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.
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 Amazon.com.
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.
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.
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 Amazon.com. This set of two in Gecko above would be the perfect addition to my collection, especially at only $10!
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!