12 Gifts Perfect for Party Hosts Slideshow
November 30, 2011
2. Hammered Glass Cake Plate
It's the kind of plate that can elevate a plain chocolate cake into a dessert that is sure to turn eyes. The edges of this sleek, sturdy, 13-inch glass plate from Annieglass are hammered to form jagged edges and painted with 24-karat gold, creating a stunning design that is evocative of a tree trunk. The sleek lines are timelessly modern, but with a bit of sparkle to catch the eye. It's the perfect statement piece to use for birthdays and holidays for years to come. $399.
3. Chalkboard Wineglasses and Carafe
Whether you're a host or a guest, keeping track of your wineglass amongst the sea of other seemingly identical glasses over the course of a night can be a challenge. If only you could write your name on your glass, kind of like they do at Starbucks when you order your triple grande hazelnut latte, right?
Now you can, thanks to Chalkboard China. The base of each stem is finished with chalk-friendly slate so each guest can personalize their own glass no wine charms needed and no mistakenly downing the last of that beloved red wine (belonging to someone else). They also make a coordinating carafe, so you know which is the kids' juice and which is the booze. Glasses, $19.95 each; carafe $39.
4. River Rock Place Mats
It's a place mat with a statement. Gone are those fabric- or plastic-coated mats of yore — say hello to place mats that fulfill both form and function. Made of hand-gathered smooth river rock, these 14-by-20-inch mats from Vivaterra come in an array of variegated colors and provide an unusual addition to the dinner table. $59 for four.
6. Italian Linen Napkins
There is something to be said about the understated elegance of these large, 100 percent cotton, Italian linen napkins that are at once both casual and formal. Inspired by Juliska's timeless berry and thread pattern, the napkins serve a multitude of purposes, from casual to special occasions, depending on whether you leave them to take on a relaxed wrinkle when air-dried or iron them to a crisp finish. They're a staple to have when entertaining. Each square is finished with a hemstitched border accented with hand-embroidered brown berry details and only grows softer with each washing. $32 each.
7. Reusable and Recyclable Cocktail Napkins
A stylish cocktail napkin that is as soft as linen, yet also so reasonably priced that you don't have to feel guilty about throwing the napkin away when it's stained with wine? It does exist.
Each roll of MYDrap cocktail napkins contains 50 squares, sized approximately 4.3-inches square perfect for serving nearly any party snack. Each can be laundered up to six times before being disposed of, and are made of recyclable, biodegradable materials. And with an array of more than 13 colors, there is a shade for nearly any party. $25 per roll.
8. Hand-Shaped Serving Utensils
They're the kind of thing you want to have on hand for any dish that is best served by dunking all 10 fingers into the bowl. Made by hand from a solid piece of eco-friendly acacia wood, these serving utensils from At West End function like a hand would, yet are a stylish, rustic (and slightly more hygienic) alternative to the traditional salad tongs or pasta servers. They're suitable for a variety of hosts, from the recent grad outfitting their first apartment to the experienced host who appears to have it all. $15.
9. Petrified Wood Serving Board
When cocktail parties are your specialty, having a variety of trays and boards in an assortment of shapes and sizes for serving is a plus for any host. From serving a wedge of Humboldt fog with dried fruits and crackers to a spread of one-bite tarts, this slice of polished, petrified wood from Anthropologie lends a touch of the unexpected to any party. About 12-inches in diameter, each board varies in size, shape, and color and makes for a unique alternative to the conventional tray. $148.
10. Jacquard Tablecloth
It's the kind of tablecloth that is sure to stand the test of time, be it the blinding harness of summer sun or the daily wear and tear its subject to as the covering for the family table. Inspired by the architectural details of Rajasthan, India, this jacquard tablecloth in rich pomegranate and curry hues from Le Jacquard Francais instantly upgrades the look of any table without limits on when it can be used or what it can be used with and is suitable enough to pass down from generation to generation. $425 for 69-by-126-inch cloth (shown at left in Rajastan pattern in Curry).
11. Bud Vases
No gathering, be it breakfast for two served on a tray in bed, or a celebratory meal with friends around the dinner table, is complete without a little color from a sprig of greenery or a single flower. These hand-blown glass vases from the master artisans at Simon Pearce are perfect for arranging in groups to create a larger mass of color fit for a large table, and also interesting enough on their own with a single stem. The vases come in an array of sizes, from 4 inches tall to 11 inches, and can be custom engraved with a name, date, or message. $65 for a 4-inch vase.
12. Flourish Table Wrapper
When young kids are sharing the table with adults, it's wise to give them something to do while the adults chatter, be it a small game or a jar of crayons for doodling. Instead of buying extra coloring books (which you know they'll only color off the side of the page and onto your linen cloth), set the table using these elegant table wrappers from Cake Vintage.
Decorated with a curlicue design, each 32-inch wide roll is stylish enough for an adult gathering, yet also durable enough to resist kids drawing and splattering food. Plus, they are an eco-friendly, inexpensive alternative to traditional tablecloths to save the surface of your table from mealtime wear and tear without filling up your laundry basket. It also doubles as gift wrap, or as a stylish covering for a bouquet of flowers. $32 for one roll.
1. Vintage Napkin Rings
Napkin rings can be kind of boring, as there never is a story to tell about them or a meaning behind them. They're usually themed toward whatever sort of get-together you're hosting, be it a holiday brunch or festive meal, and aren't always timeless.
These classic vintage silver-plate napkin rings from Cake Vintage, fashioned out of mismatched silverware, have changed the game. They come in sets of four and you never know what sorts of patterns you'll get, as each set is hand-picked. Use them the next time you host a dinner party and make them a conversation piece say, "Now Chris, tell us about the story of your napkin ring." $34 for set of four.
5. Beech Wood Votive Holders
Whether you're hosting a casual dinner around the kitchen table or are venturing off for an outdoor picnic at dusk, candles are an essential part of any get-together where food and drink are involved.
When lanterns and candlesticks are too unwieldy to use, this set of five handcrafted beech wood tea light votives from Teroforma is sure to come in handy. Along with a snuffer, the set comes smartly packaged in an easily totable design that you can fit in your picnic basket or side table drawer and is finished with a flame-resistant lacquer — all you need are some votives. $50.