living a well tended life... at any age

favor-“ette”: bring breakfast

As a host (and a guest) for many years, I have often wrestled with the notion of the “perfect” hostess gift.

bring breakfast, pound cake and coffee

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).

Pretty tea towels – again, not something I treat myself to, but always appreciate. And practical too (check out these towels from Studiopatro and this video for 12 clever ways to use a tea towel).

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).

And this:

bring breakfast, pound cake and coffee

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!


  1. Shalagh Hogan on March 18, 2014 at 3:55 pm

    I agree, although I don’t want to, that you have to over think the gift. The wine, the watering, the orchids? Towels may not be their taste, gluten free and sugar abstination being rampant, smelly things cause sneezing fits, I say the bringing of Olive Oil or coffee or fancy homemade condiments,olives, pickles,or chutneys. I’m betting you have a stash of recipes for those somewhere.
    Thanks for making me think for future gifting needs.

    • sherisilver on March 18, 2014 at 4:56 pm

      Sounds like a series to me! 🙂

  2. Pat on March 18, 2014 at 6:21 pm

    I totally agree about the flowers but I don’t understand the ” no orchid” clause. They are virtually care-free, beautiful and last a long long time. Are they not cool?? Anyway, I loved many of your other ideas. Breakfast, the olive oil and I collect tea towels so I really like that idea!

    • sherisilver on March 18, 2014 at 7:19 pm

      Pat, I’m an orchid-murderer. For real.

  3. most lovely things on March 19, 2014 at 6:49 am

    This is truly the best gift….breakfast for the next morning! Beautiful and thoughtful! Oh and of course delicious!

    • sherisilver on March 19, 2014 at 12:51 pm

      Thanks Annie! xo

Leave a Comment