Visiting Friends? Here’s What to Bring Your Host

Clever (and useful) ways to say thank you

Ah, visiting friends! What a wonderful thing to think about and return to doing this summer. And there’s no better way to say thank you for great hospitality than an interesting gift or two. This could be as simple as food or flowers from your garden (a truly Southern sentiment!) or something meant to last a bit longer, like one of the ideas from my list of favorites, below.


I’m a big believer in hostess gifts that elevate ordinary household chores into something pleasurable. In this case it’s Fer A Cheval laundry detergent for sensitive skin. It contains zero chemicals or synthetic fragrances and turns washing sheets into a calming aromatherapy escape. $26; food52.com 


I’m not sure the notion of “too much glassware” exists in most Southern households. It’s generally the more the merrier when it comes to creating beautiful tablescapes. And these wine or water glasses by La Rochere from their Perigord collection are truly wonderful for two reasons: The heavy stems hold up in the dishwasher, and the simple aesthetic brings an effortless, European look to any table, be it draped in fine linen or holding a humble porch picnic. $70 for six; surlatable.com


One of the best small grocery stores in the South is Reid’s in Charlotte, and their cheese straws make for a fail-proof food surcee. Consider them a cocktail’s best friend. $8–$17; reids.com


These denim placemats by Mi Cocina subtly nod to Southern denim culture and history, and I love the print shown below for a casual summer breakfast setup. $22; micocinaus.com


Years ago, I observed a friend present someone we were visiting at a family beach house with new towels as a gift, and I’ve considered the idea pure genius since. The designs that top my list for fluffiness and durability are from Weezie in Savannah. $230 for four; weezietowels.com


It is uniquely liberating to think of folks signing guestbooks again! A little proof (in writing) that life is back to normal. And of course, I’m partial to this one dreamed up by all the Garden & Gun editors. $25; ggfieldshop.com


As more and more folks try to cut down on plastic, I’m seeing a renaissance of sorts in the world of enamelware. Like plastic, it doesn’t break, so it’s great for the boat or the beach, too. And lately I cannot get enough of the modern blue splatterware from Crow Canyon Home. It’s been out of stock for months and now it’s back, from amazing tumblers and pitchers to the genius bowl shown below. $20; crowcanyonhome.com


There is a time and a place for a gorgeous starched napkin, but I have to say I love a wonderful, overwashed, soft look, too, especially in summer when things are just more laid-back anyway. If I had a hundred of these lovely Turkish cotton napkins from Home & Loft, that might satiate my desire for them but not until then. They simply get better with every wash. $17; homeandloft.com


Here’s another surefire way to win best guest: Bring a game. This candy-colored take on old-school Jenga by Sunnylife is one of my recent discoveries, and I love that it doubles as a fun-loving art sculpture when not in use. $150; comingsoonnewyork.com

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