Chances are you will be attending one or two parties, dinners or gatherings at a friend or family members house this holiday season. The nice thing about going to someone else’s party is that you are not really responsible for anything but showing up on time and having a good time. This being said it is always a good idea to bring a host or hostess gift to show your appreciation for their hard work. The question is what do you bring? I am going to break down the top 5 hostess gifts that are appreciated at any holiday gathering.
The right hostess gift is all about assessing the situation. If you are going to a cocktail party bring you could bring a nice bottle of vodka but if it’s a kids party maybe forgo the alcohol and bring flowers. I prefer to bring a gift that can be utilized at the party. While some of these gifts are very traditional all can be used by your host at the party they are hosting.
Wine is a fantastic gift to bring for a cocktail party or dinner party. Make sure to bring a wine you will enjoy and not just try to get rid of that nasty wine you have hiding in the back of your closet. You can get a relatively nice bottle of wine for under $20 and it is also a great last minute gift. If you want to step it up a bit more bring some cool wine glass tags too! This way all the guest can identify their glass. Wine is my go to gift for just about any party or gathering.
Recommended Wine Picks around or under $20
RED: 2006 “Old Vine Cuvee” Zinfandel from Four Vines, California (2007 is okay if you can’t find 2006) - A very smooth red that will go with about anything and please just about any pallet. This is my number one pick for red white I am drinking right now.
White: La Crema Chardonnay, California: This is hands down my favorite dry white wine. It goes very well with light dishes but also taste great alone.
Sweet: Marchesi di Gresy La Serra Moscato d’Asti DOCG 2007 (Italy). This wine is slightly fizzy but not quit sparkling. It is lightly sweet and is the perfect compliment to desserts. This is the perfect wine gift for the host or hostess who prefers a sweet wine. It is fairly easy to find in just about any large liquor store and will cost around $15.
Sparkling: Sparking Wine – Bianchi’s California Champagne I order this stuff online and keep it on hand in case I need a more festive gift or just want to enjoy some delicious sparkling wine. This is a great champagne for special occasions as well as every day enjoyment at a great price of $14.00! Not sure where or if you can buy it locally but I just order mine online and they ship it right to my door.
Flowers are a great hostess gift in a pinch. If you are short on time and cash flow flowers make a big statement without having you spend a pretty penny. Stay clear of roses and opt for mixed bouquets in bright colors. You can also consider a small potted plant which will last far longer then cut flowers. A great example is when my mom gave my boyfriend’s mom a lovely potted orchid as a hostess gift. Simple and elegant. It was well received.
Do not bring a tin of mixed nuts to a party and think you are giving a great gift. If you want to give a great gift take those mixed nuts and put them in a nice jar with a pretty ribbon on it. When it comes to gifts like this, its all about presentation. That being said, mixed nuts are a wonderful gift, especially if you show up to parties early or on time because they can be put out for other guest to enjoy.
Gourmet Cookies or Chocolates.
Bringing some lovely cookies or chocolates in a nicely appointed box is a great way to say thanks. Be sure to bring enough to share and stay away from generic chocolate boxes that you would get on Valentines day. This is a gift that presentation is all about the box. If you want, you can make some homemade cookies and place them in a pretty box with some tissue paper or a nice tin. Another great variation is to dip small pretzels or pretzel sticks in white and milk chocolate and give those as a gift.
Here are some sweet gifts I like:
After most dinner parties and even during some cocktail parties coffee is generally offered to guest. Why not give your hostess a variety of gourmet coffee samples to serve to the party guest as well as enjoy the morning after. You can pick up some great small packages of gourmet coffee at any gourmet shop or Cost Plus (also known as World Market). Put them in a nice box or basket and you are all set.
You do not have to spend a fortune to give a host or hostess give. Just remember that when you are looking for the perfect gift for your host or hostess, going simple and elegant is the key.
About the Guest Blogger: Kelly Noble is the Relationship Manager for Foodservicewarehouse.com, a foodservice equipment and supply provider that also specializes in industry education. She has been an avid wine drinker and home cook for over 8 years and writes the Wine & Dine blog which focuses on her recipes, food trends and favorite wines.