a splurge-y sous vide, spicy pickled peppers, and a range of price points in between, any of which would definitely be appreciated (even if your hosts insist you needn’t bring anything but yourself).

Gifts $25 and under

For the host with a formal powder room

A stack of these mini hand towels printed with Marimekko’s signature floral design would add an extra-festive touch to your host’s powder room.

For the host with a membership to the Met

These Matisse-printed cocktail napkins are like little pieces of art, a detail your assiduous host will appreciate.

For the host with the expensive cold-brew habit

Hario Cold-Brew Bottle
From $24
From $24

Now they can save a few bucks and make their own at home (and serve it to guests, too) with this cold-brew press that Michael Phillips, global director of education and engagement at Blue Bottle Coffee, says “lands squarely in the middle of the Venn diagram of coffee function, ease of use, and good design.”

For the host who prefers a strong cuppa

This glass teapot from the same Japanese maker as above has a delicate, minimalist design and comes with a roomy basket strainer. This one is sized for one person.

For the host who won’t let you help clean up

From $18 for 3

If they always shut down your attempts to help tidy, get them a tool that is sure to ease the task. According to contributor Ashlea Halpern, the first person to tip us off to Swedish dishcloths, the reusable, super-absorbent cloths are basically a better paper towel. “I use them to do nearly everything I once did with a paper towel,” she says, including “wipe down granite countertops, stainless-steel appliances, and streak-prone cooktops.”

For the host who doesn’t have a dishwasher

I gave up traditional sponges for these highly effective sparkly dish scrubbers, which are a popular gift among Korean ajummas (a.k.a. aunties). Not only are they fun to look at, they’re reusable, dry fast, and don’t get grimy or germ-y.

For the host who knows Catan isn’t a good idea

$49

While board games can be a great idea for parties, it’s important to choose the right one. According to the experts we polled about the best party games, Monikers emerged as a top pick, especially for large groups, because it’s got fun graphics and is easy to learn. As Dylan Speed of Meeple Mountain explains, “Over three rounds that allow progressively fewer words — from unlimited, to one, to none (charades) — everyone will shout and laugh their way through an evening of making nonsense and new inside jokes.”

For the host who likes candles for the ambiance, not the smell

Beeswax tapers are an elegant, no-scent way to instantly up the mood at the dining table, and these from Bluecorn are great for bulk-buying and happen to be expert-approved, too.

Pair the tapers with this ceramic holder that I recently received as a housewarming gift. I love the speckled glaze and the fact that the base acts as a receptacle for matchbooks — or other tchotchkes.

For the host who loves a trompe l’oeil

These fruit-shaped candles made from soy wax also happen to be scentless — and would look delightful among a full banquet spread of real desserts and other trifles.

For the host who grills all year long

Philadelphia-based restaurant Laser Wolf uses these Thai-style Binchotan charcoal blocks, which are known to burn hotter and longer than traditional lumps of coal.

For the host known for their homemade desserts

They can make their own vanilla extract using these bean pods from Madagascar.

For the host known for their charcuterie boards

Matiz Piparra Peppers
$7
$7

These small, spicy peppers are a favorite of Laila Gohar, a food artist and the founder of Gohar World: “They’re spicy and briny and add a nice bite to a lot of dishes,” she says. “I just like to nibble on them plain, too.”

For the host with the fully stocked bar

The NoMad Cocktail Book
$19
$19

This cocktail-focused tome is written by spirit legend Leo Robitschek, the bar director at the NoMad Bar (and Eleven Madison Park). It has nearly 300 recipes, dozens of illustrations, and an in-depth service manual.

For the host who keeps their vermouth in the fridge

They might not let you in on their secret martini recipe, but after receiving these whimsical cocktail picks, they might be a bit more amenable to sharing a hint or two.

For the host who’s an umami fiend

Queer Eye’s Antoni Porowski told us this black garlic salt is “freaking delicious,” and we’re just going to leave it at that.

For the host who hosts a lot

Here’s a host gift that will actually come in handy while hosting. Former Vogue fashion director Tonne Goodman, who is now the magazine’s sustainability editor, first told us about these cotton cocktail napkins that conveniently come in a roll. She discovered them in Paris and has been re-ordering them ever since. “They’re the simplest solution to the tedious task of serving hors d’oeuvres,” she says, and “indispensable during the holidays.”

For the host who cooks a lot

Goodman also told us about this 20-ounce bucket of sea salt from Maldon that would make a delightful and highly useful gift for the consummate cook. “I gave it to my brother-in-law, who is a wonderful cook, and he laughed and loved it,” she said.

For the host whose cat hates you

Yeowww! Catnip Toy
$8
$8

Buy their affection (or at least neutrality) with this expert-recommended catnip toy, described as “the perfect shape” for cats to sniff, snuggle, and kick.

For the host whose dog loves you

Secure your friendship with your host’s pup by bringing this puzzle tree filled with six squeaky squirrels that dogs apparently go nuts for.

For the host who has a fancy soap collection

They’ll surely appreciate this Marie Antoinette–esque bar from historic American soap company Caswell-Massey. The brand’s floral-scented collection is also one of our favorite gifts that give back — every purchase supports the New York Botanical Garden.

For the host who collects cookbooks

Part manifesto and part cookbook, this new book from Bronx-based culinary collective Ghetto Gastro comprises a mix of photography, interviews, and 75 mostly plant-based recipes that celebrate Black food and culture.

