Let's consider the attributes of a bottle of wine: It's tasty, it makes you feel warm and fuzzy, it's customizable to most any budget, it wraps nicely in a tea towel, and you can probably find a bottle of it on your way home from the office in your house.
But is wine really the best we can do for a host gift? Here at Food52 we're not afraid of going above and beyond, especially in this era of over-the-top entertaining. So we've rounded up some easy DIYs to thank your friends, the folks who invited you into their homes and fed you this season, more heartily. (Besides being cute and clever, they'll also not leave you with a headache or a wine ring on the coffee table.)
1. Dried Leaf Stationery
Pressing leaves takes just a few days (maybe you even have some stashed away in your books?). Punch a few tiny holes in set of note-sized card stock, slip the stems through, and you've got an instant set of homemade stationery—just be sure to make an extra to write your own thank-you note on one. Here's how!
2. Fragrances for Simmering
A bunch of eucalyptus leaves, woody herbs, ginger nubs, or flower petals can be used as all-natural room scents just by setting them on the stove in water and simmering them. Bring them to your host tied in twine with instructions, and the next morning's clean up will be a lot more refreshing.
Pick up an assortment of cups at your local thrift store to use, and then keep them on hand as gifts in case anyone drops by that you didn't expect to get a present from.
5. A Towel-Wrapped Cookbook
There really might be no better gift than a cookbook—though right you are that it isn't a DIY at all. But if you take the time to wrap it up nicely in a tea towel, we think that counts—and then you're actually giving a pair of gifts!
(We won't tell if your secret goal here is for the host to keep cooking for you.)