When someone invites you into her home to celebrate a special holiday like Thanksgiving, show your appreciation by bringing a hostess gift. Start by thinking about your hostess and her entertaining style, then select an item that she will truly enjoy. Need some suggestions? Here are 10 hostess gifts we think she's bound to love.
- Flowers: A fresh bouquet of flowers is always a lovely gift and doubles as a great Thanksgiving centerpiece. Cut and arrange some Fall flowers in a vase, tie with a pretty bow, and give the whole thing to the hostess. This way she won't have to find a vase, fill it with water, and cut the flowers in the middle of her party.
- Box of Macarons: There are many mail-order macaron bakeries, so rather than traveling with your gift, arrange for it to arrive at the hostess's address. We're partial to the Payard 24-Piece Parisian Macarons ($55) due to their delicate packaging, delightful texture, and assortment of delicious flavors.
- Serving Tray: A hostess can never have too many serving trays for appetizers, and this small cast iron tray ($39, originally $49) is a great base to start a collection. It can be used over and over again for holidays year round.
- Wine: Perhaps the easiest and most standard hostess gift is a bottle of wine. Pick up a moderately priced varietal from a local wine shop. For a red, select something versatile and crowd-pleasing like 2012 Folie à Deux Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir ($20). If you want a white, you can't go wrong with the 2011 Butternut Chardonnay ($18). As for a sparkler, Mumm Napa Brut Prestige ($22) is delightful, light, and perfect for toasting.
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- Herb Growing Kit: For the hostess with a green thumb, gift her this egg carton herb growing kit ($13). It includes soil, little shovels, and the following seeds: basil Genovese, chives, flat-leaf parsley, oregano, thyme, and sweet marjoram. Once the seeds have sprouted, the egg carton cups can be easily divided and transported to larger, more permanent pots.
- Spirits: After wine, another common hostess gift is a bottle of alcohol. Gift the hostess St. Germain ($34), a sweet elderflower liqueur that adds a flowery flavor to Champagne cocktails, along with the ingredients for a grapefruit-elderflower sparkler to toast to Thanksgiving.
- Wine Charms: A set of wine charms, like these silver chalkboard charms ($45 for 20), can be used on Thanksgiving and at many parties to come.
- Gift Basket: Sure, you can purchase an expensive gourmet gift basket, but it's really easy and more personal to make your own. Pick up a basket from a local craft store and fill with your favorite cheese (we suggest Cypress Grove's Midnight Moon aged gouda and Humboldt Fog goat cheese), salami (Columbus has wine-flavored salame that is excellent), crackers, jarred olives, a bottle of wine, etc.
- Monogrammed Cocktail Napkins: Customize cloth cocktail napkins ($15 for six plus $7 per napkin for monogramming) with the hostess's name or initials. It's a gift she is likely to reuse over and over again.
- Homemade, Edible Gifts: Sometimes the most cherished and appreciated gifts are those that are homemade. From homemade confections to jarred goods, these edible gift recipes can't be beat.