Gifts to warm the host's heart

 
By Kendra Nichols
The Washington Post
Posted12/7/2018 6:00 AM
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  • A gourmet salt cellar box by Melanie Abrantes. $65, melaniebrantes.com. MUST CREDIT: Photo for The Washington Post by Katherine Frey

    A gourmet salt cellar box by Melanie Abrantes. $65, melaniebrantes.com. MUST CREDIT: Photo for The Washington Post by Katherine Frey

  • A personalized Christmas ornament from Magic Markings Art, $50, etsy.com. MUST CREDIT: Photo for The Washington Post by Katherine Frey

    A personalized Christmas ornament from Magic Markings Art, $50, etsy.com. MUST CREDIT: Photo for The Washington Post by Katherine Frey

  • Swedish dishcloths from ScandinavianShoppe.com, from $6. MUST CREDIT: Photo for The Washington Post by Katherine Frey

    Swedish dishcloths from ScandinavianShoppe.com, from $6. MUST CREDIT: Photo for The Washington Post by Katherine Frey

  • Crocomark from Peleg Design, $12.99, amazon.com. MUST CREDIT: Photo for The Washington Post by Katherine Frey

    Crocomark from Peleg Design, $12.99, amazon.com. MUST CREDIT: Photo for The Washington Post by Katherine Frey

  • Smeg's retro style two-slice toaster in pastel green, $149.95, amazon.com. MUST CREDIT: Photo for The Washington Post by Katherine Frey

    Smeg's retro style two-slice toaster in pastel green, $149.95, amazon.com. MUST CREDIT: Photo for The Washington Post by Katherine Frey

  • Hold adjustable vase from Sagaform, $44.99.zola.com. MUST CREDIT: Photo for The Washington Post by Katherine Frey

    Hold adjustable vase from Sagaform, $44.99.zola.com. MUST CREDIT: Photo for The Washington Post by Katherine Frey

  • A tea caddy from Couleur Nature, $50, couleurnature.com. MUST CREDIT: Photo for The Washington Post by Katherine Frey

    A tea caddy from Couleur Nature, $50, couleurnature.com. MUST CREDIT: Photo for The Washington Post by Katherine Frey

  • Harry Potter Deathly Hallows Bluetooth speaker from PB Teen, $79, pbteen.com. MUST CREDIT: Photo for The Washington Post by Katherine Frey

    Harry Potter Deathly Hallows Bluetooth speaker from PB Teen, $79, pbteen.com. MUST CREDIT: Photo for The Washington Post by Katherine Frey

  • Förädla serving stand from Ikea, $24.99, ikea.com. MUST CREDIT: Photo for The Washington Post by Katherine Frey

    Förädla serving stand from Ikea, $24.99, ikea.com. MUST CREDIT: Photo for The Washington Post by Katherine Frey

  • Small natural canvas hanging planter by Good Company Wares, $34, beinggoodcompany.com. MUST CREDIT: Photo for The Washington Post by Katherine Frey

    Small natural canvas hanging planter by Good Company Wares, $34, beinggoodcompany.com. MUST CREDIT: Photo for The Washington Post by Katherine Frey

  • Host's Freeze cooling pint glasses, $18.50, amazon.com. MUST CREDIT: Photo for The Washington Post by Katherine Frey

    Host's Freeze cooling pint glasses, $18.50, amazon.com. MUST CREDIT: Photo for The Washington Post by Katherine Frey

  • Clarity bowls from CB2, $5.95-$11.95, cb2.com. MUST CREDIT: Photo for The Washington Post by Katherine Frey

    Clarity bowls from CB2, $5.95-$11.95, cb2.com. MUST CREDIT: Photo for The Washington Post by Katherine Frey

  • Cookut's easy cocktail set, $14,47, amazon.com. MUST CREDIT: Photo for The Washington Post by Katherine Frey

    Cookut's easy cocktail set, $14,47, amazon.com. MUST CREDIT: Photo for The Washington Post by Katherine Frey

  • Most Likely to Microwave oven mitt from Blue Q, $12.99, amazon.com. MUST CREDIT: Photo for The Washington Post by Katherine Frey

    Most Likely to Microwave oven mitt from Blue Q, $12.99, amazon.com. MUST CREDIT: Photo for The Washington Post by Katherine Frey

  • Cheers champagne flutes from Z Gallerie. $39.95, zgallerie.com. MUST CREDIT: Photo for The Washington Post by Katherine Frey

    Cheers champagne flutes from Z Gallerie. $39.95, zgallerie.com. MUST CREDIT: Photo for The Washington Post by Katherine Frey

  • A 10-ounce plant mister in brass from Haws, $21.95, hawswateringcans.com. MUST CREDIT: Photo for The Washington Post by Katherine Frey

    A 10-ounce plant mister in brass from Haws, $21.95, hawswateringcans.com. MUST CREDIT: Photo for The Washington Post by Katherine Frey

  • Now Designs Denman apron-dish towel in Bengal stripe from IQ Living, $19.99, iqliving.com. MUST CREDIT: Photo for The Washington Post by Katherine Frey

    Now Designs Denman apron-dish towel in Bengal stripe from IQ Living, $19.99, iqliving.com. MUST CREDIT: Photo for The Washington Post by Katherine Frey

  • Serax juice straws from Amara Living, $19, amara.com. MUST CREDIT: Photo for The Washington Post by Katherine Frey

    Serax juice straws from Amara Living, $19, amara.com. MUST CREDIT: Photo for The Washington Post by Katherine Frey

We love home gifts for the holidays because, functional or decorative, they can either be put to use for holiday parties (think serving stands, champagne glasses and audio equipment) or simply add to that cozy "hygge" feel we're looking for during the winter (think fuzzy blankets, candles and plants).

