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You know how every single solitary time you get invited over to someone's place for dinner, or for a holiday party, or for a booty call, you always bring over a bottle of wine? Right, well that's kind of nice, but also boring as hell. Bringing wine is basically the equivalent of saying: "I appreciate the fact that you made me kale salad and artisanal tater tots, but I don't have enough time to think about an original gift, so here's the $25 bottle of wine that Max at that wine shop on 7th Ave recco'd cause he said, even though he never tried it, ppl were saying that "it was pretty good." 


Anyway, if you're looking to break out of your Hostess gift-giving rut, here are a few ideas that you can totally copy, and then take all the credit for thinking up. 

1. Fancy Shmancy Olive Oil
Bouteillan Mini Couture Flask

WHY THIS GIFT ROCKS: This is actually my go-to gift these days, and trust me: it's way more original, useful and long lasting than a bottle of vino. Taking a page from Max's book, I've never actually tasted the olive oil pictured above, but look at! It looks like a friggin perfume bottle. Everyone loves the taste of high-end EVOO, but we usually don't splurge on this shit ourselves. Even if you're going to someone's place who doesn't cook, they can dip bread in it, pour it over veggies or flavor their pasta water with it. And if your hosts *do* cook, they will use the shit out of it and, likely, have it for months to come. 

Also keep in mind that, just like wine, you can find EVOO at many different price points. I picked out the bottle above cause it was pretty, but you can get plenty of fab bottles in the $10 to $15 dollar range too.

WHO SHOULD YOU BUY IT FOR?: Anyone with a pulse. 

IF YOU WANN ZHUSH THIS GIFT UP EVEN MORE: Pair it with a fancy shmancy bottle of Balsamic vinegar and wrap it up like this in a pretty tea towel. 

SUGGESTIONS FOR LOCAL NABE SOURCES: Blue Apron, Russo's, Union Market 


2. French Press Coffee Maker
Bodum Eileen French Press Coffee Maker

WHY THIS GIFT ROCKS: If you're gonna drink coffee, you may as well drink it out of a really pretty, Art Deco-y carafe. I drink 6 cans of Diet Coke a day, so I don't know much about java, but this press looks way the hell nicer than those Keurig behemoths, and no one will be embarrassed to leave it out on their counter. 

WHO SHOULD YOU BUY IT FOR?: Caffeine addicts who are into design-y shit too.

IF YOU WANT TO ZHUSH THIS GIFT UP EVEN MORE: Throw in a bag or two of freshly ground coffee and today's New York Times.

SUGGESTIONS FOR LOCAL NABE SOURCES: Tarzian West (maybe), Gorilla Coffee


3. Cute Notecards
All Occasions Cards

WHY THIS GIFT ROCKS: These are simple, beautiful letterpressed cards that say things like "thank you," "I'm sorry," or my personal fave: "fuck you." They are gender neutral enough to work for a guy or a girl. And yep, in this day of tumblrs, emails, texting and Instagramming, sometimes sending a real life actual card is just the ticket. And the fact that these puppies are letterpressed is totally a sign that you pay attention to the details. 

WHO SHOULD YOU BUY IT FOR?: It's probably a more chick-centric gift, but as I said above, it can work for both.  

IF YOU WANT TO ZHUSH THIS GIFT UP EVEN MORE: Go to your local card store and get a bunch of fab "Happy Birthday" cards. It's the other main card that we all need several times a year, and trust me: it's amazeballs when you just have extras around that you can use in a pinch. OH, also, gift this shit with some stamps for some double secret bonus points. 

SUGGESTIONS FOR LOCAL NABE SOURCES: Lion in the Sun, Pink Olive, Scardey Cat (all of these places have fab stationery and gifts)


4. Everyone Loves a Tote
Everything Here Is Wonderful Tote

WHY THIS GIFT ROCKS: First of all, non-shitty totes (I'm talking right size, fabric, solid construction, etc) are surprisingly hard to come by...and this one really rocks. Second of all, most people's lives totally suck, so this "everything here is wonderful" tote will allow them to ironically pretend, both to the world and to themselves, that everything is actually just fine. Third of all, this bag was "originally designed in 1920 to haul 100 lbs of coal and or dirt," so hauling your friend's bouquet of Eucalyptus, Kindle Fire and yoga mat ain't gonna be no thang. 

WHO SHOULD YOU BUY IT FOR?: This one is probably better for chicks than it is for dudes, though a metro or gay dude would likely love it. Bonus points if you wanna give it to a hipster, Brooklyn, farmers market, PSFC going person. 

IF YOU WANT TO ZHUSH THIS GIFT UP EVEN MORE: You can continue the "half glass full" theme and put in a book like The Happiness Project, OR fill it up with some light treat, like different flavored homemade popcorns: snickers popcorn, caramel popcorn or even Bacon popcorn

SUGGESTIONS FOR LOCAL NABE SOURCES: No one will have this *exact* tote, but you can try to find some other cool totes at Brooklyn Industries, or pick up the always classic Je T'aime New York tote at Pink Olive.


5. Game On
Trivial Pursuit 90's Edition

WHY THIS GIFT ROCKS: So, while Genus edition Trivial Pursuit might be kinda boring for non-Trivia lovers, the 90's edition is loads-o-fun. You get to answer questions about the grunge movement, and the fall of communism and the first season of The Real World. PRO TIP: Like all board games, this one is way more enjoyable if you are drunk and/or high. And if you happen to be going to someone's place who's slightly older, they have other editions such as the 80's, the Beatles edition, etc.

WHO SHOULD YOU BUY IT FOR?: Anyone who was in their teens or twenties in the 90's. And/or anyone whose house you go to a lot and you want to make sure there's a good game that's always there. 

IF YOU WANT TO ZHUSH THIS GIFT UP EVEN MORE: Pair it with a Pearl Jam Jeremy Tee Shirt.



6. A Life Journal...or a Guest Book...Or A Good Spot to Hide Your Weed
My Life Story 100 Years Diary

WHY THIS GIFT ROCKS: This is another one of my go-to gifts It seems big and intimidating, but really it's just a fab, gigantic book for you to write down, tape stuff into, and glue shit down in about all the fab stuff that goes on in your life. I also love the idea of using it as a guest book. Like you could have it sitting out on your coffee table or near your front door and encourage all your guests to write in it whenever they come over. And it's super awesome for kids, so that you can start filling it up when they're young and don't care about anything and then by the time they're older and graduated from college, and moving back into their parents house, they'll have a fun trip down memory lane. 

WHO SHOULD YOU BUY IT FOR?: It's especially fab for anyone who just had a big life event (graduation, baby, marriage), but really it works for anyone.

IF YOU WANT TO ZHUSH THIS GIFT UP EVEN MORE: Write something fab (or glue or tape stuff) to one of the pages to get the whole thing going.

SUGGESTIONS FOR NABE SOURCES: Don't think you can get this sucker anywhere around here. 


And here's a PRO TIP: If there is anything above (or a couple of things above) that you realllly dig, then buy a bunch of them! I do this with Olive Oils...anytime I'm somewhere and I see cool bottles, I'll buy them and just keep them in the back of our closet. Then whenever we get an invite, BOOM, I'm ready to go. I also stay stocked up with with those fabric wine pouches (which I use to put the bottles of EVOO in). I cannot tell you how many times this has rescued us slash saved us a shitload of time trying to figure out what to bring and where and when to go get it. 

Ok, now go be non-lame dinner/cocktail party/houseguests!

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