What your favorite host wants this year

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The Times may earn a commission if you buy any of these gifts through links on our site. The items were independently selected.

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Cake stand
Cake stand
 
(Ricardo DeAratanha/Los Angeles Times)

A cake, cupcake or pie — really almost anything — acquires gravitas when it’s placed on a cake stand. At D.L. Rhein, they come in three sizes and a variety of colors. 3303 Motor Ave, Los Angeles.

$45-75. Purchase here→

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Salad bowl
Salad bowl
 
(Heath Ceramics)

When it comes to salad bowls, sometimes simple and elegant are best. This “Sand & Sea” shallow serving bowl, from California’s Heath Ceramics, is a classic.

$195. Purchase here→

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Pinch bowls
Pinch bowls
 
(Ricardo DeAratanha/Los Angeles Times)

Cracked black pepper. Fleur de sel. Scallions. You want to include condiments and spices on your table, but you haven’t yet mastered the art of the tiny serving dish. A terra cotta pinch bowl set may be the solution. Kinokuniya Bookstore, Mitsuwa Marketplace, 3760 S. Centinela Ave., Los Angeles

$15.75 for a set of six.

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Inspired by nature
Platters inspired by nature
 
(Ricardo DeAratanha/Los Angeles Times)

We would find it hard to resist any fruits and vegetables served in bowls that are created to look like, well, fruits and vegetables. This set of four “Vegetabowls,” from Melanie and Justin Mckenney, were made from slip-cast molds of a grapefruit, a cantaloupe, a green cabbage and a watermelon (and they’re labeled as dishwasher safe.)

$156. Purchase here→

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Candelabra with a twist
Candelabra
 
(Ricardo DeAratanha/Los Angeles Times)

Your grandmother preferred sterling silver candlesticks. Your mom crafted hers on a potter’s wheel. But what about yours? Why not re-invent the classics with copper pipe fittings? Copper candelabra from FITTINGCo. Other designs are available as well as candles (two for $8).

$48. Purchase here→

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Be prepared — with tea
Tea drops
 
(Ricardo DeAratanha/Los Angeles Times)

The sophisticated host is always prepared for after-dinner requests. Coffee? Armagnac? Grappa? If you can offer all of the above, you get points, but don’t be complacent. Someone at your table probably will ask for tea, and that’s where a Tea Drops sampler comes in handy. Citrus ginger, blueberry acai, matcha green tea, rose earl grey or sweet peppermint, anyone?

$34. Purchase here→

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The 10 and the 5 and the 101
Freeway glasses
 
(Ricardo DeAratanha/Los Angeles Times)

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Here’s a quiz: The even-numbered freeways — the 10, the 110, the 134 — in California run west to east, right? The odd-numbered freeways run north to south? After a drink or two, your test scores might suffer. Nonetheless, you’ll be imbibing from Freeway Rocks Glasses, and that’s a good thing.

$52 for a set of four. Purchase here→

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Wine chiller
Wine chiller
 
(Ricardo DeAratanha/Los Angeles Times)

Do you plan ahead? If so, you’ve probably chilled the Sauvignon Blanc or Champagne you plan to open when your guests arrive. If you neglected to chill, a double-walled, vacuum-insulated, stainless-steel wine chiller could help you save face.

$89.95. Purchase here→

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Tea towel for every state
Tea towels
 
(Ricardo DeAratanha/Los Angeles Times)

Tea towels are an excellent way to say thank you to your host or hostess — or to apologize for the mess you anticipate making later in the festivities. These State Tea Towels from the Grommet include 50 versions for 50 different states.

$15. Purchase here→

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The scent of home
State candle
 
(Ricardo DeAratanha/Los Angeles Times)

What smells do you associate with California? Salt air? Tar? Pine? Korean barbecue? This California candle from the Grommet includes notes of vanilla, sandalwood, musk and patchouli — naturally. There are 50 No Place Like Home Candles — one for each state.

$25. Purchase here→

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Pizza (party) tool
Pizza cutter
 
(Ricardo DeAratanha/Los Angeles Times)

Did someone say pizza party? You might have a crispy-crust provider as an emergency contact, or perhaps you have your own wood-pellet-fueled portable pizza oven. But no matter the source, pizzas must be sliced. Grow Venice offers a variety of pizza cutters, including the “fixie Palm Springs.”

$20. Purchase here→

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Linen napkins
Ceramics
 
(Heath Ceramics)

These Vaxbo Lin herringbone and twill patterned napkins, from Heath Ceramics, are made in Sweden from 100% linen. The colors — white, moss green, blue and black — can be paired with almost anything. The napkins come in a set of two Kypert napkins.

