Hostess Gifts: Stuff They Actually Want…..

I am not one for formality, but I think some traditions should be respected.  For example, I think it is appropriate when invited to someone’s home to bring a small token of appreciation.   A host(ess) gift is meant to convey your thanks to your host/hostess for their hard work in preparation for your visit.  However, wine can only say “thanks” so many times so with Thanksgiving less than two weeks away, I thought it might be nice to look at some alternative gifts that might get you an extra helping of dessert.

Cleopatra Candle by Tocca

Scented Candles: Okay, I know that a scented candle is not that exciting, but I would be quite happy to receive the Cleopatra candle by Tocca.  A sweet yet soothing smell of grapefruit and cucumber is the perfect gift to give your frazzled host after a long day of cooking and entertaining.

You can get the Cleopatra candle from

Fleur de sel Caramels

Hot Cocoa Mix

Homemade Gifts: I love homemade candy and it’s even better if I don’t have to make it.  Receiving a homemade gift from one of my guests is the ultimate and in turn, I love giving homemade gifts.  Two of my favorite things to give are fleur de sel caramels and hot cocoa mix.  To jazz things up, I like to give the cocoa mix with two antique teacups in a small gift bag.  You can typically find unique mismatched tea cups for less than a $1 at Goodwill or an antique store.  Click here for the hot cocoa recipe I have found to work best.   As for the fleur de sel caramels, I have my own secret recipe, but this caramel recipe from Ina Garten is excellent in its own right.

Blooming Paperwhites

Flowers: I love fresh flowers as much as the next person but they can make a really predictable gift.  However, why not jazz things up slightly with a pot of paperwhites?  Decorate a small terra cotta pot or find an inexpensive glass container from a resale shop, decorate as you see fit and force the bulbs.  While not practical in all situations, a pot of paperwhites around the holidays would be an unexpected and beautiful gift that will last way longer than any flowers from the $9.99 bin at Trader Joes.  At a cost of about $6 for 6 bulbs, you can plant two or three groupings in pots starting now and have stunning gifts come Christmas.  You can purchase a variety of paperwhite bulbs from Willow Creek online or you can swing by Home Depot who is currently selling a kit.

Colorful Tea Towels

Tea Towels: I can’t seem to  have enough dish towels in my kitchen.  Whenever I think I have enough, I tend to destroy one thus always keeping me in a constant state of imbalance.  No longer confined to dreary white, tea towels like the ones above are the perfect shot of color or pattern to a household.  I am particularly in love with the  Working Class Studio Collection on  This set of two in Gecko above would be the perfect addition to my collection, especially at only $10!

Cheese Tools from Crate & Barrel

Cheese Tools: Somehow I  always end up losing cheese knives when I bring a cheese plate to a dinner party, so if I received a set of knifes/tools as a host gift, I would be quite happy.  This stainless steel set from Crate and Barrel is under $20 and paired with one of your favorite cheeses, would make a fabulous gift for the hostess with the mostess!

With some simple planning and not a ton of cash, you can get host(ess) gifts that will impress!  I wanna hear what you bring as a hostess gift.  Leave a comment and there just may be something special from Santa in your mailbox.  In addition, check back for my selection of holiday gifts for your fussy tween niece & nephew, your hard to please parents and your techno-challenged grandparents!