When it comes to host and hostess gifts, you don’t want to go too flashy—simple, inexpensive, practical, and thoughtful (and preferably edible, drinkable, or used in tandem with food or beverages alcoholic or otherwise) is the way to go. Which is why so many people show up to parties and holiday dinners with a bottle of wine. It’s easy, it doesn’t break the bank, and it can often be used during the celebration.
But if you want to change things up—or if wine isn’t really their thing—there are plenty of ways to skip the traditional bottle of wine but still spend on a wine budget. The most expensive option on this list is only $16, and there’s something for everyone.
A Holiday-Themed Recipe Book
Whether the host you’re buying for is a baker or a cocktail maker, these recipe books are perfectly seasonal (they can even use them for their next soiree!) and will look great on their bar cart or in their kitchen.
An Ornament that Speaks to Their Personality
This handmade living air plant ornament is a thoughtful choice for the host with a green thumb, but if their interests are less botanical, there are plenty of unique and customizable ornaments available from sellers all over Etsy.
A Cheese Board They’ll Use at Every Party
For the host who agrees that it’s not a party without a great cheese selection, a slate cheese board like this one is a perfect option. Bonus: it comes with chalk, so they can write on it to label all their chosen cheeses.
A Pretty Dish
Sometimes the best pre-dinner treat is bread dipped in garlic oil, and this little dish makes it easy to prep and serve it all in one—perfect for a host who likes things easy and aesthetically pleasing. Garlic gets grated on the bottom of the dish, then all they have to do is pour in their favorite olive oil. And if they’re not into garlic, who doesn’t like having an extra, beautiful bowl around?
A Bottle Opener that Matches Their Decor
A bottle opener may seem too simple of a gift, but a beautifully-designed option like this brass one definitely ups the ante. It comes in two different gemstone color options—lapis (pictured above) and rose quartz—to match the host’s style.
Coffee That Tastes Like the Holiday Season
Coffee is just as nice—and practical—as the typical bottle of wine, and a flavored, seasonal coffee like this one is a great option for the holidays. The host can save it for themselves to enjoy the next morning, or brew it for a little post-dinner treat for themselves and their guests.
A Personalized Coffee Spoon to Make Them Smile
Speaking of coffee, a host who’s always caffeinating will love a hand stamped coffee spoon like this one. The one shown above is great for Harry Potter fans, but you can also order custom coffee spoons (like these, for $10.88) on Etsy as well.
Drinking Chocolate that will Make them Feel Fancy
Any host with a sweet tooth will appreciate these fancy—and almost deceptively inexpensive—seasonal flavored drinking chocolate spoons that easily melt into hot milk, coffee or regular hot cocoa.
A Decanter Any Whiskey Lover will Appreciate
If the host you’re buying for is more of a whiskey lover than a wine fan, a simple but beautiful decanter like this one, which features a wood stopper, makes a great gift option. Whiskey not included, but if you have the budget for it, feel free to include a bottle, too.
A Thoughtful Self-Care Treat
Hosting takes a toll on your hands—cooking, cleaning, serving; it’s a lot of hard work. A hand mask, like this one from Lush, will let the host know you appreciate the work they put in—and it’s so inexpensive, you can combine it with other gifts (even a bottle of wine, if you really must).