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Six Hostess/Host Gifts That Will Get You Invited Back

While the holidays aren’t exactly here, holiday prep season is in high gear, and many of us are starting to feel festive. That means our friends and family are dipping their collective toes in the entertaining waters, and your invitations should be arriving soon.

When someone goes to the trouble of entertaining you, what do you do?
You bring a host or hostess gift, naturally.
A bottle of wine?
A bouquet of flowers?
Really? That’s the best you can do? Don’t be so predictable.

And, don’t sweat it. Throughout the season, I’ll give you gift suggestions that will exalt you to the most favored guest status.

Candles make ideal gifts because they work perfectly for hosts and hostesses, and you can find them in all price points.

Jo Malone offers a limited edition Pine & Eucalyptus candle that fills the home with the bracing scent of winter — with a bit of lavender and frankincense. The white candle comes in a simple glass jar with a silver lid. It burns for 36 hours. Available in a 7-ounce for $65 and, if you’re feeling extravagant, there’s an 88-ounce, four-wick version for $445. Available locally at Saks and online.

Voluspa makes its new Vermeil candle collection from a clean burning coconut wax blend perfumed with with essential oils. The bold Clove Pomander, spiked with pear, bergamot and nutmeg, comes in a slim ruby glass speckled with silver. The festive 5.25-ounce candle burns for 50 hours and makes an affordable and thoughtful gift for only $18. To find Voluspa candles nearby, check out the store locator.

Maison brand offers Grove, an exceptionally masculine scent that exudes tobacco and leather — one of the most intoxicating combinations. Grove comes in a variety of sizes and ranges from about $5 to $30 at most Bed Bath & Beyond stores.

Spirits go beyond that bottle of red or white. And it doesn’t really matter if you don’t know the recipient’s exact tastes because, chances are, that bottle will show up on the holiday bar at some point during the season.

Eye-popping yellow is the color of Tropix, the newest flavor joining the X-Rated Fusion Liqueur line. Tropix blends premium French vodka with pineapple and coconut. Pour it over ice and you’ve got a dairy free, low-cal pina colada at only 81 calories per 1.5-ounce serving. Tropix, which plays well in a variety of cocktails, is available at most liquor stores and ranges from $17 to $36.

New from Grand Marnier is the limited edition Signature Collection No. 2 Raspberry Peach. The familiar orange essence blended with fine Cognac gets a flavor bump from fresh peaches and raspberries, resulting in a liqueur that’s perfect for sipping or mixing. Get it while you can because once it sells out, this French liqueur is gone for good in the U.S. Sells for about $40 at most liquor stores.

Give the bourbon lover a thrill with a bottle of Maker’s 46, which takes original Maker’s Mark and ramps it up by aging the whiskey for a few extra months in barrels containing planks of seared French Oak. The result is a smoother more complex bourbon with a slightly higher proof. Available for $35 at Tower Beer, Wine & Spirits.
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Do you have a winning host or hostess gift you’d like to share? Please let us know.
Have you received a hostess gift you consider a total dud? We’d like to know that, too.
Send your photographs to or post them on Instagram with the hashtag #AJCdiy.

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