Despite my passion for gift-giving and shopping (it’s kind of the whole premise for this blog) when it comes to the holidays, hosting and feeding my family and friends takes the cake–literally and figuatively. I love preparing the menu, decorating our house with my husband and kids–well, he watches and directs while we decorate but it’s still really fun–finding a fun activity for guests to break the ice and then pulling it all together. That said, I also visiting family and friends: our annual tradition of going to my aunt’s for Christmas Day, celebrating New Years Eve with my husband at “our” restaurant where we had our wedding reception, watching all the kids and grown-up men get sweaty and hungry playing soccer (or maybe it’s football) on Thanksgiving at my in-law’s.
Whether it’s an established tradition or a new invitation that finds you celebrating in someone else’s home, it’s customary to bring a token of thanks. I’ve written about hostess gifts before, and my “rules of the road” (a bunch of them will work for the holidays too so feel free to check them out again, particularly this one and this one) but these gift ideas focus on unexpected and holiday specific ideas to warm the hearts and homes of your hosts.
Decorations & Ornaments:
I always appreciate an ornament as a hostess gift, and have given a few myself. I especially like the selections from places like Urban Outfitters because you can really show personality (think sushi, a gaming controller and a six-pack of Coke). Also, I love wreaths, especially ones that can be decorative and serve another purpose like being made from fresh herbs (just make sure it’s not hung outside).
You Name It Personalized Wooden Ornaments ($16.95, Personalization Mall)
Mini Wish Ornament Set ($59.95, Red Envelope) – if you know something specific your recipient is wishing for… you can put it inside, but don’t go too personal (a baby = no-no / a promotion = nice idea).
Skull Ornament ($14, Urban Outfitters) I’m obsessed with skulls
Holiday Frame Ornaments (with monogram option, $12, Pottery Barn)
Cook’s Herbs Wreath ($49.95, Williams-Sonoma)
Lit Boxwood Peace Wreath ($99, Pottery Barn)
For the Kitchen
If your host is passionate about cooking, these are some cool ideas that will surprise and delight a food-enthusisast (I’m especially loving the cheese plate).
Gourmet Sea Salt Sampler ($49,95, Amazon)
Wines & Spirits
Spirits flow during the holidays, and if your host is like me, a few new wine-accessories are always welcome. For when the guests leave, a set that lets your hosts unwind is also very thoughtful.
Skull and Crossbones Pewter Wine Stopper and Savor Nickel Monogramed Stopper ($21.95 each, HomeWetsBar.com)
Waring Pro Iceless Wine Chiller ($89.94, Home Depot)
Whiskey Lovers Set ($59.95, Red Envelope).
Gift Your Talents:
Don’t underestimate the value of YOU! If you’re a photographer offer to take some snaps of the gathering; if you’re a wine expert select some fab pairings for the meal (maybe bring one too); if you’re a pro with blooms or decor do a centerpiece. Your host/hostess will surely appreciate your expertise…just make sure to chat in advance as any professional would.
Conversations Starters and Pieces
When new people come together it’s nice to be able to have some ice-breakers on hand. These are great additions to that arsenal.
After cooking and preparing a feast for many, the last thing a host wants to think about is breakfast the next day. Here are some options–some require preparation and some are ready to eat–that are delish.
Morning Buns set (prepare yourself, $44, Williams-Sonoma) and Chocolate Croissant set (prepare yourself, $39.95, Williams-Sonoma)
Ready to eat: Jimmy the Bakers Traditional Cinnamon Buns ($36.32 for 12, QVC) and Seasonal Muffins ($47 for 24, QVC)
- Mini Scrapbook Christmas Ornament (jillstamps.com)
- 15 Great Hostess Gifts Under $500 to Start the Holiday Party Season Off With Gratitude (purseblog.com)
- Holiday Crafts: 14 DIY Eco-Friendly Christmas Ornaments (craftingagreenworld.com)
- Holiday Gift Guide: for the Hostess (latestwrinkle.wordpress.com)