How To: Hostess Gift

Like many of you, a whole slew of holiday parties await.  For my husband and I, we have been invited to three homes for Thanksgiving Day, alone (talk about spreading yourself thin).  Out of the goodness of my heart I have offered to bring something to the table, I love to cook so why not?  But there still leaves the so, what do I get as a host/hostess gift? question.  Having thrown a fair share of get togethers, a gift is kind of something that a host/hostess expects even if they say, “Oh, you really didn’t have to”.  I know, I’m being honest, but it is the right thing to do.  So, how do you go about this?  Isn’t wine the perfect gift?  Snore. 

SIZE YOUR HOST/HOSTESS UP.  I’ve worked in retail for many years and whenever I saw a distraught customer in search for just the right present for their loved one I always said, “Focus on one thing about them.”  By doing so you’re not going crazy.  The mall offers a world of choices but you are only buying one thing.

WHAT ABOUT A GIFT BASKET.  Okay, now you’re being a brown-noser.  You’re really gunning for that invitation to the next party this person is throwing, aren’t you?  My advice to that is to not just fill the basket with crap to make it look full.  One of my biggest pet peeves is when you receive a basket and it is filled with useless items that you feel bad about throwing out.   So, you hold onto them for a couple of days and then throw them out. 

SOME ALTERNATIVES TO CLICHÉ HOST/HOSTESS GIFTS:

  • Flowers = A potted plant or flower in a nice pot that is neutral, unless you are sure of their decorating scheme, they last so much longer than cut flowers and are more cost effective.  Look for a flowers that need moderate light and are easy to care for such as African violets, aloe (has medicinal uses) or jade plants (sign of luck), or a Chinese evergreen.
  • Wine = Liquor with the appropriate mixer.  Cocktails have a nostalgia that is so now.  Many of the classics are getting a twist added to them, so kick it up a notch.
  • Serving platter=I’m not going to knock this too much because one can never have too many, but a lot of people are maxed out on space.  Opt for a set of interesting side plates that can also be used as small serving platters for tapas (small plates) type serving style.  I love using small plates down the center of a buffet.

OTHER POSSIBILITIES:

  • Cheese boards.  Skip on the wine, because chances are, there will be plenty of wine where ever you are going.  But a cheese board with a selection of artesian cheese is a beautiful thing.  Be sure to select your cheese as though you are putting together a wine flight, you want ascension in flavor.  I recommend checking out Taste Unlimited which has many locations here in Hampton Roads.
  • Luxurious laundry detergent or even eco-friendly laundry detergent.  Not only is this a practical gift but a very different gift as well. 
  • Fragrant soaps.  I don’t know a woman that does not love Bath and Body Works.  Hand soap and lotion is a staple for any household.  Find that perfect combo for your host/hostess’ kitchen or powder room and you’re sure to be on their mind each time they entertain.
  • Artesian pasta.  Everyone cooks pasta at home so why not give your host/hostess a selection of pastas that cannot be found at the grocery store?  Pop into your local gourmet food store and peruse their pasta shelf.  You may want some for yourself.

THE PACKAGING.  I love to wrap, it’s my thing.  Don’t worry, I’ll be doing a whole How To about wrapping, but my only advice is to really get creative by using non-wrapping type materials.  Carry the theme of your gift into your wrapping, that’s always the easiest.

Categories: Entertainment, Food & Drinks