The Best Host Gifts For Summer 2015

11 host gifts sure to elicit a second invitation

Everybody knows the basics of being a good houseguest: Always help clean up, strip your bed if you've spent the night, pitch in with the cooking, dazzle everyone around you with your astounding wit and charm.

But even if you're churning out clam boils and making pitchers of Fish House Punch, there's one more golden rule you must follow: Never show up empty-handed. (Yeah, Aunt Bunny was right on that one.)

Though a bottle of booze gets the job done, why not do it right and get a proper gift? Here's what we're taking along.

Dutch Deluxes Color XL Round Board

Gracious hosts often ignore guests' insistent requests to help, but the least you can do is minimize their trips to and from the kitchen with an oversize serving tray in saturated blue or yellow (with light wood on the opposite side)., $225

Marion & Rose's Workshop Get Awesome Towel

Odds are that if your friends warrant an entire summer weekend night, they're already pretty awesome. Keep them honest (or inspire them to pick up their game) with a cheeky tea towel saying as much., $15

Tosa Sperm Whale Knife

Don't bother trying to get a fancy (or functional) knife. He's got them all. But a sperm whale knife that's equally at home on a charcuterie plate as it is sharpening pencils? Not a chance., $66

Shed Handled Pie Carrier

You took the time to make your own piecrust. You latticed the hell out of it. Are you going to let it all go to pieces en route to the party? Absolutely not. Tuck it away in a carrier fit for the task and leave it behind for your host, so he can pass on the joy., $48

Photo: Caitlin McCaffrey

Aggregate Supply Wood Inlay Wine Key

Wine keys are to bars what the other socks are to dryers: No matter how hard you try, you always lose 'em one way or another. Replenish the supply for the summer with this one: Its intricacy is incentive not to misplace it., $56

Fishs Eddy Camping Permit Serving Tray

How better to serve s'mores—even if they are just heated on the grill—than on a camping permit? (A large glass camping permit, of course.) Just be sure to soak the skewers in water before you head over, because nothing kills a s'mores vibe faster than a burnin' skewer., $15

August Morgan Retriever Cocktail Napkins

Yuppies get a bad rap—you can't fault a person for a love of mallard ducks, yachting around and too much Chardonnay. Show your popped-collar pal you appreciate staying at his cedar-shingled home on the Cape with playfully embroidered napkins., $34 for four

Série Limitée Louise Lobster Apron

If the house chef is going to the length of sourcing fresh lobster, clarifying butter and setting up each clawesome guest with a cracker and bib, she deserves a proper apron., $60

Sunnylife Pineapple Candle

Looks like a simple pineapple candle, right? Though you'd be right to say so (it is indeed a candle that does smell uncannily like pineapple), it's so much more than that. Traditionally, pineapples are a symbol of hospitality denoting far travels and a welcoming home. (Legend says Newport, Rhode Island, sea captains would stick one on their front gates to say, "I'm baaaaack!" Drop that bit of trivia with aperitifs.), $34

LSA International Dip Set & Wooden Paddle

Whip up your go-to party-pleasing dip (might we suggest onion or clam?) and present it to the head of the household in this paddle-cum-serving tray that's his to keep. (Because, really, no one ever returns your dishes.), $85

Dabney Lee Wine Tags

When your summer dance card fills up fast, you can't mess around with a different gift for every host. Turn personalized wine tags into your calling card and tailor each bottle of wine to its soiree (or just resort to our favorite rosés)., $34 for eight