Hostesses have it hard during the holidays — they cook, clean, entertain, serve and then get to clean all over again after the guests leave. And the toughest part? Being a great hostess means never letting anyone see you sweat. If the meat is dry, if the punch runs out, if the toilet gets clogged, it’s up to Super Hostess to reverse the damage and save the day … or more likely, the party. So pay your respects to that hard-working creature in the kitchen — bring a gift sure to make her smile and let her forget about that darn souffle that has yet to set.
Here are a few ideas for hostess gifts we found at some of our favorite Atlanta shops.
For the Dippers (and Double Dippers)
Food is always a great gift for the hostess with the mostess, so give a set of these delicious Fly by South dipping sauces, available at Atlanta MADE. These sauces are $10 per bottle and come in flavors like white BBQ sauce, spicy ghost dipping sauce and other yummy flavors.
For Those Who Like Foods that Look Like Other Foods
Cacao offers the most exquisite chocolates and confections for Atlantans to sink their teeth into — any hostess would be thrilled to receive something from this chocolatier. But instead of a box of chocolates or caramels, gift Salame di Ciccolato, $21.50 at the Buckhead location. This “salami” is Cacao’s interpretation of an Italian classic that rolls chocolate with shortbread and amaretti cookies, served sliced.
For Those Who Like to Stew
The holiday season is the perfect time for a piping hot bowl of comforting soup and hearty stew. Hostesses who prefer to craft their own steamy concoctions, instead of opening a premade can, will love the Seasonings for the Soul gift set, $11.95, from Savory Spice in Virginia-Highlands. The wooden box comes with three glass jars of various spice mixes perfect for creating the ideal bowl of soup.
For The Carnivorous Type
Showing up to someone’s house with a gift-wrapped T-bone ain’t too classy; showing up with a card letting them know you’ve ordered them prime meat selections from The Palm Atlanta is quite civilized. You can order Palm Paks, featuring New York strip steaks, filet mignon and rib-eye steaks or a combination of all three as a special sampler pack. Prices range from $205 to $440, depending on the cut and amount of meat you choose. Contact The Palm directly or order the Palm Paks through the online store. Make sure to check the website about potential shipping delays due to the busy holiday season.
For Those Who Can’t Stop Sniffing the Christmas Tree
You know that friend who CANNOT stop talking about the smell of a fresh Christmas tree or who gets a giddy high from all the aromatic cinnamon sticks in the house? OK, well maybe the hostess in your life isn’t that intense, but these Mama soap and candle sets, $25, are great gifts for anyone who ODs on holiday joy. These limited edition holiday scents include Merri-mint (peppermint), Sugar & Spice (clove, cinnamon, nutmeg) and O’Tannenbaum (fir, needle, rosemary).
For the Shake Enthusiasts
Shake Shack has taken Atlanta by storm and the shake-and-burger chain is offering something “cool” for hostesses with a fondness for sweet treats. Stop by the Buckhead location or order online Shake Shack’s holiday ornament, a wooden penguin with the company logo, $9, which comes packaged in a white box with a silver bow. Or you can always pick up a few gift cards with the ornament and let your hostess treat herself to a frosty snack, as well.
For the Tidy Set
There is nothing more frustrating for a hostess than seeing the icy punch you slaved over during the day sit in a glass, collecting the dreaded condensation that slowly drips on your walnut coffee table. Enter the beloved coaster! These adorable coasters, in sets of eight, from Hello Gorgeous! Boutique & Cafe in Chamblee, come in different styles and colors and cost $20.
For the Holiday Traditionalists
A yule log, or Buche de Noel, is a traditional holiday dessert meant to resemble a holiday log you might find in the forest as you search for the perfect Christmas tree. If you love the idea of giving this woodsy dessert, but are way too intimated to actually bake it, order the cake from Star Provisions. You can select from three sizes: the Full Buche (serves 18 to 20 people for $85), Half Buche (serves 8 to 10 people for $55) and Stump (pictured here, serving 10 to 12 people for $55). Full and Half Buche flavor options include chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream or vanilla cake with chocolate buttercream; stump flavor is offered as chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream. Note: Place your order by calling Star Provisions directly at (404) 365-0410, ext. 134, and expect a four-day turnaround.
