Let us first state the obvious: Wine and champagne are fabulous. However, there is a very good chance that every other guest invited to the holiday parties you attend will bring the host one of those two things. To help you stand out from the crowd, we put together this handy-dandy gift guide filled with recommendations for properly thanking the hosts and hostesses at all of your upcoming affairs.
Prices range from $2 to $150 and cover a broad range of tastes and interests. You can thank us later.
LAFCO Mini Holiday Candle Trio ($85)
Nothing warms up a house quite like the scent of a quality candle, and the LAFCO holiday collection is as good as it gets. This set includes Berry, which smells of tart cranberries boiling on the stove; Tree, reminiscent of a freshly cut holiday evergreen; and Feu de Bois, the scent of burning wood with a hint of mountain spruce.
You can also buy the original, oversized vessels for $60 each or select fragrances in a stocking stuffer version for $32. Buy online or at the LAFCO Boutique in Highland Park Village. Word on the street is that Reese Witherspoon recently shopped there while in Dallas, so if it's good enough for Reese, then it's good enough for your party-throwing friend.
Joy Macarons ($2 each)
Macarons from Joy accomplishes two things: gifting your recipient with delicious treats and spreading the word about this brand-new shop in Oak Cliff. Flavors range from the expected (vanilla bean, raspberry and chocolate chip) to more experimental (honey and lavender, rose and lychee, and lemon fleur de sel).
You can visit the shop at 839 W. Davis St., or order them online and have them delivered to you or the party host.
Kelly Wearstler x Swarovski Collection Obelisk Ornament ($150)
Swarovski crystals elevate this from a mere hostess gift, but it can do double-duty as a Christmas, housewarming or birthday present as well for your closest friends. We like this as a thank you to the person hosting the holiday soiree because it can be instantly incorporated into his or her decor by adding it to the Christmas tree. Buy it exclusively at Forty Five Ten.
VelvetCrate Holiday Box ($50)
The holiday box from VelvetCrate includes a variety of thoughtful gifts, including a Thymes Gingerbread candle, FunkyChunky sea salt caramel popcorn mix and a heavenly Lollia Wish perfumed soap. You can ship it to the host's home, or have it sent to yours and hand-deliver it come party time.
VelvetCrate boxes are made for a variety of occasions, but the holiday version is designed especially to spread Christmas cheer. Buy it online.
The Texas Food Bible by Dean Fearing ($20.95)
This is a wonderful gift for the domestic goddess in your group, and chances are she's the one hosting the Christmas shindig too. This cookbook from one of Dallas' celebrity chefs features recipes that every Texan — and wannabe Texan — can appreciate, such as sweet potato spoon bread, truck stop enchiladas and barbecue shrimp tacos.
The book also includes recipes from some of Fearing's pals, including Robert del Grande and Stephan Pyles, making it a true authority on Texas cuisine. The book is available wherever books are sold.
Lilco Design Tea Towels ($18 each)
These tea towels designed by Lily Smith-Kirkley caught our attention because of their stylish simplicity. Plus they are 100 percent cotton and handprinted using nontoxic water-based inks.
Themes range from whimsical Texas to kitchen-friendly veggie and meat to geometric facet and diamond. Find them at a variety of Dallas retailers (think Nasher Store and Neighborhood) or purchase online.
Kate Weiser Chocolates ($15-$70)
A piece of art may be an extreme hostess gift, but a customized box of chocolates that look like art is totally acceptable. Kate Weiser and team offer 19 flavors that are almost too pretty to eat. (Almost.) Some of our favorites include strawberry basil, fresh mint leaf, Key lime pie, and red wine and berries.
This edible art comes in boxes of six, 15 or 35 pieces priced at $15, $35 and $70, respectively. Stop by Weiser's shop in Trinity Groves and customize the box yourself, or order online and have it delivered.
Flower Child Plants
Local horticulturist Cynthia Koogler honed her skills at North Haven Gardens and the Dallas Arboretum before branching out on her own with Flower Child Plants. Her original, earthy creations range from simple succulents in vintage tins to custom terrariums in a variety of vessels. She happily dispenses advice on how to care for the plants so your recipient can enjoy them year-round.
Flower Child offers an assortment of giftable plants at every price point. Visit Koogler at the Holiday Urban Bazaar in the Bishop Arts District on Saturday, December 13, 11 am-7 pm. Or email firstname.lastname@example.org.