Plane, train, or automobile—no matter how you’re getting there, you can’t show up empty handed. Because the holidays are centered on eating, it’s actually best to avoid bringing food. Though food makes for an easy hostess gift, holiday meals are usually planned to a tee, and it’s simply best not to get in the way. Click through for some great alternatives.

Instead of treats, think kitchen accessories, like this stunning bamboo gold serving set or a Hickory serving board. A set of oil and vinegar would be perfect for the family cook. Nice soap, a scented candle, or a picture frame (let them choose the photo), are all classic choices. Since the holiday season gets so busy, purchase a bunch of options and keep them on hand. That way, as the holiday party season kicks into gear, you won’t be left scrambling.

1. LAFCO Candle Game Room, $55; 2. Thank You Note Card, $24; 3. Orrefors Carat Votive Clear, $35; 4. Gray Leather Faux Lizard Picture Frame, $175; 5. Barr-Co. Oatmeal Soap, $15; 6. L’Objet Evoca Bamboo Gold Serving Set, $175; 7. Match Double Butter Dish with Cover, $195; 8. Dutchmen Hickory Serving Boards, $35; 9. Peruvian Pottery Vinegar Bottle, $40; Peruvian Pottery Oil Bottle; $40





About Julia Reed

Julia Reed is a columnist at Garden & Gun magazine and a contributing editor at Elle Décor. She also contributes to The Wall Street Journal, Architectural Digest, and The New York Times, and makes frequent appearances on MSNBC. She is the author of five books, including But Mama Always Put Vodka in the Sangria, Adventures in Eating, Drinking and Making Merry and One Man’s Folly, The Exceptional Houses of Furlow Gatewood.

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