It's Party Time: 13 Practical Gifts for the Host

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family delivering presents at Christmas time for the host
Photo credit: DGLimages/shutterstock

Chances are the holiday party invitations are rolling in. As any good guest knows, showing up empty-handed is a social no-no. But there are only so many bottles of wine and boxes of candy that even the most gracious host will appreciate. So forget about the tried-and-true and set your sights on small gifts a host might find useful. Here are 13 ideas to get you started.

Related: Dazzle Your Guests: 16 Budget-Friendly Christmas Dinner Entrees

Battery Powered Corkscrew
Photo credit: Courtesy of amazon.com

Instead of the usual standbys, come with a gift that eases the host's burden. A battery-powered corkscrew ($20 on Amazon) leaves one hand free to attend to other tasks.

Related: 10 Ways to Avoid Holiday Overeating

Engraved 9 oz. Scotch Glass
Photo credit: Courtesy of thingsremembered.com

Heading to a dinner party? Treat the hosts to a set of Scotch glasses that can be engraved with a personal message or monogram ($10 each at Things Remembered).

White Christmas Fiber Reactive Kitchen Towel
Photo credit: Courtesy of bedbathandbeyond.com

A naughty-or-nice holiday hand towel or two for the kitchen ($5 each at Bed Bath & Beyond) is certainly useful when cleaning up party spills and messes. Target, Kohl's, and other retailers stock many options under $10.

Wooden Spoon Utensil Set
Photo credit: Courtesy of amazon.com

Cooks can never have enough utensils. A set of bamboo spoons and spatulas ($10 on Amazon) that don't scratch cookware will get a fine workout over the holidays. Add a big red bow for a festive touch.

'I'm Feeling Christmas Cocktail' Napkins
Photo credit: Courtesy of michaels.com

Draw chuckles from host and guests alike with funny cocktail napkins. Each pack of 16 costs about $2, so bring along two or three different kinds.

Prodyne Happy Hour Swizzle Sticks
Photo credit: Courtesy of amazon.com

Contribute to the bar scene with a pack of 10 individualized drink stirrers ($12 on Amazon) or hand-made swizzle sticks topped with animals painted in gold ($20 on Etsy).

Christmas Icons Wine Charm Set
Photo credit: Courtesy of pier1.com

Help wine drinkers keep track of their pours with festive wine charms to affix around the stems of their glasses. A set of six holiday-themed charms costs about $10.

Castelbel Vintage Christmas Bar Soap Collection
Photo credit: Courtesy of worldmarket.com

Fancy soap adds a fresh scent to the guest bathroom. World Market sells a three-pack of vintage-wrapped holiday soap for $7.

Front And Center 5x7 Notepad
Photo credit: Courtesy of shutterfly.com

A personal touch on notes or even shopping lists is a nice change from random pieces of scrap paper. Send in a picture along with the host's name, and Shutterfly will produce a 75-page notepad for $15.

bunch of garden fresh herbs on wooden board from above
Photo credit: merc67/shutterstock

For the host who covets fresh ingredients, assemble an herb set from small jars ($9 for 12 on Amazon), a bag of soil, and young herb plants. Pot the herbs one to a jar, print pretty labels for each, and finish off with a red bow. If plants are nowhere to be found, enclose a couple of seed packets.

Wine Bottle Filled Candle
Photo credit: Courtesy of worldmarket.com

Treat a wine connoisseur to candles set in repurposed wine bottles bearing labels that look like the real thing. ($15 at World Market). They're available in scents associated with pinot noir, sauvignon blanc, and merlot.

Related: 24 Top Wines for $10 or Less

bagged potpourri on black background
Photo credit: Tajuan/shutterstock

A homemade gift of potpourri can simmer away and sweeten the party air. Combine cinnamon sticks, dried fruit (lemon or orange slices work well), bay leaves, whole allspice, and nutmeg. Tie everything in a baggie with a nice ribbon or in a Ball jar ($9 for 12 at Target). Buy ingredients in bulk and prepare one jar for each party. Include a set of instructions: Bring to a simmer in water and replenish water as needed.

Extra Large Red Silk Poinsettia Arrangement
Photo credit: Courtesy of homedepot.com

Potted ferns ($15 at World Market) or poinsettias ($25 for two at Home Depot) add outdoor cheer to holiday festivities. Both require little care and are very affordable.

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