Nobody likes to walk into a party empty-handed — especially when it’s a party thrown by a fun and creative host! So as we enter prime cookout season with all of its many excuses to celebrate, here’s a list of gift ideas for your host that go beyond the standard (and perhaps predictable) bottle of wine.

Champagne Cork Safe

If your host is celebrating a special occasion like a housewarming or anniversary, a cork safe is a great gift to pair with his or her favorite bottle of bubbles. A cork safe turns the night’s champagne cork into a sentimental keepsake that your host can display with the date and description of the event.

Homemade Gifts

DIY gifts are a thoughtful and fun way to surprise your host. Whether it’s a customized illustration, a homemade candle, or a batch of soaps or baked goods, giving a homemade gift requires time and effort and shows you care.

Breakfast the Next Day

Donuts Gift If you’ve ever hosted a party that went late into the night, you might know first-hand how nice it is to have a yummy breakfast ready and waiting for you in the morning that requires little to no effort. For that reason, breakfast items for the next day (bagels, donuts, muffins, homemade breads and jams) are a helpful treat to offer your host.

An Experience

What do you get for the host that has everything? Try an experience that your host would enjoy like a Virginia wine pass or a tour of Virginia’s renowned vineyards, a spa treatment, yoga gift certificate, or tickets to an upcoming film.

Pet Gifts

If your host has a soft spot for their cat or dog, a pet-centered gift could instantly win his or her heart. For inspiration, check out Martha Stewart’s 30 Gifts that Pets and Pet Lovers will Pawsitively Love.

Essential Oil Diffuser

As we noted in our Tips for a Healthier, Greener Home, just a few drops of essential oils in a diffuser can provide a natural, healthy alternative to synthetic home fragrances. For that reason, a diffuser/essential oil combo makes a great gift for a host that’s looking to go greener at home.

Chalkboard Coasters

A quick Etsy search yields countless cool coaster designs. But what’s better than a cocktail surface that’s cool-looking and multifunctional? Chalkboard coasters don’t just offer a stylish way for your host to protect his or her tables and surfaces, but they provide entertainment — guests can decorate, doodle, and write each other messages on them. Bonus points if you inspire a game or two of tic tac toe. Related tip: you can purchase chalkboard or slate coasters from various retailers or you can make them yourself  by covering wooden or stone coasters with chalkboard paint.

A High-Quality Household Staple

Olive Oil Gift Everyone has their standard pantry or household staples like olive oil, balsamic vinegar, soaps, laundry detergent, coffee or tea. But we don’t always splurge on the higher end, fancier versions for ourselves. For that reason, a higher-end household staple makes a great gift! Try switching out your go-to bottle of wine and offer your host a really good bottle of olive oil, instead.

Custom Return Address Stamp

Does your host have an affinity for snail mail? Consider designing him or her a custom self-address stamp to make their letter writing easier and more stylish (or to insert a little bit of creativity into their bill paying).

Coffee Table Book

Is your host passionate about a particular artistic genre, historical era or any other topic? Pick up a good book so your host can read up on the subject or display it at home, “coffee table book”-style. If you need ideas, take a look at New York Magazine’s list of 30 most “giftable” coffee table books.



Have your own suggestions for unexpected host gifts? Tweet them at us and we’ll update this post with tips from our readers!