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The Gifts Your Dinner Party Host Actually Wants

These gifts are sure to secure your invite to their next soirée

A collage of gifts including salt and pepper shakers, a candle that looks like buttered toast, cloth napkins, salad servers, a butter dish, and a chopstick rest that resembles mochi. Lille Allen/Eater

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A good host is always thinking of others, whether it’s by making guests feel welcome, accommodating everyone’s diets, or setting an Instagram-worthy tablescape to make the night feel extra special. But the holiday season is an opportunity to flip the script and show the host you’re thinking of them, too. Bringing them a gift is the cardinal way to thank the host for all their thoughtful work. The only question remains: what to give?

For those who delight in trotting out their special dinnerware for guests, there’s a world of creative and whimsical gifts out there, even if it seems like they already have the entire CB2 catalog. And if that is the case, this just means you, as the gift-giver, can allow them to indulge in the things they typically would not. Take, for instance, a disco-ball-turned serving plate, bok-choy-shaped chopstick rests, cubist candle holders, or even a candle disguised as buttered toast. Not only do these playful takes on essentials inspire joy, but they’re also sure to be conversation starters for future gatherings. And, as the bestower of the new treasured piece, you just might secure yourself the invite for the next one.

A set of wavy wooden serving utensils

A friendly set of serving spoons

These wavy, wooden spoons are, as their name suggests, perfect for serving friends. From designer Selena Liu, the Serving Friends spoons come in three styles — flowers, wavy, and hands — but each brings fun delight to the table. Plus, salad servers are a particularly handy gift for hosts.

Black ceramic plates in an amorphous shape

A set of sleek and seductive plates

The sleek, matte-glazed finish and uneven texture of these dishes make for a striking set to eat off of or a statement centerpiece. Either way, they make sophistication just a tad bit edgier.

a disco ball-shaped serving tray

A party-worthy platter

A party isn’t complete without a disco ball. Luckily, this serving tray from Kailo Chic brings that dazzling effect without having to hammer anything into the ceiling. With groovy indentations to mimic a ball and a reflective surface, the platter adds some festive cheer, fitting for any special occasion.

A set of colorful, abstract napkins

Some abstract napkins

For those who love all things bold and bright, this napkin set from Cold Picnic is a no-brainer. Full of abstract shapes and color, they’re sure to liven up the tablescape. Plus, they’re made sustainably with Oeko-Tex-approved fabric.

an array of food-shaped chopstick rests

Some adorable chopstick rests

Swooning will abound once people get a look at these adorable foodlike chopstick rests. Wing On Wo & Co. and Mogutable offer everything from bok choy and dumplings to onigiri and xiao long baos. Since they’re wallet friendly, get a few and make it a charming set.

Metal spiral coasters

Coasters to set the table

Earlier this year, buzzy tableware designer Sophie Lou Jacobsen released her first metalware collection, fittingly titled “Setting the Table.” The metallic swirls are a touch whimsical while getting in on the stainless steel trend. They make a perfect match for a host who’s always up on the latest design drops.

Black and white wooden salt and pepper grinders

Wacky salt and pepper grinders

Homeware brand Dusen Dusen knows how to entertain. Its online shop is a wacky world of patterned decor, including this new, limited-edition set of salt and pepper grinders. At once functional and decorative, it’s the best of both worlds.

A glass cake stand

A colorful cake stand

This cake stand from Anthropologie puts a slightly more colorful spin on the traditional ones. Whether it’s used to elevate dessert or add levels to a tablescape, the stand makes for a cheerful addition to a host’s tableware collection. If it’s in the budget, mix and match it with a glass dome for beautifully contrasting colors.

scalloped placemats

Some scalloped placemats

Those who like to entertain likely appreciate a good placemat. La Double J’s set of two puts a romantic spin on them with scalloped edging and bright hues. Keep them monochrome or pair different colors for an intimate gathering.

A candle that looks like buttered toast candle

A candle that looks like buttered toast

Inedible objects that look like food never fail to impress. From Collin Garrity, this buttered-toast candle is stoneware molded to look like toasted bread that surrounds a butter-shaped candle. It’s probably the next best thing to sliced bread — or at least it looks like it is.

A ceramic mug with rock motif

A mug that rocks

This speckled clay mug with protruding “rocks” from Utility Objects is oversized, sturdy, and uniquely intriguing. When the host unwraps it, be sure to let them know those protrusions are actually recycled clay fragments reshaped into conglomerate rocks.

A ceramic butter dish

A butter dish that steals the show

London-based Emma de Clercq hand-makes ceramics through her studio, Brutes Ceramics. Her textured, geometric butter dish draws the eye with its abstract motif, pops of color, and clean design. It doesn’t hurt, of course, to have an excuse to add more butter to a dish. Now it’ll be the perfect temperature for spreading.

Kelly Pau is a culture and design writer whose work has been featured in Salon, The Cut, Vox and more.

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