Pet peeve: You go over to someone's house for a dinner party, and you go to the bathroom, and there's a fancy pair of hand towels hanging there with ridiculous embroidered gold snowflakes or something, and you can just tell that even though they're towels, and they're hanging there in the bathroom, you aren't really supposed to use them because they're decorations. So you end up wiping your hands on your pants (no fault of your own), which cost way more than the towels, rug and shower curtain combined. All because your domesticated hostess forgot to put out a separate set of towels that you're actually allowed to use.
This Gastro Gift Guide is for those people. Maybe if they don't spend their own money on this stuff, they'll be okay with utilizing it for its intended purpose. But maybe not. Either way, these gifts are far better looking than embroidered snowflakes, or Frosty hugging squirrels, or whatever the hell they found on clearance at Target.
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Spring Mix Apron (Anthropologie) This apron is adorable and funky -- so much so that you might even get away with wearing it out of the house...to Target. The pattern is bright and busy, and will surely distract from any spots that are left after you accidentally dump braising liquid on yourself. Anthro also has a half apron in this pattern, although it's not half the price. My Kind of Town Dish Towels (Uncommon Goods) Towels that add a retro flare to your kitchen. With more than seven cities to chose from, including San Francisco, Dallas, Brooklyn and Paris, these towels make the person your gifting look hip and cultural even if they've never left their own house. For a more modern statement, check out the Thrift Happens set, whose dish towels encourage you to save the planet by using phrases like "Independence is growing your own marinara." Olive Branch Tablecloth (Ange's Table Toppers) This is not your mother's tablecloth, that's for damn sure. No lace to be found anywhere, and the bold pattern picks up a dark dining room. Plus, it's handmade and one-of-a-kind. Ange has an entire Etsy store filled with unique tablecloths, but be careful not to spend your entire day browsing the site: These ship from Australia and need to be ordered by tomorrow to arrive by December 25.