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8 creative hostess gifts that aren't a bottle of wine

Whether you're heading to a housewarming soiree or a low-key barbecue, you don't want to show up empty-handed.
/ Source: TODAY

Summer party season is in full swing and whether you're heading to a housewarming soiree or a low-key barbecue, you won't want to show up empty-handed.

The classic bottle of wine is always a safe bet, but it can also get a little tired. Flowers are beautiful, but it's actually considered poor manners to bring them as a hostess gift. The host probably has enough to do getting ready for the event so sending them in search of a vase just adds to their long list of tasks.

It can be easy to avoid these pitfalls with a little thoughtful planning! Zulily's senior lifestyle editor, Amy Goodman, has seven creative suggestions to break you out of your gifting rut.

1. Cotton Candy Maker, $42, Kohl's

Cotton Candy Maker

This super sweet gift is looks like a retro cotton candy machine!

2. Felt Letter Board, $66, Etsy

Felt Letter Board

Your host will have a great time displaying their party's theme or menu on this board with interchangeable letters.

3. Round Beach Towel, $30, Boohoo

Round Beach Towel

Watermelon Circle Towel, $68, Bando

These novelty towels are the perfect thank you for a pool party invite!

4. Marble Tic-Tac-Toe Game Set, $35, Crate & Barrel

Marble Tic-Tac-Toe Game Set
Crate & Barrel

Not only does this set look glamorous, it'll inspire everyone to play the minute they see it!

5. One Smart Cookie Cookie Jar, $40, Kate Spade

One Smart Cookie Cookie Jar
Kate Spade

Fill this adorable cookie jar with delicious baked goods for something the host can use now and later.

6. Wood Boat Serving Bowl Set, $80, Pier 1 Imports

Wood Boat Serving Bowl Set
Pier 1 Imports

If you're volunteering to bring the salad, come with a novelty serving set and plates to leave behind for the generous host.

7. Katalla Bay Ceramic Dinnerware, $8 each, Pier 1 Imports

Katalla Bay Ceramic Dinnerware
Pier 1 Imports

8. Pineapple Beverage Dispenser, $80, Pier 1 Imports

This festive dispenser is both adorable and symbolic! The pineapple often serves as a traditional sign to welcome guests.

Pineapple Beverage Dispenser
Pier 1 Imports