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Editor’s Picks: The Top 10 Gifts for People Who Live to Entertain (Including Lots of Under-$20 Options)

By Jess Novak
December 9, 2021
Image credit: Lindsey Engelken for Clean Plates

For those people in your life who always have their doors open to friends, family, friends of friends, random strays who don’t have anywhere else to go for Thanksgiving… these gifts are for them. Whether they always throw absolutely killer dinner parties or just love to have folks over for a super chill potluck, these gifts will resonate. They’re an ideal way to show the host-with-the-most in your life that you appreciate their hospitality and notice how much effort they always put in. 

1. An Exceptionally Nice Bottle of Olive Oil 

olive oil

Olive oil is a great present for someone who loves to cook — but it’s just as good for your favorite host. A remarkable bottle of olive oil can elevate so many dishes, including prepared foods: It can be drizzled over salads, fresh mozzarella, hummus, and soups. Toss a little great olive oil into a small dish with some chopped garlic, sea salt, and chili, and serve as a dipping oil for bread. I think this particular Italian olive oil is so incredibly delicious — and best of all, it’s a gift that you know will get enjoyed. 

Frascole Passatoio Olive Oil ($30, The Rare Wine Co)

2. A Classic Serving Bowl

white and terracotta serving bowl

Image credit: CB2

This serving bowl is perfect for side dishes at family-style gatherings, putting out snacks at a cocktail party, and it also works as a beautiful fruit bowl. The terracotta and white glaze is neutral and light, making it a solid bet for nearly any interior design sensibility. It’s simple, elegant, and inexpensive — making it an ideal option for holiday gifting.

Dolce White Serving Bowl ($15, CB2)

3. Caviar, Y’all


Image credit: Imperia Caviar

Is caviar inherently extra? It is. Is it the kind of thing that makes your recipient’s eyes just light up? Oh, yes. And while no one’s claiming that caviar is an inexpensive item, Imperia Caviar is a remarkable value: their product is incredibly high-quality and relatively low-priced. The Royal Ossetra — nutty, creamy, and a dreamy jade-green — is my absolute favorite. Caviar is also surprisingly healthy: it’s positively packed with vitamin B12, iron, and selenium. 

Imperia Caviar (from $169, Imperia Caviar)

4. Elegant, Reusable Cocktail Napkins

cocktail napkins

Image credit: Madewell

Made from hand-dyed cotton, these machine washable cocktail napkins are environmentally friendly and seriously chic. One of the problems with entertaining is that you so often end up going through a bunch of disposable items, which is not exactly great for the earth. One solution: gift items like these charming reusable cocktail napkins that can be tossed right in the wash rather than thrown out at the end of the night. 

Hawkins New York Reusable Essential Cocktail Napkins ($18 for four, Madewell)

5. A Raclette Set

raclette set

A raclette night is one of those incredibly relaxed dinner parties where the host just has to assemble ingredients, and people gather around and serve themselves. Similar to fondue, it’s a great party dish, but unlike fondue, everyone gets their own little tray for cheese, so you’re not all dipping into the same pot. Raclette, which this method of preparation is named after, is a semi-hard Swiss cheese that’s amazing when melted — but you can use whatever cheese you want for your raclette night. Basically, the host just sets out a bunch of items you can melt cheese onto. Traditionally, this involves meats and breads, but I’ve also enjoyed it with a healthier spread of blanched Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, and portobello mushrooms. It’s basically the easiest dinner party you can throw, and it’s beyond delicious. 

Swissmar Classic 8 Person Anthracite Raclette ($145, Amazon)

6. A Beautiful Serving Tray

serving platter

Image credit: Amazon

Anyone who loves to entertain enjoys having elegant, simple serving trays around. Personally, I often end up running out of them and just substituting my dinner plates. That’s where this white marble and acacia wood tray comes in: it’s a fantastic gift, and while it’s billed as a charcuterie tray, that doesn’t mean you have to limit yourself to meats and cheeses. This would be beautiful for serving crudités and a creamy white miso dip, for example.  

White Marble and Acacia Wood Charcuterie Tray ($36, Amazon)

7. A Good-Quality Wine Decanter

wine decanter

Image credit: Amazon

Paper-thin crystal is great for some situations, but if your guests are anything like mine, it can be nice to have a decanter that’s got a little more heft to it. Sturdy, solid, and unlikely to break, this decanter has a nice punt (which helps enable more thorough aeration), pours easily, and makes the dining table feel a little bit more elevated.

GoodGlassware Wine Decanter ($20, Amazon)

8. A Book on Entertaining (That’s Actually Entertaining)

arty parties book

Image credit: Amazon

Colorful, playful, and fun, Julia Sherman’s Arty Parties: An Entertaining Cookbook is an enjoyable read filled with great entertaining ideas and excellent, low-lift recipes (I’m a big fan of her Fluffy Butternut Squash Tahini Dip). It’s one of those books that makes you remember that nothing has to be perfect, and that getting together with friends can mean letting go and getting your hands dirty. 

Arty Parties: An Entertaining Cookbook ($30, Amazon)

9. A Sugar Cookie Baking Mix That’s Sugar-Free, GF, and Keto

sugar cookie baking mix

Image credit: Amazon

There’s nothing more nerve-wracking for a host than to discover that they have nothing on hand for someone whose dietary needs are different from their own. That’s why having this gluten-free, sugar-free, keto-friendly cookie mix on hand is such a good idea, and it’s a great gift for someone who has a lot of folks dropping in around the holidays. The mix comes together in minutes, and despite being seemingly no-everything, the cookies actually taste really good, too — promise. 

Good Dee’s Sugar-Free, Grain-Free, Keto-Friendly “Sugar Cookie” Baking Mix ($8, Amazon)

10. A Nugget Ice Maker

nugget ice maker

Image credit: Amazon

Ok, this is extremely spendy, but if you’re looking for an extra-dreamy gift for someone who loves entertaining, a nugget ice maker is seriously the ticket. Those crunchy little ice balls are so chewable, and they’re great for everything from cocktails to seafood platters. (For those of us who can’t begin to consider shelling out this much on an ice maker, I recommend these $8 silicone molds I bought a while ago that are considerably less luxurious but do the trick for a small amount of ice.) 

GE Opal Nugget Ice Maker ($450, Amazon)

Jess Novak is the Head of Content and Audience Development for Clean Plates. She’s obsessed with making meals that taste like they’re not healthy but secretly really are. You can follow her on Instagram @jtothenovak.

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