For the “It’s Never Too Cold for Ice Cream” Supporters
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream has become somewhat of an institution here in Atlanta. With flavors like Ndali Estate Vanilla Bean, Salty Caramel and Milkiest Chocolate, any hostess with a sweet tooth will be glad she invited you over. Pick up one pint for $12 or, better yet, get a few pints at the scooperies in Westside Provisions District, Krog Street Market or other local retailers.
For Those Who Put Their Names on Everything
We love monogramming in the South, but don’t limit yourself to towels and napkins when coming up with a hostess gift. Gramercy Home offers etched, monogrammed glasses, $57 each, perfect for sipping warm apple cider after a cozy meal. These glasses are personalized and made to order. (Keep in mind that lead time is approximately three weeks, perhaps longer during the busy holiday season.) Gramercy has a book of ciphers you can choose from to create the perfect custom gift for your favorite hostess.
For the Folksy Types
Atlanta-based Preserving Place has been making a name for itself throughout the South for their small batches of delectable products. It’s hard to choose just one when coming up with a hostess gift, but we think a jar of the Spiced Grapes, $14, makes an excellent selection. This customer favorite is great for the holidays, an adventurous option to serve instead of cranberry relish.
For Members of the Tribe
Whether your hostess celebrates Hanukkah, Chanukah or some other derivative of the holiday, make sure you show your appreciation with this gorgeously delicious Sugarfina bento box, $65. The blue-and-white box comes with eight lucite cubes filled with Kosher candies, one for each night of Hanukkah. If you want to create your own custom bento box, stop by Lenox Square and see all of the other available candies. (Some are not Kosher.)
For the Pyromaniac
Candles are always a lovely hostess gift, especially ones that come in beautiful packaging, like these from Dakota J’s. The pagoda box candles from Seda France are pretty to look at AND pretty to smell, so bonus on both regards. You can choose between two sizes: mini for $17 and regular for $35.
For Those With a Sense of Humor
Tryst Boutique in Dunwoody has great clothing, accessories, fabulous outerwear and much more. But we couldn’t stop laughing after taking a look at these tea towels, $16, and reading each one aloud. These towels are a cute way to show thanks to your hostess and remind her not to take life (or dinner parties) too seriously.
For the Atlanta Foodies
Have you ordered the edamame hummus from Canoe and tried to recreate it from taste memory? What about trying your own version of Brick Store Pub’s pimento cheese? Anyone loving the Atlanta foodie scene will appreciate Kate Parham Kordsmeier’s cookbook, Atlanta Chef’s Table: Extraordinary Recipes from The Big Peach, a hybrid cookbook/travel book/behind-the-scenes guide to the tastiest dishes and talented chefs at some of Atlanta’s best restaurants. The book, which retails for $26.95, is sold on Amazon, major booksellers and local retailers and restaurants (many of which are included in the book).
For the Clean and Bubbly Type
Organic ingredients aren’t just good for your insides — your hostess will love your thoughtful gift of this organic foaming hand soap and bar soap from local skin care line, Sally B’s Skin Yummies. The smell of lemongrass is a soothing treat and the soapy items come in a sweet velvet, reusable, drawstring gift bag, packaged together for $25. If you’re not sure if the hostess in your life likes the smell of lemongrass, Sally B’s offers lots of other holiday bags featuring different products and various scents. Prices vary.
For the History Buff
In celebration of the High Museum’s Habsburg Splendor exhibition, the gift shop is now selling this solid brass, exclusive ornament picturing the campaign uniform of Emperor Franz Joseph. The item is $28, but costs slightly less for High Museum members.
For the Wine Drinker
A fine bottle of wine is a typical hostess gift, but you can go a step further when presenting it. Perhaps hand the bottle over in a sweet, handwoven basket that your hostess can reuse or place the wine in velvet bag that will only enhance the item. We think a good idea is to pair a bottle with a cool bottle opener, like these wrought iron ones from Chamblee Antiques & Interiors. They range in price from $6 to $10, but their weight, charm and vintage style make these bottle openers look much more expensive than they actually are.
Have a great time at all of your holiday parties this season and make sure to thank your hostess for a job well done!