Caramel Bourbon Vanilla Sauce
There's Nutella, and then there's homemade caramel bourbon vanilla sauce. Need we say more? Package the out-of-this-world treat in glass jars and (overachievers only!) consider affixing wooden spoons to the side using twine, too. That way, when your host's midnight-snack craving calls, they'll be fully prepared -- and you'll be their hero. Word to the wise: Be sure to give yourself ample time for this one. The sauce needs a full week to set, though it's made with only six simple ingredients and initially takes less than 45 minutes to throw together.
Vintage Hand-Stamped Spoons
Keep it classy with hand-stamped spoons from one of our most beloved American Made Market vendors, Milk & Honey. Each one is crafted from vintage silver-plated flatware, and they'll arrive as a set in a sweet organza pouch. Thoughtful and sincere, this is a small gift with a big impact.
Homemade Bacon Jam
"Bacon jam" -- yes, it's a thing. A mind-blowing, 50-percent sweet, 50-percent savory, 100-percent Pinterest-worthy thing that combines brown sugar, bourbon, maple syrup, and bacon for a mouthwatering edible experience your host won't be able to stop thinking about. Eyeing a Guest of the Year award? Package your jam in a ceramic ramekin, and pair with a hunk of aged cheddar and a crostini-ready baguette.
Essential Oil Bath Fizzies
So, you want to be invited back? Allow us to introduce you to your secret weapon: homemade bath fizzies. Experiment with different essential oils until you've got the scent you desire -- and change up the colors, too. Then, package in clear cellophane bags and top it all off with a cord or ribbon bow.
Tea Towel Tote Bags
If you know how to work a sewing machine (or are looking for an excuse to learn), these deceptively simple tea towel tote bags are your next project. We just can't decide what's more exciting -- the fact that they're oh-so-chic, or that they're actually, truly useful on a daily basis.
Biscuits, Sausage, and Coffee
Maybe you're hoping to go the store-bought route, but you still want your gift to have that charming homemade appeal. Splurge on the Sunday Morning Box from Callie's Charleston Biscuits. This small, made-in-America business is legendary in South Carolina, and the box comes with two packages of shortcake biscuits, country sausage, and coffee beans.
DIY Scented Sugars
Scented sugars are a delightful, creative, unexpected gift -- and a subtle way to add flavor to tea, coffee, and baked goods. For the sweetest hostess around, simply top granulated sugar with various scented edible items, like rose petals, dried orange peels, geranium leaves, or vanilla beans, and continue layering until you like the look of the final product. Remember, you'll need to let the mixture infuse for two to three days before it's ready to be gifted.
Cheerful Painted Garden Tools
Can you dig it? These preppy, painted garden tools are the perfect gift for a green-thumb hostess. And since you'll be using stencil tape to design the pattern, you don't have to worry about being an actual fine artist.
Penuche Fudge & Chocolate-Dipped Caramallows
If you've never heard of a caramallow, then you might as well consider this a gift to yourself, too. Homemade marshmallows are dunked in gooey caramel, and then (at least in our upgraded version) the whole thing is covered in chocolate. Add some cheery packaging and a few pieces of penuche fudge (a combination of butterscotch, maple, and vanilla flavors), and you'll have your host oohing and ahhing -- in between bites, that is.
DIY Painted Cheese Board and Cheese Knives
Go beyond the typical cheese-and-crackers hostess gift with a DIY painted cheese board and matching knives. Add some cheese, and you just might reap the benefits of this gift yourself.
Artisanal Candy Buttons
For the more sophisticated hostess, pick up a pack of these peppermint candy buttons. Not only are they handmade, these vintage-looking confections are also gluten-free, vegan, and made with organic ingredients. Talk about a sweet deal.
A Cookbook and Guide
Health-conscious host? Not sure how well the fudge and caramallows will go over? Consider "Clean Slate," the latest book by the editors of Martha Stewart Living. Not only do the recipes in this cookbook and guide focus on whole, clean foods with options for almost every diet, the book is also pretty gorgeous in its own right.
A Gift of the Garden
Got a garden overflowing with fresh produce? Place fresh, homegrown tomatoes strategically in a basket along with pasta (homemade, if you're having a "Type M" moment), a small bottle of olive oil, a bit of basil, a head of garlic, and some Parmesan. No garden? No worries. Just hit the farmers' market for the freshest finds.
All-American Cutting Board
A hardwood made-to-order cutting board in the shape of the USA makes an attractive gift. Plus, it can double as a cheese board. The attention to detail in these wares handcrafted in Brooklyn by husband-and-wife team Amy Stringer-Mowat and Bill Mowat is admirable.
A Bit of Chocolate
Give the gift of Vermont's finest chocolate from American maker Nutty Steph's. This bag includes two squares of salted caramel, two squares of sea-salt dark chocolate, and two squares of toffee coffee dark chocolate.
Bar in a Box
A "bar in a box" helps an already great host be even greater. A shaker, coasters, straws, kitschy drink umbrellas, napkins, a recipe book, and a can of mixed nuts all find their home on a lacquered tray.
Homemade Brownie Bow
No fancy packaging needed here. With our printable template and a bit of confectioners' sugar, these brownies are pretty enough as is.
Emollient Hand & Body Lotion
Pamper your host or hostess with hand and body lotion from McEvoy Ranch. This one's a rich blend of olive, sunflower, jojoba, and grapeseed oils; aloe vera; chamomile; and lavender. It doesn't hurt that the packaging's pretty spiffy, too.
Homemade Drink Mixers
Ditch the store-bought cocktail mixes and get the party started with homemade drink mixers. We've got three recipes to choose from, as well as decanting and wrapping instructions. Go ahead, give yourself a pat on the back.
You're probably curious about Martha's own hostess gift preferences. Drumroll, please! Let it be known that Martha often shows up with either a bouquet of peonies or a basket of just-harvested asparagus. If you don't have any fresh asparagus lying around, flowers will work wonderfully -- especially if they're thoughtfully arranged.