Summers and getaways go hand and hand, don’t they? And what better way to enjoy summer weekends than with friends and family…even better, when it’s not at your house. When you’re lucky enough to get an invite for an overnight or a weekend (score!) it’s important to be gracious and show your host the same hospitality they have extended to you, especially when it includes your brood.
Oils, Spreads & Breads: Dipping oils and other olive-based spreads are a thoughtful and useful gift. I brought an assortment from Zabar’s to a host who had invited my family for almost a whole week one summer. I got three different flavors of oil along with some olive tapenades and a jar of eggplant caponata and three big baguettes. We had impromptu appetizers for three nights and then made garlic bread with the left overs. Also, if you’re not near Zabar’s, Trader Joes or Whole Foods, then TJ Maxx, Home Goods and Marshall’s often have these types of items in stock and they are very, very affordable (and usually the same/similar brands sold at the specialized guys).
No Place Like Home: Bring a little bit of where you are from to where you are going. For example, when I was visiting someone in Boston I brought them some real New York bagels and cream cheese–and lots of them–and by the time we were leaving two days later all twelve of the bagels were gone. Another friend loved New York cheesecake, so I went to the Stage Deli in Midtown. You know your hometown and gems that should be shared with friends. Now is the time to show your city pride!
Dessert & An Activity: Perfect for summer! The Zoku Quick Pop Maker ($49.95) is a treat and family fun all in one box! Make ice pops, fruit or yogurt pops in as little as seven minutes right on a kitchen counter. It’s the gift that keeps giving. Include their groovy recipe book ($17) as well for a guide to all that is Zoku (they look gorgeous, btw).
Picture Perfect: You need to know their taste in some way to get this one right, or just pick one that is minimalistic. What’s a nice idea is to follow up this gift after the weekend with a picture to go into the frame. Pottery Barn has some nice ones, but I love their Silver Plated Box Frame
($49) On Sale $38.99, pictured left, which can be monogrammed.
Monogrammed Treats: I had to have a couple monogrammed options, (I love monograms). These precious petits fours can be personalized with an initial or two once you pick from the incredible flavors, colors and shapes ($2.50 per piece / 12 piece minimum). I’m crazy for the pink hearts, but you can have at it and let your inner epicurean designer run wild.
Saying Thank You: When you return it goes without saying, you should send a (handwritten) thank you note, and if it was an especially magical time, you could send a little remembrance now that you know their decor and have been “behind the scenes” a bit better. Would a potted herb plant, like rosemary, or a bay leaf wreath, go great in their kitchen…Do they always run out of hand towels…Do they collect blue glass or engraved rocks…(I think you see where I am going with this). A reciprocal invite should also be in the works. If an overnight isn’t appropriate, a dinner or brunch is fine but do make the effort and you can even say so in your note.
What’s the best gift you’ve ever given or received as a hostess?
Free image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
- Chic Tabletop Ideas from Amanda Gluck of The Fashionable Hostess (thenest.com)
- Houseguesting For Dummies (outlawmama.com)
- Last Minute Hostess Gift (bowbezzy.wordpress.com)
- Great Summer Gifts for the Perfect Host and Hostess (ugiftideas.com)