In Blog by Frances Largeman-Roth

(Photograph by Hallman Productions; Creative direction by Rocky Owens @box_of_rox)

A great host makes everyone feel right at home. Show them how much you appreciate them with these festive and totally welcome picks.

[starting from mid-center and going clockwise]


Blue Diamond Chocolate-Covered Almonds. Almonds are delicious on their own, but give them a dip in milk chocolate and they become divine. You can find these gems on the Blue Diamond website as part of their Classic Winter Gift Basket–an incredible gift for the most fabulous host.

Blue Diamond, Crafted Gourmet Almonds in Pink Himalayan Salt and Garlic, Herb and Olive Oil, $4.49 for a 5-ounce bag at Target. Did someone say cocktails?Anyone who entertains should keep these gems on hand. For the ultimate in minimalism, serve up those French 75s with a bowl of these delicious, crunchy almonds. The Black Truffle variety (shown below) is earthy and savory and the Rosemary and Sea Salt almonds go well with any cheese.

Elyse McGuire Handcrafted Soy Peace Candle, $38. Gift your host this decorative candle and they can feel Aspen chic, even if they’re stuck at home. Clean and woodsy, this bayberry and pine candle is hand-poured in the USA.

Paper Source Peppermint Candle, $14.95. The red design on the glass holder echoes the minty scent inside. You can set a holiday scene for up to 45 hours with this pretty light.

Blue Diamond Artisan Nut Thins in Sesame Seeds, $2.79. If you or the host is gluten-free, this is a wonderful product to bring to the party. Nutty and flavorful on their own, they won’t overpower cheese or dips. And you can snack on 13 of them for just 130 calories.

Stonewall Kitchen Ski Lodge Hand Lotion ($12.50) and Soap ($9.95). You can probably tell I have a thing for skiing at this point! This scent is quite magical and will transport you to a cozy lodge in Crested Butte, even if you’re just standing at your bathroom sink. The blend of cedar, juniper and vanilla is warm and slightly masculine (in a good way!). The lotion helps smoothe hands with shea butter and aloe, and the vitamin E in the soap keeps hands from getting chapped.

Dry Sparkling soda in Blood Orange and Cranberry, $5.99 each at Wegmans and BevMo. After all the Bailey’s and mediocre bottles of red, your host will be thrilled to receive a non-alcoholic bottle of bubbly. These 750-ml bottles are naturally flavored and lightly sweetened, and make a festive addition to any holiday table.

Alter Eco Chocolate Meets Nature Gift Box, $24.99. Don’t expect them to put this gift out to share–it’s that good. The set includes three of Alter Eco’s decadent dark chocolate bars (minimum 70% cocoa), a bag of their Coconut Clusters, and my fave–their Mint Creme Truffles. All are made with Fair Trade Certified chocolate and the best part is, Alter Eco will plant one tree with their cacao partners in Peru or every gift box sold.