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The $15 Hostess Gift I’m Sending to All My Friends, Even If We Can’t Hang Out in Real Life This Year

updated Oct 21, 2020
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Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Prop Stylist: Stephanie Yeh

One of my favorite things about going to a party or gathering in someone’s home is getting to pick out a nice little hostess gift. (Of course, the social part of it’s always fun, too!) Whether it’s a simple bottle of wine, a tea towel that matches someone’s kitchen, or something a bit more thoughtful, I love picking out a trinket that says, “Hey, thanks for having me over, making this food, and cleaning your toilet!” It’s the least I can do, right?

Of course, I haven’t been invited anywhere these last few months (I’m gonna go ahead and say it’s because of COVID-19 and not anything I’ve done … ). Sadly, I don’t see that changing. Even for the end of the year, when I’d usually have at least a half-dozen holiday parties to go to (world’s lamest humblebrag?). But I’m in the spirit of giving, and so I’ve decided to send some hostess gifts to all of my friends who would usually host me for an end-of-year party — if life was normal. And I already know what I’m going to send: these adorable mini puzzles.

I’ve been obsessed with these ever since the first few came out, a couple of years ago, and they seem especially timely now, as puzzle sales skyrocketed during the initial weeks of quarantine for coronavirus. (One game maker reported a 370 percent increase, year over year, in U.S. puzzle sales around the end of March.)

I love these little puzzles, in particular, for a few reasons. First, they’re all around 70 pieces and designed to be put together in just 20 minutes or so. Maybe during a quick Zoom call, perhaps?

Credit: Areaware

Plus, there are so many food-themed ones! (I do like to give food-themed gifts, because when my friends and I are not talking about food, we’re usually eating it.) There’s a slice of pizza, a wedge of blue cheese, a pile of french fries, a Chicago-style hot dog, and there are even some vegetable options for my more virtuous friends.

Credit: Areaware

At just $15, the price point is just right, too. A perfect sweet spot for a small token. Right now, there’s even a sale: Spend $75 or more on puzzles and take 10 perent off with the code PUZZLEMIX at checkout.

Plus: One puzzle doesn’t take up a lot of space (I try not to give gifts that end up being burdens on people!), it’s easy to ship, and it should provide a little bit of Fun. With a capital F.