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Gifts for the host

Thoughtful, simple, and affordable gifts to thank your hostess

Thank your hostess with a small and thoughtful gift. Photo credit:

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The holiday season is in full swing, and by now your social calendar is probably filled up. Inviting friends and family into your home for dinner, cocktails, or entertaining is a lot of work and effort, and a small token of appreciation is in order. These gifts will show your host or hostess how much you appreciate the invitation, and ensure you get invited again.

The best types of gifts are the ones that require some thinking, and show the recipient that you know what they like and what they are into. If you don't know your host very well, ask about the evening -- are they making a home cooked meal, signature cocktails, or playing games? Whatever is on the agenda, use that as your starting point for choosing a gift. Don't go overboard in cost, you could make your host uncomfortable by spending too much; keep it to $20 or less. Unless you are staying for a few days, then spending a little more on a thoughtful gift would be appropriate.

Now you've asked about the evening and your host is creating an extravagant meal cooked from scratch because they just love to cook. This is your first tip NOT to bring more food (unless your host requested that). You think you're helping by bringing a store-bought cheese and meat platter but you're not. You're throwing off the intricately planned menu and making more work for your hostess to find a serving platter to serve it on. Consider instead any small kitchen or chef-related item. A set of nice serving spoons is always useful to have, as well as a durable apron. You could also bring a pair of fancy holiday hand towels with peppermint hand soap. If you are a foodie yourself, consider some of your favorite ingredients. Do you have a type of seasoning or salt that is your favorite? Bring that and tell your host what you love making with it and why it's special. Your host will already begin planning her next menu with her new fancy seasonings.

Is your host planning an evening of aged Scotch and fine wines? Now is the time to bring on the extra food (i.e. store-bought cheese and meat platter) in addition to a gift for the alcohol enthusiast host. Consider whiskey spheres, an inexpensive way to chill your alcohol without diluting it. Many wines and beers have their own type of glass, such as a lager glass, porter glass, or pint glass. Grab your favorite specialty beer and gift that with the matching glasses. If you decide to bring wine or beer (or any type of alcohol), bring something for the evening as well as something for the host to enjoy later. Encourage your host to put it away to enjoy themselves another night, but don't be discouraged if it ends up getting pulled out and drank that same night.  

If you're still unsure about what your host would appreciate, there are some more generic gifts that are always winners. A large jar candle with a holiday scent like pine, balsam, cedar, or cinnamon will go over very well. You could also bring a game that everyone could play. Cards Against Humanity is very popular for adults, or Exploding Kittens for the younger audience. If all else fails and you decide to bring flowers, splurge and buy an actual arrangement (not just loose flowers) that comes in a vase. Don't bring anything that creates more work for your host; she doesn't have time to trim the stems and find a vase.

This time of year isn't about the gifts, but about taking the moments to think about the people you care about. Gifting is just one way to say thank you, but there are certainly many other ways to say it. You may know a better way to show your host how much you appreciate them, and we say go for it. What really matters is that we take the time to say thank you and enjoy spending time with the people we care about.

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