For throwing a casual-chic party
French General Handmade Soirées: Simple Projects for Special Occasions
By Kaari Meng, Photos by Jon Zabala
Chronicle Books, $38.95
Who’ll love this gift set: Avid entertainers who actually attach themes to their merry-making – during the holiday season and year-round.
Why: This book takes the guesswork out of throwing (seemingly) effortless get-togethers. From monogrammed napkins to stenciled buckets (for moules frites!) and stacked-vegetable centerpieces, the book gives you the lowdown on how to prop-style like a magazine pro. With recipes, lush photography and back-of-the-book templates, it’s a great resource for hands-on types.
Sample wisdom: Eat a lot of shellfish? Make tea lights by adding wicks and wax to clean, empty oyster and clamshells. They may be tippy, so nestle them in a bed of sand set in a shallow tray or pan.