I was super busy that day, so at the last minute I remembered that I needed to bring a hostess gift. Flowers or wine? I didn’t want to stop at a store because I didn’t want to be late, so I grabbed what was convenient—a bottle of wine from my stock. Who could refuse a good Cabernet, right? Then I found out that our hostess was a recovering alcoholic. Needless to say, the wine came back home with us, and I was left deflated.
What did I do wrong? Wine as a hostess gift is not bad; it’s a standard token of appreciation. But my mistake was that I didn’t know my host. So I was left wondering: Was that the best I could do? What could I have done differently if I had meditated, organized, and taken a little more time? In this case, flowers would’ve been better.
After that night, I decided my gift ideas could use a little refresh and a little more imagination. The following gift ideas have worked well for me, and I’m sure they will work for you too.
Here are my top five go-to hostess gifts that are sure to please:
Homemade vanilla extract
- Buy vanilla beans and an attractive bottle with a secure lid or cork. Split the beans and stuff them in the bottle. Fill with vodka. The beautiful thing about this gift is that it’s not only consumable—it’s also regenerative—if your friend wants it to be. When it starts to get low, she can just top it off with more vodka. I tie a little label around the bottle with directions. This particular gift is a big hit.
- I love to fill up pretty sachets with fresh lavender—it’s one of my favorite scents. There’s nothing like opening a door or a drawer and having such a lovely aroma greet you. But if you don’t have fresh lavender, try filling the sachet with scented rice. Mix 1/2 a cup of rice with ten drops of your favorite essential oil, like Young Living’s Lavender, or Northern Lights Black Spruce. Stir until the rice is coated with oil. Fill your sachet. This is a fantastic gift that doesn’t require your host putting it on display, and she can throw it away when the scent is gone.
A unique spice
- This is a great gift for the hostess that loves to cook. Salt is something everyone loves, especially if it’s different. I usually give Fleur de Sel, but if you find Himalayan Pink Crystal salt or Hawaiian Black sea salt, those also make great gifts. All three salts have special and unique properties that not only make them taste better, but they are actually better for you than just regular table salt. You can also give a special peppercorn, saffron, homemade jam, or maple syrup. Feel free to think outside the spice rack.
- Try to bring a good bottle, like Veuve Clicquot. This is a dressed up bottle of wine, but it screams to the hostess: “You’re special!” But again, know your hosts before bringing it.
- They’re beautiful and always a hit. But if you want a gold star, have them cut and in a vase before you arrive. The hostess can then finish her last minute dinner details instead of looking for a ladder to get a vase down from cabinet above the refrigerator.
As you can see, I don’t like giving tchotchkes. The last thing I wanted my hostess to be thinking during the dinner party is ‘where am I going to put that tacky, glass soap shoe?’ Usually, knickknacks end up in the trash or somewhere in a garage or closet waiting for the next tag sale or until you come over again to be displayed. So I like the gifts I give to be consumable.
Bringing the hostess a gift is meant to show appreciation for her invitation, hospitality, and all of her hard work. But it doesn’t mean that you have to mortgage your home to buy something elaborate. If you meditate, organize, and take the time to get her a gift she can use, you‘ll leave your hostess elated, instead of going home deflated.
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