- Holidays and Celebrations
Unique Host Gift Ideas
No matter the time of year, there are always parties to attend. As a good guest, you want to make sure you extend a special “thank you” to your gracious host or hostess. The standard bottle of wine is nice and so are flowers -- but you want your gift to really stand out from the crowd.
Not to worry, I’ve come up with a few fresh gift ideas that will convey your gratitude and leave your hosts marveling at your creativity!
Cookie Mix Set
Let's say you’re spending a long weekend with a dear out-of-town friend. You casually suggest chocolate chip cookies as a dessert. Isn’t it thoughtful that you brought along cookie mix as a host gift? It’s even nicer that you offer to whip up a fresh batch to show your thanks for such a warm welcome.
Now, you can cheat by buying a pre-made cookie mix complete with all the trimmings, but wouldn’t it be more meaningful to make your own? It’s not that hard, and you can put together several batches at one time and save them for other occasions. Just set up an assembly line and get everyone in the family to pitch in.
All you need are the dry ingredients that you would use to make your favorite cookie recipe. Your hostess will follow the attached recipe card – all she’ll need to add are any of the perishable or liquid ingredients.
Layer the dry ingredients in a Mason jar or clear decorative container with a tight seal to preserve freshness. Make it extra special by including a brightly hued, handled mixing bowl, spatula and spoon. Place the items and recipe card in the bowl, wrap in crisp cellophane and tie it up with a beautiful ribbon!
Stylish Playing Cards
Your bridge hosts are always full of fun and their get-togethers are nothing short of perfection. How can you repay the host and hostess with the mostest? Give them a gift suited to their impeccable style and sense of merriment. A beautifully illustrated and decorated set of playing cards is a gift befitting their cordiality.
You can find a unique boxed set of playing cards at upscale stores and boutiques, or with a quick search on the Internet. Scour antique malls for sets of mint condition vintage cards as a special keepsake for your hosts. If they are bona fide game players, throw in an elegant set of poker chips or brightly colored dominoes to make a truly impressive gift. Bound score pads and game pencils will complete the set!
Creative Cheese Board
Invited to a wine and cheese tasting? Bring along a gift that will be part of the festivities and something that will be used again and again! A slate cheese board/server and a box of chalk will let guests know what cheeses they’re sampling!
The host can place a variety of cheeses on the board and identify each by writing in the names with the accompanying chalk. In the future, they can use this rustic slate board to present anything from cheeses to appetizers to small desserts. The board can even be used to announce the evening’s menu to guests.
You don’t even need to spend a lot on this gift. Make a trip to the home improvement center and pick up a piece of slate (thoroughly clean it at home, of course) and include a box of writing chalk. Wrap it up in butcher or craft paper and tie it up with natural raffia bow!
If your host has a green thumb, consider this DIY mini garden gift. Terrariums are great gifts for novice plant lovers and master gardeners alike.
First, find an appropriate terrarium container. Choose one that is made from clear glass and has cover or opening wide enough to add small plants. It can be anything from an apothecary jar to a fish bowl. There are also many containers specially designed for terrariums – they come in a wide range of shapes and sizes. Part of the fun is picking out the perfect home for the mini-garden.
When you consider plant selection…think small. Check with your local nursery or garden center will be able to guide your search. The best plant choices are healthy, small, slow growers that thrive in a moist climate like ferns and mosses. Or you can create an arid terrarium. Think succulents and cacti. Moist or arid, look for a variety of plants that contrast in shape and color.
Layer the following materials in your terrarium container:
- 1/2- to 1-inch of sterile sand, gravel or pebbles (purchase at the nursery or home improvement center. This serves as your drainage layer.
- Thin layer of small charcoal bits to reduce odor
- A layer of sphagnum moss to keep the soil in place (omit moss when making an arid terrarium)
- 1/2- to 1-inch of potting soil (for an arid terrarium, mix equal parts coarse sand to the potting soil)
Decorate with small rocks and create small berms to add interest to your landscape. Make a small hole in the soil with your finger or pencil eraser and place your plant in. Fill (soil, or sand and soil, around the plant and roots, tamping very lightly. Make sure to allow ample space between plants.
Once you purchase all the materials for a mini garden, you can make this organic gift in a matter of a couple hours!
Thoughtful Time Saver
There's nothing more frustrating than a host or hostess who ends up spending the entire party in the kitchen doing food prep and clean up. Give then the gift of freedom and enjoyment by bringing a prepared dish to the festivities. What’s so special about that, you say?
Purchase an attractive and unique storage or serving dish that becomes part of the gift. Not only are you freeing up cooking time, you eliminate the need for them to return the container. A gift your host will really, really asppreciate!
© 2012 lindacee