Holiday Gift Guide: For the Party Host

The season of friendsgiving, holiday cookie swaps, cocktail parties and all of the ‘official’ holidays that take us through the new year is here. Today I am sharing a holiday gift guide for the party hosts you will visit during the holiday season. Hostess gifts can be tricky. Are they necessary? When are they appropriate? Do you give them around the holidays and not throughout the year? That all depends on what you are comfortable with, but I think something small is always appreciated. In this post I will share a few ideas so you can be prepared whether you’re gifting big or small.

I think it is safe to say that most people bring a bottle of wine, small dish or dessert to a holiday party. An easy and thoughtful way to give your host a gift is to incorporate it into what you are already bringing. If you bring a bottle of wine dress it up with a ribbon, festive wine topper and wine charms. These are small yet thoughtful gifts that can also be easily stored away by your host. A cheese board or knives are a great addition to an assortment of cheese and crackers. And for appetizers or dessert, you can dress them up with a gifted platter or bowl. All of these ideas are relatively inexpensive and can be found at your local Homegoods or Target. I recommend sticking with neutral colors {if possible} so your gift fits into any home or kitchen decor.

tree board | snowflake board | knives | tray | bottle topper | charms | food processor | skillet | Dutch oven

If you’re looking for larger gift ideas for the person who loves to host I have a few suggestions in mind to share with you. I love how versatile Dutch ovens are {read my top 5 reasons to buy a Le Creuset here}, so I think they are practical gifts. Macy’s Martha Stewart Dutch oven is a great dupe for the Le Creuset. I recommend saving this link to your favorites and checking it often. You can snag one of Martha’s Dutch oven at an amazing price during a sale which makes it an affordable gift.

Two kitchen staples that make great gifts for someone who loves to entertain are a small food processor and a cast iron skillet. Food processors are great time savers for party prepping. You can use it to quickly dice ingredients, shred cheese or whip together a salad dressing. I have this one and I love that it fits in my upper kitchen cabinets. Cast iron skillets can go right from the oven to the table which is perfect for appetizers like my favorite spinach and artichoke dip. They’re also perfect for searing steaks or browning chicken on the stove top. They double as cookware and servware.

A hosting must-have that I learned from my husband’s aunt is to have at least one food warming tray on hand. They’re amazing! If you are preparing a lot of hot dishes, it can be tough to shuffle them all in and out of the oven. I think sternos are a bit if a pain and also fire hazard. Instead, I use an electric warming tray similar to this one. It is great for keeping food warm before and during a party. Help make your host’s life easier by gifting him or here one of these!

Cheesy Spinach & Artichoke Dip | Gluten Free

The holidays are in full swing which means many of us will be attending party after party. Although you can’t go wrong with bringing a good bottle of wine (or two), it’s nice to bring one of your favorite dishes to share, and this one is mine! I have made this so many times over the last three years. I’ve been changing it up and must say, I’m pretty happy with my current recipe. I love to try new things and give recipes I’ve found my own spin. If you caught me making this on Instastories, you know I love making fresh chips to go with this dish too. This dip is filled with hot and cheesy goodness. Make it for your next party  and I’m sure your friends are going to love it.

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Ingredients

16oz frozen spinach, thawed, drained and chopped

16oz frozen artichoke hearts, thawed drained and chopped

8oz smoked gouda

8oz fresh mozzarella

8oz cream cheese

1/4-1/2 cup of pecorino Romano (parmesan works too)

1/4 gluten free panko bread crumbs

1 small shallot finely chopped

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1-2 tbsp EVOO

1/4 tsp black pepper, crushed red pepper & sea salt

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Directions

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

  1. Thaw then drain spinach and artichoke hearts (the more water you can remove the better. Excess water will make your dip soggy). Roughly chop both.
  2. Sauté shallot and garlic in 1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil.
  3. Grate mozzarella, smoked gouda and Pecorino Romano.
  4. In a medium size bowl combine spinach, artichoke, mozzarella, smoked gouda, 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano, cream cheese, sautéed onions and garlic. Season with black pepper, red pepper and salt (remember, pecorino Romano and parmesan can make a dish salty, so be mindful of the extra salt you add).
  5. Very lightly grease the bottom of a baking dish with olive oil. I like to drizzle a little oil in then spread it around the dish with a paper towel.
  6. Add mixture to the dish and top with remaining Pecorino Romano and sprinkle with panko breadcrumbs.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes (until dip is bubbling) then broil for 6 minutes and serve with your favorite chips, crackers or veggie sticks. Best if served warm!

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xo Miss Alyss