This past weekend, we hosted a barbecue/ping pong tournament at our home to celebrate a birthday in addition to Memorial Day. None of our guests showed up empty-handed either--we have enough beer, booze, and chips for the next barbecue! However, one couple brought over a gift bag full of fun and functional things that we could definitely use over and over again for future summer parties which inspired us to create our own shortlist of barbecue-themed gifts...
1. Beer Koozies
Beer koozies not only keep your drink cold, but it solves the problem of, "Is that my drink? Are you sure?" We like to get the cheesy beer koozies in the $1 bin at Ralphs (the ones with dolphins screened with neon ink) when we're running low...and then there are the extra special ones, like EmilioFish's Tall Bike Tall Boy Beer Koozies which can hold 22oz to 24oz cans.
2. Bamboo Plates, Set of 8
Considered as the greener option to paper plates, this set of organic bamboo is biodegradable and sturdy. The only downside? These plates are a bit pricier, especially considering that they're designed for one-time use. Another idea we like as a gift in lieu of bamboo plates (the ones featured here are from Cost Plus World Market) are fun melamine plates, like these polka dotted ones from C.S. Post & Co.
3. Microwave Tupperware Cereal Bowls
About six years ago, we received a set of 3 Tupperware containers from a friend's mother as a thank you gift--and they're still in rotation today. They're so handy and versatile, and perfect for either prep work or leftovers. These airtight cereal bowls come in a set of 4 and can be stacked to save space in your refrigerator.
4. Citronella Candles
It goes without saying how useful these bug-repellent candles are, especially when the mosquitoes start coming out when the sun goes down. It's always good to have a stock of these stashed away, from the designer-y styles (like the Crate and Barrel ones shown), or the more utilitarian-looking ones that come in galvanized buckets.
5. A Bag of Ice
You can never have too much ice at a summer barbecue. Never.
6. Bottle Opener
Bottle openers are great, affordable gifts especially since there's a wide range of styles available. You can pretty much find a bottle opener to fit any personality, and they always come in handy. Speaking of handy, we liked the look of the screwdriver bottle opener available of Uncommon Goods.
7. Salad Plant Server
For all of your whimsical salad-loving friends, here's a cute gift: Salad servers that look like plant shoots growing out of a terracotta pot. This Salad Plant Server is also available at Uncommon Goods.
8. A Plant
When all else fails, bring a plant. It's a great gift that lasts longer than a bouquet of flowers. This potted hydrangea is from the Martha Stewart's 1800flowers collection, but you can hit up your local nursery or grocery store to pick up a wide variety of plants. In a pinch: Potted orchids from Trader Joe's.
9. Happy Face Branding Iron
If your host is grill-happy, consider giving them this cheerful branding iron that puts a smile on every piece of meat on the grill.
10. Hand Squeeze Juicer
A friend of our gave us one of these after noticing we had a lemon tree in the backyard. It works amazingly well--much better than all the ones we used previously, at least--and we don't cringe when we want to make lemonade or margaritas. These hand squeeze juicers by Amco are made of enameled aluminum and are dishwasher safe.
Got your own gift suggestions? Share it with us in the comments!