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Best Guest: A Uniquely Austin Holiday Hostess Gift Guide

With the official start of the holiday season behind us, the coming weeks are sure to be filled with festive activities and holiday parties. If you find yourself invited to a few wintertime fêtes in the neighborhood or are flying out of town to visit friends, don’t fret about what to gift your host. Traditionally, a nice bottle of wine or a store-bought dessert seem like sufficient hostess gifts, but these items can be uninspired. We’ve curated a thoughtful list of hostess gift ideas that are unique and locally-inspired. The best part? They’re all under $50!

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Lick Honest Ice Cream Bowls

from Mockingbird Domestics, $28 each

Mockingbird Domestics and Lick

Lick Honest Ice Creams commissioned Foxwares’ Lindsey Wohlgemuth to create a classic ice cream bowl. The result is nothing short of adorable, especially when you pair it with a hand-carved tasting spoon ($8). And if you want the prize for best guest, show up at your host’s doorstep with a pint of Lick ice cream, too.

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Lenoir Finishing Salt

from Métier Cook’s Supply, $10 for 2 oz., $36 for 8 oz.

In 2014, Todd Duplechan and Jessica Maher, the husband and wife duo behind Lenoir, opened Métier Cook’s Supply, a resource for all things culinary. Gift ideas abound inside the quaint craftsman home-turned-boutique, so don’t blame us if you get lost in their wide selection of new and vintage cookbooks. One of their most popular items, the Lenoir Finishing Salt, is the perfect addition to any spice cabinet.


Barefoot Dogs by Antonio Ruiz-Camacho

from BookPeople, $23

If your host is a voracious reader like us, or just someone who’s impossible to shop for, make a trip to BookPeople and pick up any of the staff-recommended picks. Trust them, they know what they’re talking about. We can’t wait to grab Barefoot Dogs, the debut collection of short fiction from local author Antonio Ruiz-Camacho.

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from Slovank & Hortus Terraria, from $30

You might be tempted to nab a bouquet of flowers from the grocery store before heading to a holiday soirée, but Slovank & Hortus offers something much more special. The South Austin terrarium studio makes custom terrariums with perfect specimens of succulents, moss and cacti. And the terrariums come in a variety of sizes and styles. Slavonk & Hortus also hosts DIY parties and can deliver their living creations anywhere between Buda and Cedar Park. So skip over that ubiquitous bunch of red amaryllis at the supermarket and opt to give your holiday host a verdant vessel that will last for years.

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Throw Pillows

from Little Skunk Co., from $35

If your host has a great sense of humor and a knack for whimsy, a throw pillow from Little Skunk Co., an online home accessories shop based in Austin, is a fantastic option. Each pillow cover is handmade and comes with an optional pillow insert. And who can say no to snuggle time in front of the fire when it’s emblazoned on a soft plaid flannel pillow?


Lavender Diffuser

from Lavande, 8 oz., $32

Between traveling, gift buying and other holiday activities, the season of stress is upon us. Your host could probably use a bit of relaxation. Lavande is the brainchild of Craig Stewart, who first cultivated lavender fields in the Texas Hill Country before expanding operations to California’s Central Coast. Among the bevy of home and beauty products Lavande produces, their aromatherapy line is sure to calm the nerves of even the most stressed party host. We love the lavender reed diffuser, which you can find at farmers’ markets in both Cedar Park and Mueller.

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Olive Oil & Balsamic Vinegar Gift Box

from Con’ Olio, $35.99

After taking their fantastic olive oil and balsamic vinegar classes, we’ll never grab another bottle of olive oil that doesn’t list the date the olives were pressed. The certified experts at Con’ Olio source premium products from around the world and invite Austinites to sample these global flavors at any of their three tasting bars in town. Their shops also carry plenty of artisan snacks, including Confituras preserves and Delysia Chocolatier chocolates. Choose from over 10 oil and vinegar flavor combinations for the perfect hostess gift for your foodie friends.

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Holiday Gift Package

from Coterie Market, $49.95

In our December People Issue, we named Coterie Market owner Chelsea Staires Sun as one of TRIBEZA’s Ten People to Watch — and for good reason. We adore her online marketplace which offers local goods and special gift baskets composed of Austin products. The website offers a myriad of themed baskets, including some great options if you’re hosting overnight guests this season. You can also create a custom gift basket to suit your host’s specific taste. But we think any host would love to receive Coterie Market’s holiday gift package. It’s how Austin celebrates the holidays.

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As the warm weather begins to set in and patio parties hit our calendars, we can’t help but embrace that summertime has returned to Austin. If you’re anything like us, you’ll be celebrating the return of the season with decadent ice cream, healthy smoothies and icy cocktails from your favorite local spots.

For those days when it’s too hot to venture out, we went to Austin’s sweet treat professionals and compiled the ultimate collection of DIY recipes to make from your home. Click through the galleries below to learn how to make everything icy and sweet, from poptails for date night to ice cream sandwiches for a dinner party.


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