This year, The Washington Post's Home section editors and writers selected the latest and greatest gifts for every budget and any living situation.

CB2's Clarity bowls: $5.95-$11.95, cb2.com.

We can think of so many uses for these porcelain bowls: catchalls in an entry hall, serving bowls for nuts and candy, even everyday jewelry storage. The three options in the smaller size -- white, black and gold -- will fit any color scheme (the large option is available in white only). And at these prices, you could mix and match a few.

Serax's juice straws: $19, amara.com.

As diners and restaurants have started rejecting plastic straws, reusable versions have been popping up all over. We love this elegant glass set, with a luxurious feel perfect for using and even displaying at home. The set of four comes with a cleaning brush. (For thicker drinks, go for the larger "smoothie" size for $23.)

PB Teen's Harry Potter Deathly Hallows Bluetooth speaker: $79, pbteen.com.

Anyone can appreciate a stylish, gilded Bluetooth speaker. But fans of the Harry Potter books and movies will especially appreciate this subtle nod to the series. The 4-by-4½ inch, smartphone-compatible speaker can play music and answer calls wirelessly and has a rechargeable battery.

Haws's 10-ounce plant mister: $21.95, hawswateringcans.com.

Houseplants are trending, and we think any new plant parent will appreciate this brass mister, which can keep plants healthy and even look good sitting next to them. Britain-based Haws has been known for its watering cans since the 19th century.

Cookut's easy cocktail set: $14.47, amazon.com.

For a cocktail-loving friend who's tired of novelty shot glasses and shakers, we like these colorful stirrers. They aim to make mixology easy with portioned amounts of each ingredient shown right on the stick -- no Googling necessary. Recipes include white Russian, sex on the beach, piña colada, margarita, tequila sunrise and Cuba libre.

Blue Q's Most Likely to Microwave oven mitt: $12.99, amazon.com.

Even the worst cooks need an oven mitt. (Also helpful: a sense of humor.) This gift lets you tease them and help them at the same time. For those who are more skilled in the kitchen, Blue Q has mitts with other cheeky sayings, such as "Hot Hot Vegetarian Action" and "I'm not bossy. I'm the boss."

IKEA's Förädla serving stand: $24.99, ikea.com.

Serving accessories can get pretty pricey, but this porcelain stand, with three tiers for pastries, cheese or fruit, feels like a steal. And as IKEA products go, this one should be easy to assemble, even for the least handy among us.

Good Company Wares' small natural canvas hanging planter: $34, beinggoodcompany.com.

We like this warm, updated take on a hanging planter. The colorful canvas planter hangs from an oiled leather strap secured with brass rivets (an optional wooden peg is an extra $8). Also included: a plastic planter and saucer inside to keep the canvas dry. Other planters are available in different sizes and prints, many with a Southwestern feel.

Magic Markings Art's personalized house portrait Christmas ornament: $50, etsy.com.

Virginia Beach artist Cathie Carlson specializes in custom keepsake gifts for weddings, housewarmings, births and holidays. These ornaments are hand-painted from a photo, with the back left blank for text. Note: Carlson needs two to three weeks to work on a custom ornament, so leave as much time as possible.

Sagaform's Hold adjustable vase:$44.99, zola.com.

This simple, elegant vase, designed by Pascal Charmolu, has a genius feature: The gilded steel frame can be adjusted higher to make room for taller flowers or lowered over the glass base. We think it could become any household's go-to vase.

ScandinavianShoppe.com's Swedish dishcloths: From $6, scandinavianshoppe.com.

Assemble a collection of designs or pick your favorite and pair it with a nice dish- and hand-soap set. We're partial to the Swedish dala horse dishcloth, but there are plenty from which to choose, including holiday-specific designs. These cloths are made of compostable cellulose and are marketed as a more sustainable alternative to sponges.

Peleg Design's Crocomark: $12.99, amazon.com.

It's a crocodile. It's a bookmark. What more can we say? This cute little guy would make a fun stocking stuffer or accessory to a book gift.

Smeg's retro-style two-slice toaster: $149.95, amazon.com.

A toaster isn't normally what you'd call a fun gift -- unless it's an adorable mint green, and delightfully retro in its styling. This simple but luxurious model has six browning levels, three preset programs and a removable stainless steel crumb tray. (It also comes in several other colors.)

Couleur Nature's tea caddy: $50, couleurnature.com.

Hosts and hostesses will find plenty of uses for this metal caddy with eight glasses. Fill the glasses with flowers for a creative centerpiece, or layer trifles in the glasses for a brilliantly presented dessert course.

Melanie Abrantes Designs' gourmet salt cellar box: $65, melaniebrantes.com.

Melanie Abrantes is a Bay Area artist who uses a lathe to handcraft wood and cork bowls, plates, planters and stands. This set, which pairs two of her walnut or cherry salt cellars with three infused California salts, comes in a lovely plywood gift box.

Z Gallerie's Cheers champagne flutes: $39.95, zgallerie.com.

These fun yet elegant flutes, made of handblown glass, offer a toast in six languages: French, Swedish, Gaelic, English, German and Italian. Pair them with a bottle of your favorite champagne so they can be appreciated rapidamente. Note: They must be hand-washed.

Host's Freeze cooling pint glasses: $18.50, amazon.com.

After a couple hours in the freezer, a cooling gel in the walls of these acrylic cups will keep drinks cold, and the built-in silicone sleeves will keep hands comfortable. Pair this set of two with a six-pack of your favorite beer or a bottle of fancy lemonade. Also available: wine, martini, whiskey and margarita cups.

Now Designs' Denman apron-dish towel: $19.99, i1living.com.

This simple linen apron doubles as a dish towel and has a classic design that's sure to please home cooks and crafters alike. We like the Bengal stripe pattern best.

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