November 12, 2008 12:00 PM

GIFTS

For the Host

NINE GREAT IDEAS THAT BEAT A BOTTLE OR BOUQUET

nothing over $25

SEASONAL SPATULAS

Serve up holiday spirit with these candy-swirl and snowflake kitchen tools, $12 each; williams-sonoma.com

CANDLE SNUFFER

When the party’s over, this nifty little accessory will put out the flame. Bella candle snuffer, $9.95; zgallerie.com

CLOISONNE STOPPERS

These dragonfly and butterfly stoppers add a whimsical note to any celebration, $19 for set of 2; potterybarn.com

MONOGRAMMED SOAP AND TOWELS

Dress up the guest bathroom with this personalized set, $22.95; zgallerie.com

POT HOLDER & OVEN MITT

Help your host cook in style with a Stockholm flora pot holder and oven mitt, $12 each; anthropologie.com

CHEESE TOOLS

Never have the wrong knife for Brie again with this wood-handled set, $20; globaltable.com

MONOGRAM CANDLE POT

Vanilla-scented wax delights the senses, while an initial makes the gift more personal, $25; potterybarn.com

WHITE BUD VASES

Simple and chic ceramic patterned vases are a foolproof present, $20 for four 5″ vases; Mxyplyzyk, 800-243-9810

NOTEPADS AND PEN

A pair of pretty pads are matched with a bamboo-style pen, $25; iomoi.com

GIFTS

Eco-Friendly

GIVE GREEN WITH RECYCLED OR ORGANIC GOODS

SIX-PACK COASTERS

Inspired by soda cans, these colorful pop-out coasters are made from recycled rubber, $18; branchhome.com

SOAP SET

These handmade, all-natural soap cubes are available in two heavenly scents, lavender and rosemary, $16 for a set of 9; westelm.com

FLOWER-SHAPED SALAD SERVERS AND CUTTING BOARD

Bamboo kitchen tools, $16.95 for the servers, $19.95 for the board; catchingfireflies.com

SERVING TRAY AND BOWLS

Dishes in renewable and sustainable bamboo are ultramodern as well as ecologically sound. Bambu lacquer ware, $18.95 for the tray, $11.95 for each mini bowl; bambu.greenfeet.com

RICE TOTE

Go fashionably green with this Vietnamese rice sack turned messenger bag; $26; serrv.org

ORGANIC VODKA

Toast Mother Earth with vodka made from certified organic grain. It comes straight up and in vanilla- or lemon-flavored varieties, $29.99 per bottle; hitimewine.net

POP-UP PAPER PLACE MATS

Charming images pop up to delight children (and their parents) with these recycled—and recyclable—place mats, $25-$27 for 10; publiqueshop.com

SUNBURST BOWL

This flower-shaped bowl doubles as a serving piece and a centerpiece—and it’s made from recycled glass, $59; vivaterra.com

GIFTS

Cook Books

TASTY PICKS FOR BEGINNERS OR PROS

CHEF JEFF COOKS
Following his prison-to-posh dining memoir Cooked, Jeff Henderson—now giving a leg up to novices on his Food Network show—shares homey dishes. (Scribner; $30.00)

THE FLAVOR BIBLE
For cooks ready to go beyond recipes and improvise, married food writers Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg offer an inspiring glossary of foods and their natural flavor partners. (Little, Brown; $35.00)

CHOCOLAT
The U.S. edition of Stéphan Lagorce’s sweetly packaged French title is now here, with decadent ideas from wine and chocolate pairings to chocolate waffles and “intense” brownies. (Octopus Books USA; $21.99)

URBAN ITALIAN
After leaving his job at a top U.S. French restaurant, chef Andrew Carmellini lived in Italy, then devised recipes with wife Gwen Hyman in their tiny New York apartment kitchen. The result? Great ideas for the home cook. (Bloomsbury; $35.00)

A DAY AT EL BULLI
“Head and shoulders above any other chef,” raves Gordon Ramsay of Ferran Adrià. There are recipes in this 632-page visit to his avant-guard eatery, but even Adrià himself warns against trying most of them at home. (Phaidon; $49.95)

For looking, not cooking

HOW TO COOK EVERYTHING
Mark Bittman fully revised his book for its 10th anniversary. The four Top 100 lists solve most what-to-make conundrums. (Wiley; $35.00)

MADE IN SPAIN
The companion to José Andrés’ PBS show is a fine introduction to the cuisine of the moment—and a gorgeous travelogue of the Washington, D.C., chef’s home country. (Clarkson Potter; $35.00)

RACHAEL RAY‘S BIG ORANGE BOOK
Missed her last, oh, thousand books? Catch up with the 30-minute queen in a comprehensive tome of all things “yum-o.” (Clarkson Potter; $24.95)

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