6 Holiday Gifts for the Host Who Deserves the Most
It's no secret that Julia Bainbridge, author of Good Drinks and veteran dinner party host, has impeccable taste. "These days, I'm drawn to patterns from natural materials or handmade processes, like the brindle in tiger onyx," she says. "It's rare that I purchase an entire set of something, but when the colors are relatively neutral and the patterns are organic, all of my different pieces tend to suit one another." Follow her lead to give unique gifts that seamlessly work with whatever's already in the recipients' homes.
1. Holland Bowl Mill 12-Inch Maple Bowl ?
"The half-inch-thick wall of this bowl feels good to hold, like it's sure of its strength and won't let you down. Treat it well—hand-washing only!—and it will last a lifetime. Bonus: You can add a personalized engraving to the bottom for no extra cost." ($75, hollandbowlmill.com)
2. Josee Pillar Candles?
"Each of these 100% pure-beeswax candles is a small sculpture and comes in its own gift box. Mix the colors and sizes and you'll have a striking centerpiece that stays aglow for hours. Whoops, I mean your giftee will have a centerpiece that stays aglow for hours. Wink." ($34, berte.com)
3. Mondays Ikebana Vase in Bronze?
"When it comes to ceramics, the wonkier the better, which is why I love Jennifer Fiore and Nina Lalli's wabi-sabi approach. These bud vases are asymmetrical, and the glazes appear haphazard. The volcanic black and metallic bronze colorway stuns in person." ($130, mondaysbk.com)
4. Tsubota Pearl Tortoise Lighter?
"I keep a small bowl to the side of my dining table that contains essentials: a lighter and hand sanitizer. They're the two items most requested by guests, so why not keep them handy? Just make sure they're beautiful enough to earn their rent on your precious table real estate." ($45, shop-tetra.com)
5. Departo Linen Napkins?
"I used to buy dainty napkins—no longer! Napkins are meant to be used, and they should be large enough to cover someone's lap, lest anything fall and threaten to endanger a silk dress or tweed slacks. These linen napkins are handsome, versatile, and they do their job." ($29, departo.co)
6. Machali Tiger Onyx Server ?
"No matter who I gift this serving piece to, it ends up becoming their workhorse platter. Its clean design lets it mingle with any table setting, but its chic brown-and-taupe veining makes it party-worthy. Also, if anyone asks you about the material, it just feels cool to say, 'It's made of tiger onyx.'" ($199, cb2.com)