Thursday, November 17, 2011

Holiday Gift Guide: Stylish Entertaining

I know, I know. It's not even Thanksgiving and I'm already kicking off a holiday gift series. What gives? (Ha!)

Okay, so I love giving handmade gifts (a batch of cookies or brownies wrapped in pretty packaging, a photo album or a mix tape) and intangibles (a charitable donation in someone's name, a lunch date or even dog sitting). But it's also quite satisfying to find and give an inspired gift that delights the recipient for years to come.

So without further ado, here are some gift picks for the entertainers in your life. You might even want to snap up a few for yourself (wink).

1. Herriott Grace porcelain pedestal plates.

I don't know about you, but I can't afford much in the way of Herriott Grace's handmade wooden serveware. Thankfully, at $36 these adorable little porcelain pedestal plates are within my budget. Who wouldn't want to set them out for small treats, tartlettes and cheese?

2. Soapstone trays.

These Haitian hand-carved trays are from the Aid to Artisans project and are $28 at Canvas. Substantial in weight and presentation, they're a striking alternative to wood and porcelain serveware. Click here to see them in my Peanut Butter Pie for Mikey post.

3. Vintage French bread boards.

This is a major splurge, but hear me out. These late 19th and early 20th century bread boards, available in both small ($175) and large ($200) sizes from J. Peterman, are beautifully worn and imperfect. Sourced from the South of France, they make a statement whether they're used for cutting or serving. If your budget allows, this is a gift that will not only be treasured, but handed down through generations.

4. JME bread board.

A more affordable option is this $60 bread board from JME. Made in South Africa from salvaged French oak wine barrels, the board arrives in an adorable cotton sack perfect for gift giving.

5. Fog Linen Works acacia wood knives. 

These wooden butter knives, $7.50 each at Anaise, elevate the mundane (spreading butter on toast) to something of beauty. They're sure to elicit compliments from guests when they spread goat cheese and fig jam on crackers.

6. Sapling utensils.

Add a rustic touch to your table or buffet with these petite sapling utensils. $12 each at Terrain, they're crafted from re-purposed brass and are simply adorable.

7. govino shatterproof glasses and flutes.

Virtually indestructible, these "go anywhere" glasses and flutes from govino ($13 to $230 for sets of 4 to 72) are a stylish alternative to plastic cups and glasses. Party guests can let loose like they're at a kegger without leaving those unsightly red Solo cups all over the place.

8. Etched stemware.

Anthropologie's Platinum Petals stemware ($14 each) adds a timeless, elegant touch to more intimate gatherings. A pair of flutes and a bottle of bubbly (may I suggest Sofia Blanc de Blancs?) makes a charming gift for your favorite couple.

So now you know what to get me for Christmas. (Kidding.) If you're interested, I'll post gift picks for cooks, bakers and even food bloggers -- plus books, music and items for the home -- in the coming days and weeks. Happy gifting!

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