the perfect


text by Fiona Clarke

If you’re lucky enough to score an invitation for a holiday dinner party, the rules are really simple. Be charming, dress appropriately, don’t talk with your mouth full, offer to help in the kitchen — and come bearing gifts. Here are eight gift suggestions guaranteed to get you invited to all future get-togethers. 


The bottle, with its hand-crafted gold leaf label created by a famed Venetian glass designer, is a showstopper in itself, but the wine inside is equally stunning. Made from 100-percent Dorona di Venezia grapes with notes of honey, salt, and white peach make this a white that even red-lovers won’t be able to resist. Venissa Bianco 2012, $190, 


This Claus Porto gift box is filled with nine hand-wrapped mini shea butter-infused soaps. Covered in artfully illustrated paper inspired by old labels and patterns from the historic fragrance house’s archives, each is blended with scents and ingredients fresh from the lush Portuguese countryside. Imbued with an artisan’s heart and soul, it’s sure to become a favorite. $75. Nordstrom, Scottsdale Fashion Square.


Le Labo’s Palo Santo 14 home fragrance is a warm and comfortable scent inspired by the burning of Palo Santo wood. This aroma features notes of cedar wood, labdanum, incense and patchouli. Each scent and bottle is made-to-order to ensure the freshest fragrance at the time of purchase. Created in collaboration with the world’s top perfumers and using only the highest-quality essential oils, the brand’s products are designed to enrich the senses. $115. Nordstrom, Scottsdale Fashion Square.


Pastificio di Martino, the legendary Italian pasta manufacturer, still uses its ancient recipe: mixing the best 100% Italian durum wheat semolina together with the spring water sourced from the Lattari Mountains. The colorful tin packaging includes two packs of Spaghetti, two packs of Penne Mezzani Rigate, one pack of Paccheri, recipe cards and a stylish chef’s apron designed by designers Dolce & Gabbana. $160. Neiman Marcus, Scottsdale Fashion Square,


Design legend Alvar Aalto created his iconic series of glass vases in 1936. Inspired by the waves in water, it has become a staple of modern Scandinavian design. Available in a range of colors and sizes, each lead-free crystal piece is mouth-blown into a mold and hand-polished by skilled craftsmen at the Iittala factory in Finland. Simply place a bunch of flowers, tie them near the base and voilà! $125. Available at The Museum Store, Phoenix Art Museum. 


Produced in the Northern Apulia region of Italy from Peranzana olives, Frantoio Muraglia Extra Virgin Olive Oil is cold-pressed using traditional granite grindstones for perfect structure and balance. The result is a robust, medium-fruity green oil whose peppery flavor offers notes of artichoke and fennel. Enjoy it in vinaigrettes, soups and sauces or drizzled over pasta, grilled meat, chicken and seafood. $50. Available at Williams Sonoma, Phoenix and Scottsdale.


Traditional cotton pillowcases scratch and tug on skin and grab and twist hair, resulting in visible sleep creases, damaged hair and bed-head. A Slip Pillowcase, made of the highest grade mulberry silk, allows skin to breathe and hair to glide across the surface, protecting and hydrating skin and reducing split ends. Soft, shiny, thick and durable, it’s recommended by dermatologists, plastic surgeons, hairdressers, and beauty experts. Standard/ Queen Size, $85. Neiman Marcus, Scottsdale Fashion Square.


Designed by Pil Bredahl for Menu, this water jug has a grip-friendly shape and a smart lid that lets the water flow out while keeping ice cubes and garnishes in. Lemon, cucumber, berries and mint are commonly used to flavor. Instead, why not think outside the bottle with combinations like pineapple-ginger, tomato-basil, orange fennel or apple-cinnamon. $75, For The People, Phoenix.