Home gifts to warm the host’s heart

The Modesto Bee (Sunday) - - Explore - BY KEN­DRA NI­CHOLS

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.

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.

Serax’s juice straws:

$19, amara.com. As con­sumers and com­pa­nies 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.)

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.

KATHER­INE FREY The Wash­ing­ton Post

Swedish dish­cloths from Scan­di­na­vianShoppe.com, from $6.

KATHER­INE FREY The Wash­ing­ton Post

Most Likely to Mi­crowave oven mitt from Blue Q, $12.99, ama­zon.com.

KATHER­INE FREY The Wash­ing­ton Post

Clar­ity bowls from CB2, $5.95 to $11.95, cb2.com.

KATHER­INE FREY The Wash­ing­ton Post

Cookut’s easy cock­tail set, $14,47, ama­zon.com.

KATHER­INE FREY The Wash­ing­ton Post

Small nat­u­ral can­vas hang­ing planter by Good Com­pany Wares, $34, be­ing­good­com­pany.com.

KATHER­INE FREY The Wash­ing­ton Post

A per­son­al­ized Christ­mas or­na­ment from Magic Mark­ings Art, $50, etsy.com.

KATHER­INE FREY The Wash­ing­ton Post

Hold ad­justable vase from Sa­gaform, $44.99, zola.com.

KATHER­INE FREY The Wash­ing­ton Post

Förädla serv­ing stand from Ikea, $24.99, ikea.com.

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