Twelve host and hostess gifts that will save you this holiday season

What to give someone before overstaying your welcome.

You’re a grown-up, so you know you should bring holiday hosts a nice gift. But that doesn’t mean you know what to buy them. Here’s an assortment of gifts for your host or hostess that might make up for all the mud you track into their house. Note: this article was originally published at this time last year. We’ve updated it to make sure the best products are represented.

An oil diffuser

Everybody wants their home to feel like a spa. Amazon

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This oil diffuser will fit in with pretty much anyone’s home decor and mask pretty much anyone’s weird smells. $20 on Amazon.

A cashmere throw

Winter is the snuggly season. Williams-Sonoma

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Aspire to be as warm, classy, and unassuming a houseguest as this beautiful blanket. $249 on Williams-Sonoma.

Hard alcohol

Simple vodka Simple vodka

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Look, maybe you know how difficult your presence is to tolerate. If you want to smooth things over with some serious libations, Simple Vodka is a nice choice; the bottles are super sleek and gift-able, the booze is sustainably made, and the company uses proceeds to provide 20 meals to those in need for every bottle. Talk about holiday spirit(s)! $27.

Pickles every month

Who doesn’t love pickles? Mouth

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Pickles.Every.Month.

Never-ending Succulent box

Cratejoy Cratejoy

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Thanks to the magical trend of subscription boxes, you can send your delightful host succulents every dang month. They’ll scoff the next time someone shows up with one measly house plant. $5.

Candles all year

Burn, baby, burn. Cratejoy

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Tired: giving your host a candle.

Wired: giving your host a candle subscription.

The Monthly Burn box starts at $20 on Cratejoy.

Well, this is awkward. But look, a Popular Science subscription is just $8 (in print or Kindle edition). That’s a small price to pay for four issues of mind-blowing science and tech articles a year.

Coasters

Don’t you dare leave a ring on their credenza.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good coffee table must be in want of some coasters. And, let’s be real, even your most super duper responsible adult friends might still be letting guests set their glasses on the furniture unprotected. A set of classy coasters says “I care for your furniture as if it were my own.” These start at $15 for a pair on Etsy.

Build a terrarium

Do it your own dang self. West Elm

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It’s not rocket science: Buy a pretty container, load it up with dirt and activated charcoal, plant some succulents, throw in a decorative rock or twelve, and you’ve got yourself a gorgeous terrarium. You can always buy a glass bowl at your local craft store, but to make your host gift a little classier start with something like this planter from West Elm. Starting at $44.

Chocolates

DUH. Recchiuti

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Recchiuti Confections’s Black Box has been voted best chocolate box by The Wirecutter By The New York Times two years running. It looks classy and tastes good, and your hosts will probably open the box while you’re still visiting. Everybody wins. $48 from Recchiuti.

Fancy treats

Or you could eat them all on the drive. Mouth Foods

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The best guest bring snacks. There’s just one question: are you a great guest or the greatest guest? Starting at $87 on Mouth Foods.

Bugs

Not slimy. Definitely satisfying. Amazon

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If your friends seem way too down-to-earth for a fancy gift basket, consider getting them to eat some bugs. It’s hella good for the environment (and super tasty), but the real draw of this particular gift is that you’ll probably end up eating them together (built-in party activity!) and talking about it for hours afterwards. Snag some Cricket Chirps for $20 on Amazon.

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Rachel Feltman
Rachel Feltman

is the Executive Editor of Popular Science and the host of the podcast The Weirdest Thing I Learned This Week. She's an alum of Simon's Rock and NYU's Science, Health, and Environmental Reporting program. Rachel previously worked at Quartz and The Washington Post. Contact the author here.