The Spirit of Giving

Kathleen M. Mitchell

The holidays are all about giving and showing appreciation for one another, but you don’t have to spend a fortune to show that you care. Attending a party is the perfect time to get something interesting for the host or hostess and, likewise, sending your guests home with a small treat ends the soiree on a high note. You can’t go wrong with one of the two most classic hostess gifts: a bottle of wine or fresh flowers, but try one of these outside-the-box gifts to ensure your present stands out.

Gifts to bring the host or hostess:

• A book by a favorite author.

• An unusual ingredient, such edible glitter or a lesser-known spice, with a recipe that incorporates it.

• A homemade trivet—try knitting one or making it out of wine corks.

• Personalized stationary shows you thought ahead.

• A quirky kitchen gadget—something they wouldn’t necessarily buy for themselves.

• Fancy olive oil or vanilla.

• A funky bottle opener or wine key—you can never have too many on hand at a party.

Gifts to send your guests home with:

• A nicely packaged bit of food or dessert (see the do-it-yourself truffle bar).

• A CD of the tunes playing during the party.

• For a quirky option, give out holiday socks—the cheesier, the better.

• A picture frame—bonus points if you pass around an instant-print camera or sneak off to print photos from the party to put inside the frame.

• A scented candle.

• An ingredient used in the food, such as a flavored or compound butter.

• Succulents.

• Thick, creamy hot chocolate in a to-go mug.

• Koozies personalized for the party—perfect to use while guests mingling, and to take home.

• A small but meaningful ornament, especially one that is homemade.

Holiday tips!

• Double check that you have enough toilet paper, hand soap and napkins before guests arrive.

• Give your home a quick-and-dirty cleaning before any guests arrive, but keep in mind that they are there to enjoy good food and friends—no one is even going to notice if you haven’t waxed your floor in months.

• Write down a local cab company’s phone number in case anyone gets a little too in the holiday spirit. Make sure everyone has a driver to get home and be open to the idea of someone crashing for the night rather than (dangerously) driving home.


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