As a host (and a guest) for many years, I have often wrestled with the notion of the “perfect” hostess gift.
I’m sure you’ll agree with me that no one likes to show up to a party or dinner empty-handed – but what’s the right gift to give?
Wine is tricky – and can be awkward if your host has certain wines already selected for the meal. Does she now open yours to be polite? Or put it aside to enjoy at another time (and risk offending her guest)? Same goes for dessert.
Flowers? I never bring them, unless I bring one of these vases too. Otherwise your (possibly harried and definitely busy) host now has to stop what she’s doing, scramble for a vessel and cut/arrange/water your “gift”. No (and NEVER orchids. Just, never.).
So what are some of my favorite hostess gifts to give (and receive)?
An indulgent candle – something clean smelling, preferably. It’s the kind of gift I don’t usually get for myself, and a nice way to freshen up a “post-party” house. My favorites are from Saipua (a Brooklyn based company that I wrote about a while back).
Any kind of bath/body product – the fancier the better. Hand creams, bath oils, body scrubs are all such a treat – and a nice way to pamper your hard-working hostess.
Some nice olive oils (I love Pure Mountain’s products – excellent quality, a great value and they always include recipe ideas to accompany each oil).
We celebrated a friend’s 50th last weekend, at a party in his home. And I brought a gift that I personally love to receive – that is, breakfast for the following morning!
There’s no end to the variations on this idea. You could bring a French baguette and some fancy preserves. Or a tin of exotic tea and a basket of scones. Or how about pancake mix with a bottle of maple syrup?
I sent my double vanilla pound cake with a small bag of coffee (ground, in case they didn’t have a grinder).
So tell me – what are some of your favorite hostess gifts? Let’s compare!