Gifts $50 and under

For the host who always serves a casserole

This set of two oval baking dishes from French brad Staub transitions seamlessly from oven to table and looks stylish, too.

For the host who keeps a pristine kitchen

I use this mini wooden dustpan-and-brush set daily to clean up coffee grounds from my countertop, but it could also be used for gathering bread crumbs and other leftover food debris after a dinner party.

For the host with an involved hand-washing routine

Or try this earthy hand wash from Australian skin-care brand Aesop that has notes of vetiver root, petitgrain, and bergamot rind. It’s infused with finely milled pumice for gentle, aromatic exfoliation, and will turn their bathroom into one that’s reminiscent of a luxury hotel or spa.

For the host who forgets to moisturize afterward

This three-pack of L’Occitane’s best-selling shea-butter hand creams comes in a highly giftable box.

For the host whose coffee table comes with care instructions

These brightly colored wool coasters “both absorb and evaporate moisture and thus stay in perfect condition no matter how many drinks sweat on them,” says Strategist writer Emma Wartzman.

For the host who’s cutting their plastic habit

If they’d rather not reuse plastic takeout containers for food storage, consider this set of glass food containers from Pyrex that I’ve owned for over ten years and have given as a housewarming gift multiple times.

For the host who cuts their own flowers

This versatile stoneware pitcher can be used for drinks, as a vase for fresh-cute flowers, or as a kitchen-utensil holder.

For the host who nerds out about heat conduction

This flat-bottomed wok is perfect for standard stovetops, and Taylor Erkkinen, co-owner of the Brooklyn Kitchen cooking school, considers it a favorite. Made from carbon steel, it heats and cools quickly and has a 14-inch diameter that makes it ideal for both electric and gas ranges.

For the host who always throws movie night

Here’s an old-timey popcorn maker they can use to prepare snacks so that streaming on Netflix feels more like a real theatergoing experience. (If you really want to impress, throw in some of the seasoning author Jenny Han swears by for movie-style popcorn at home.)

Gifts $100 and under

For the host who prefers their coffee hot

If they like to prepare their coffee the traditional way, consider this stoneware French press that comes in the loveliest shade of pale lavender.

For the host who’s just getting into wine

These all-purpose, sommelier-approved wine glasses from Schott Zwiesel are sturdier than most, as the crystal is mixed with a trace amount of titanium, ensuring that even the most novice of oenophiles can feel confident swirling their cabernets.

For the stylish host

Aprons from Hedley and Bennett are a chef favorite for their durability and lifetime guarantee. They also come in a range of trendy colorways and patterns, at least one of which, like this handsome midnight-blue one, will be sure to please.

For the host who loves entertaining al fresco

From the makers of our favorite portable fire pit is this petite tabletop version that’s perfect for, among other things, roasting marshmallows for some non-camping s’mores action.

For the host with the hot tub

This is one of the fluffiest, most comfortable bathrobes out there, according to Strategist writer Ambar Pardilla, who goes “straight from wearing it to lotioning up without needing a towel to wipe away leftover water.” We imagine it would make a fantastic après-hot-tub robe as well.

For the host with a smoker

This penlike meat thermometer is app-enabled and has two sensors, one for internal temperature and one for the ambient temperature of the oven. It’s chef Tom Colicchio’s favorite meat thermometer, because according to him, he cooks “perfect meat every time” he uses it. His advice: “You can’t cook to time — you have to cook to temperature,” and this device lets you — or your host who loves to grill — do just that.

For the host who’s an (indoor) urban farmer

The AeroGarden is our best-in-class indoor garden kit; it’s low-maintenance and produces “a prodigious quantity of herbs,” per Strategist writer Erin Schwartz.

For the host who names all their houseplants

If they’re into houseplants, they’ll appreciate this brass watering can that looks good enough to leave out on the shelf.

For the host who’s over Diptyque

This D.S. & Durga candle is one of our favorites. The scent is inspired by “rainwater in eucalyptus groves off Highway 1.”

For the host who’s always breaking dishes

A cheery set of enameled splatterware nesting bowls that are basically indestructible and can be used for baking, serving, or displaying fresh (or fake) fruit.

For the host who just read the Bunny Mellon biography

Help them live out their 1960s Palm Beach dreams with these lettuceware plates made by Portuguese ceramics company Bordallo Pinheiro.

Gifts $150 and under

For the gadget-happy host

A sous vide machine, like this compact version of Anova’s best-selling counterpart, will level up your host’s culinary adventures.

For the host who finds beauty in imperfection

If they can’t stand to part with a beloved broken dish, this kintsugi kit comes with everything that’s required to repair it using the traditional Japanese art.

For the host who likes to tidy as they go

Nothing beats a hand vacuum for real-time, on-the-go cleaning, and this sleek number from Shark is our best-in-class pick for its light weight (1.5 pounds), efficiency, and 17-minute run time.

For the host whose couch you never want to leave

Creating a cozy atmosphere that guests don’t want to leave is a gift, and this wool throw blanket from Pendleton will only add to the hygge factor.

For the host with the impeccable floors

Keep their feet cozy with UGG’s shearling Coquettes, our top choice for the best women’s slippers. They’re thick, fluffy, and have a structured rubber sole, which provides enough support for standing at the stove for long periods of time as well as traction for wearing outside to run a quick errand.

The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

48 Gifts for Every Type of Host