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.
Handmade ornaments ($22-$40)
Tesoros Trading Company has a bevy of handmade ornaments from across South America. While these beautiful gourds ($20) certainly caught our eye, this South Congress boutique has a collection of tin, wood and beaded selctions.
Purchase at the South Congress boutique or online here.
Joy Macarons ($2 each)
Macarons from Dallas-based 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).
Order them online and have them delivered directly to the host.
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 Texas' most celebrated 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. Order it from BookPeople here.
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. Purchase online here.
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. Order online here.