$44. Purchase here→

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Flamingo shot glasses
Flamingo shot glasses
 
(Ricardo DeAratanha/Los Angeles Times)

Sure, you could pour your shots into a souvenir from a college reunion, emblazoned with a caricature of an outdated mascot. Or you could seize the day and serve that tequila in a pink glass flamingo. What could be more appropriate for a drinking game? Black Market, 2060 Sawtelle Blvd., Los Angeles

$29 for a set of four. Purchase here→

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A hint of citrus and olive
Candle
 
(Ricardo DeAratanha/Los Angeles Times)

The candle market is huge, driven by the promise of warmth, fragrance and, upon occasion, light. If you aspire to something that says “welcome to my home, which happens to smell like the south of France,” checkout the field jar candle (citrus and olive), Black Market, 2060 Sawtelle Blvd., Los Angeles

$22. Purchase here→

Save a table; use a coaster

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(Ricardo DeAratanha/Los Angeles Times)

Whether it’s a party of one or a dinner party for 12, coasters will be welcome. This set of four is inspired by vintage art from a 1913 sheet music cover of California’s state song. Kinokuniya Bookstore, Mitsuwa Marketplace, 3760 S. Centinela Ave., Los Angeles.

$12.75.

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Patchwork runner
Table runner
 
(Heath Ceramics)

When it’s time to set the table, the runner often is an afterthought amid the search for matching salad forks and that water pitcher you brought back from Portugal. The Heath Ceramics patchwork runner, with un-dyed natural linen on one side and shades of teal linen on the other — could be a game-changer.

$230. Purchase here→

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A gift for the host or hostess
Hostess gift
 
(Ricardo DeAratanha/Los Angeles Times)

If you’re a guest with a modicum of manners, you must bring a gift for the host or hostess. A hanging wildflowers print from Michigan Studio could do the trick.

$20. Purchase here→

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Fig fragrance
Incense
 
(Ricardo DeAratanha/Los Angeles Times)

Fig season is short. If you hope to immerse yourself in that sweet aroma during the holidays, you might have to indulge your sense of smell with a little incense. Bottle of black fig incense.

$29. Purchase here→

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A pitcher for all seasons
Pitcher
 
(Ricardo DeAratanha/Los Angeles Times)

Serving sangria? Margaritas? Mojitos? Ice tea? A pitcher promises a refill, and the ombré glass in this offering suggests you appreciate home decorating — and hair-color — trends.

$19.99. Purchase here→

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Salt and pepper shakers
Salt and pepper shakers
 
(Ricardo DeAratanha/Los Angeles Times)

Some of us look at the dinner table as a place to consume food — or a place where relatives ask inappropriate questions. But it’s also a canvas where you can display your personal style — with sushi salt and pepper shakers.

$15. Purchase here→

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Geographically appropriate
Bottle opener
 
(Ricardo DeAratanha/Los Angeles Times)

Let’s face it — no matter how many bottles of Chardonnay or Pinot Noir you set out for a party, someone always asks, “How about a beer?” Rather than using their teeth, guests might prefer a cactus bottle opener. Kinokuniya Bookstore, Mitsuwa Marketplace, 3760 S. Centinela Ave., Los Angeles.

$20.

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Antipasto tray
Antipasto tray
 
(Ricardo DeAratanha/Los Angeles Times)

Some of us entertain with elegance. But some of us appreciate whimsy, and an antipasto tray with labels such as “little of this” provides just that. From Mud Pie.

$40.95. Purchase here→

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A bowl for snacks — or anything else
Snack bowl
 
(Ricardo DeAratanha/Los Angeles Times)

Presentation is important. You could serve pita chips or tortilla strips in the bag, but a blue, tie-dye, enamel wood bowl says class. If you’re not into salty snacks, it’s a great place to display produce.

$29.99. Purchase here→

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Tortoise-print tumblers
Tumblers
 
(Ricardo DeAratanha/Los Angeles Times)

We’ve all read about how to drink Scotch. Skip the ice. Go for the Riedel or the Glencairn glasses. Sip. Savor. Or you can let go of all those preconceived notions and savor that smoky, peaty flavor in a tortoise-print tumbler. Black Market, 2060 Sawtelle Blvd., Los Angeles.

$18. Purchase here→

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Say cheese

You understand that entertaining means snacks and starters — right? You probably want to serve them with something other than the random plastic forks and knives left over from the last block party. Consider these sleek cheese tools (with seasonally appropriate red and green handles). D.L. Rhein, 3303 Motor Ave, Los Angeles.

$11.50. Purchase here→

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