Go-To Gifts for the Host

While a super-thoughtful and creative hostess gift is always the goal, it's not always the easiest thing to come up with.   Below, 10 of my favorite things that are appreciated across the board.

1. A recipe book with lots of beautiful, glossy pictures.  Make it personal by writing a little note on the inside cover.  Include the date, the event and a simple sentiment such as "Your cooking is always something to look forward to! Thank you for your hospitality!" 

EG Favorite: Southern Living at Home Ultimate Cookbook. $15 on Amazon

2.  A bud vase with personality (and a bloom or two!).  Your host can set out during the party for some added flair, and enjoy it long after the blooms (and guests!) are no longer around.

EG Favorite: World Market Purple Flower Bud Vase. $12.99 Worldmarket.com

3. Trivia, quiz, puzzle and game coasters.  A wonderful addition to any party, they protect your hosts furniture and act as ice breakers for guests

EG Favorite:  Bar Games Drink Mats. 30 mats for $11.95 fridgedoor.com

4.  A book of cocktail recipes.  How many of us these days know how to mix an old fashioned?  Invite your host to have some fun trying their hand at mixology. Who knows? Maybe they'll invite you back to sample! 

EG Favorite: The Unofficial Madmen Cookbook. $12 at Amazon.com
5.  A potted plant or herb.  The beauty of a potted plant is that the host doesn't need to worry about immediately finding a vase, when they have a thousand other things on their mind.  In addition, the herbs can be useful for any last minute garnishing the host might like to do.  

EG Favorite: Trader Joe's Potted Herb garden $7.99

6. Flavored Gourmet Coffee.  It's always nice to have something unique to try with dessert.  Try to find a small local coffee store to support.  Local blends are often the tastiest (and most chic!). Consider decaf for those who are early risers.  

EG Favorite: Greencastle Coffee Roasters Lisa's Winter Wonderland, $10 for 1 lb. Greencastlecoffee.com 
7. Elegant or Stylish Hand Soap. It's one of those little things that we all love in our bathrooms, but seldom buy for ourselves.  And unlike bar soap, it doesn't lose it's appeal when the wrapper is removed.  

EG Favorite:  Mrs Myers Basil Scent Hand Soap.  It's paraben free, made in the USA and only $3.99!  www.mrsmeyers.com

8. Unique matchboxes.  One of my favorite little accessories are unusual matchboxes.  Too pretty to put away, they're always available when you need them!

EG Favorite: Matches: Flowering Tree, $5.50 thefound.com

9. Fashionable Bottle Opener.  Rather than leaving a basic one on the bar (or worse, hearing one of the guys say "Check it out: if you just put the edge of the cap on the counter, and then hit the bottle real hard..."), supply your host with a fabulous alternative. 

EG Favorite: Key Bottle Opener $7.99, worldmarket.com

10. A bottle of Limoncello.  Wine is great, but try to supply your host with something fun and different, by bringing an aperitif to sample.  (Note: Be sure that your host does drink, and is not opposed to alcohol. Some people may choose not to for religious or other personal reasons)

EG Favorite: Ventura Limoncello, $22, Bevmo 

A few other ideas to try:
- Coordinated wrapping paper and ribbons for the hostess to use at a later date.
- Elegant, infused olive oil
- Beautiful Cocktail Napkins or Disposable Guest Hand Towels (ready for use that night, or another!)
- A box of locally made chocolates
- A basket of fresh fruit
- A cheeseboard with knife

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