Don't show up empty-handed: Holiday gifts for the party host

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Gifts for the holiday party hosts are a must. It doesn't have to be anything extravagant, but a simple something shows that you're thankful for their hospitality. Here are some ideas for what you can bring to the party this year.

Fresh holiday cheer 

Source: Anthropologie

Even hosts could use stocking stuffers. These adorable soaps are festive in both their scents and their packaging. They're available in sugar plum, peppermint sticks and le macaron and are wrapped like tiny trinkets under a tree. And for only $9 a piece, they're the perfect addition to any of the gifts on the list.

Price: $9

Buy now: Mini & Merry Bar Soap

Entertain with ease

Source: Crate and Barrel

Even hosts who seem to have everything always want more, especially when it comes to space. Tiered serving dishes help maximize even the smallest of countertops. They're great for any food occasion, so although holiday designs may seem cute now, they'll probably collect dust 11 months out the year.

Galvanized iron gives this three-tier server a modern look that's ideal for both casual and formal events. Plus, the curved handle on top makes it easy to transport.

Price: $49.95

Buy now: 3-tier server

Holiday scents without the hassle

NEST Festive Petite Diffuser Trio
Source: Sephora

Some people are too busy to relax with candles at night. Others are forgetful. Whatever the reason, reed diffusers are a great alternative. They're simple, elegant and can spruce up any room.

This set from Nest includes three mini reed diffusers: holiday scent, birchwood pine and sugar cookie. Gift sets aren't just for the recipient. They ease stress on the giver because they allow them to give the fragrance without worrying about picking the wrong one.

Price: $54

Buy now: NEST trio

Hangover-free holiday fun

Source: Seedlip

The holiday season can overflow with alcohol. Some may love it, others may not. More people are turning to "mocktails" as a way to enjoy creative drinks without the buzz. They're typically made with all the mixers minus the booze.

Seedlip wants to change that and let people make their favorite drinks with what it calls the first non-alcoholic spirits. They're copper-distilled and available in two flavors, "Garden 108" and "Spice 94." Diageo's venture arm invested in the British company last summer, which started selling its products in the U.S. online this year.

Price: $45

Buy now: Seedlip Non-Alcoholic Spirits

Serve cheese in style 

Source: Crate and Barrel

Help your host ditch the plastic bowls. Cheese boards make food, and the host, instantly look more sophisticated. Boards themselves are works of art, and they create a canvas to arrange slices, cubes, even whole chunks of cheese, crackers and fruits.

This circular sheesham wood board has a gold handle that makes it both functional and stylish. The set includes three cheese knives to match.

Price: $49.95

Buy now: Beck Cheese Board & Knives Set

Save someone's skin this winter

Source: Macy's

Winter weather can sap moisture from skin. That's why lotion is a must-have around the holidays, especially ones that are packed with nutrients.

These Laura Mercier soufflés are luxuriously smooth and loaded with skin quenchers like vitamins and oils. The pack provides both skin protection and a fun way to sample six different scents.

Price: $62

Buy now: Laura Mercier Body Creme Set

Wine 101 

Source: Crate and Barrel

Anyone can give wine. Chances are by the end of the party, the host will have received numerous bottles. Not everyone has the tools to handle their newfound collection, though.

That's why this year you should give the gift of tools. This set includes a corkscrew, a gel cooler, a wine saver, a dripless pourer and silicone stoppers. You'll either create someone's collection or help them upgrade it.

Price: $29.95

Buy now: Wine Essentials Gift

Make it easy to give thanks 

Source: Paper Source

Snail mail might seem like ancient history to some. But in today's flurry of emails, texts and Facebook messages, handwritten cards stand out. Receiving a thank-you card that someone took the time to write and mail is almost guaranteed to spread instant holiday cheer.

This set includes red envelopes, a custom stamp and a tool that helps you write addresses straight, just what you need after you've indulged in a tad too much eggnog.

Price: $54.89

Buy now: Snail Mail Holiday Bundle

Trays that are for more than serving

Source: West Elm

These shiny lacquer trays are practical and versatile. The depth of the tray and the handles make them helpful for transporting food, and the fashionable design makes them easy to decorate with. Place them on a coffee table and top with flower-filled vases and candles, or use them near a desk to hold work papers and mail.

Price: $35 and up

Buy now: Lacquer Trays

Warm up with whiskey 

Source: Amazon

While whiskey is a go-to winter weather warmer, the drink itself is best served cold. These ice molds accomplish that while also making any cocktail look sophisticated. This one is simple: Fill it with water, put it in the freezer and plop the frozen sphere into your drink.

Price: $14.95

Buy now: Whiskey Ball