While any host will seem excited about receiving yet another bottle of wine, how many bottles does someone really want (trick question)? And once the bottle has been consumed, your thoughtfulness may be forgotten.
That's why we're all about gifts that can be immediately enjoyed but also keep on giving: Show up with pie, and leave the pretty pie pan. Bring flowers, but in a beautiful vase. We're entering the season of endless entertaining and we want you to be prepared. Here are 10 gift ideas that both guests and hosts will get behind:
For the food pun aficionado:
Bake a pie and leave the plate—really! It's rare that the best part of pie is the plate, but with these Hidden Quote Pie Plates, it's the truth. Each one has a little hidden message ("Plum Crazy," "Just Peachy," and "As American as Pie" being some of our personal favorites) that will bring an ear-to-ear smile to anyone digging in. Handed off to the new neighbors, or to the host who just had you over for barbecue, it's a very nice surprise once the pie's all gone.
For the flower child in your life:
When a full-fledged bouquet is out of reach, pick a daisy or forage for some flowering sprigs and place your treasures in an itty bitty bud vase. Set it on your coworker's desk for a birthday, or bring it to a build-your-own-burger party—this instant centerpiece lasts long after the flowers fade.
For the friend who owns every coffee gadget out there:
Left and right: Coffee Cold Brewer
Not every party can end with individually brewed espresso—and why bother, when it's hot out and all you want it something cool. Show up to a party with this classy glass pitcher filled with cold brew coffee (like Food52 favorite Magical Coffee) to serve during the dessert course. Add the grounds and water before you head out, let it steep in the fridge during dinner, pour a round, and then leave the pitcher with your host. Ina would be proud: Cold brew means more time with guests and less time brewing coffee to order.
For the bearded, craft beer-loving Brooklynite (or wannabe):
Left and right: Slip Cast Grigri Growler
There are better ways to say thanks than just showing up with a six-pack. Fill this ceramic growler with your host's favorite beer and leave it after you cheers; it's a gift that's infinitely more impressive—and useful—than six empty bottles. If that doesn't feel cool enough, take BYOB to the next level by actually bringing home-brewed beer.
For your one friend who still eats gluten:
Bringing a loaf of bread is a classy gift for any host—obviously when you accompany it with cheese, but especially when you slip it in a linen bread bag your host can keep. Take it to the next level by baking your own loaf, or simply pick up your favorite crusty bread and bring along a nice bread knife to leave behind as a gift. Bread making is all about the tools, after all.
For the light of your life:
Think beyond floral centerpieces and go candlelit. Anyone who shows up bearing candles (especailly unscented ones!) at a dinner party is a genius—they're conversation pieces, instant mood setters, and useful beacons in any centerpiece. Bringing a whole candelabra will score major points, but a bundle of bee’s wax beauties won't disappoint, either.
For anyone who's turning a year older:
You'll score big points by bringing a whole cake (homemade or not) to your next birthday celebration. But after the last piece is gone, keep the party going (at least for the person with the birthday) by leaving behind the portable box in which you brought the cake, a simple cake stand to set it up on—or both. Did I mention that my birthday is coming up?
For the person crazy enough to throw a pool party:
Left and right: Porcelain Gelato Bowls
Up the ante at your next pool party with these gelato cups and some homemade gelato to be scooped into them. It's just the right gift for small summer gatherings, since everyone likes ice cream, and the bowls can double afterwards as snack or condiment holders—a bag of chips and some homemade salsa to be served in these wouldn't be unwelcome, either.
For the multi-tasker who's proud of it:
Cake connoisseurs and flower-loving types—and especially those who are both—will be jazzed when they get this brilliant two-in-one cake stand and vase with either a cake up top or a bouquet of flowers tucked in. If your hostess can't slow her roll (bless multi-taskers), she can even serve a cake on the lid and decorate the table with with an arrangement using this gift that will forever work double time.
For outdoorsy folk:
When your hiking-obsessed friend is hosting a party, gift-giving can seem like an uphill climb (hiking boots? trail mix?). Don’t worry—we have you covered. Bring some cheese straws (or, okay, trail mix) on a rustic serving platter and let the leftovers double as hiking snacks. Or pack up a bunch of paninis in reusable sandwich wrappers, then cut them up into bite-sized pieces for the appetizers and leave the wrappers for your host to use on another outdoor adventures.
What are your favorite gifts that keep on giving? Tell us in the comments below!