Holiday party invites are coming. Between figuring out your schedule, what to wear and booking sitters, it might be easy to forget a hostess gift. Don’t be caught empty-handed. While hostess gifts are not required, it is a lovely gesture... particularly during such a busy time of year.
Typical gifts include wine, flowers or chocolates. While these are always appreciated, doing a little something extra special goes a long way. And something homemade, goes a very long way.
Win with Wine: Wine is always appreciated, but sometimes the host may not know if you prefer to serve the wine at the party, or if it should be enjoyed later. I say, why not offer both! An easy way to do a little something special is to offer two bottles of wine, then put a hang tag on each bottle with “FOR NOW” and “FOR LATER.” Very simple, but an extra nice gesture. Or you could give one bottle of wine “FOR NOW” and a bottle of bubbles “FOR 2017.”
Holiday Helper: Creating a holiday survival kit can be a fun and very handy hostess gift. Simply fill a decorative bag with some key holiday items that will come in handy over the next couple weeks. Stuffers might include: Scotch tape, holiday cocktail napkins, a wine opener or bottle opener, decorative ribbon for gifts, thank you cards, aspirin, Vitamin C or coffee.
Spread, Schemer or Drizzle Some Love: Homemade food items are always a hit. But who has time to do that? Guess what? You do! Here are some simple ideas for easy, delicious hostess gifts:
Flavored butter is a fun gift and has so many uses including spreading on bread, melting over roasted vegetables, tossing with warm nuts or pouring over a big bowl of popcorn. Simply soften one sticks of un-salted butter and add herb mixture of your choice. Some of my favorite mixtures include:
- Chopped thyme, lemon zest and a touch of sea salt
- Brown sugar, rosemary, sea salt and a dash of Cheyenne pepper
- Lime zest, cumin, sea salt and a dash of Cheyenne pepper
Mix together at room temperature, then put them in a small mason jar. If you really want to get creative, you can create a sticker for the lid, or just simply tie a holiday tag with ingredients. Remember the flavors will intensify over time, so less is more. And don’t forget to remind them to refrigerate it.
Herb-infused oils are incredibly easy to make and have multiple uses such as dipping for bread, tossing in pasta or even drizzling over scrambled eggs. And they’re beautiful when packaged nicely. Start with a good Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a pan, heat high and add herb of choice, heating for up to five minutes. Transfer to air-tight bottle, putting one spring of the herb in the bottle. Seal and refrigerate up to one month. Typically five or six springs of an herb per one cup of Olive Oil is a good rule. A little tag or bow on the bottle, and you have a perfect, personalized hostess gift.
Bath Scrubs: Bath scrubs can help alleviate the stress of the holidays, sooth dry skin or give a little pick-me-up. These scrubs often times include items already in your pantry. After mixing, place in small Mason, or tight lid jar and include tag or sticker with ingredients. A few favorites include:
- Sunshine in Winter -- 1 cup of sugar; ½ cup olive oil; the juice and zest of one lemon; and 1 tbsp. honey
- Cup of Jo -- ¼ cup raw sugar; ¼ cup ground coffee; 1 tbsp. olive oil; 2 tbsp. coconut oil; and one tbsp. sea sal
- Soothing Lavender & Rosemary -- ½ cup kosher salt; ¼ cup olive oil; 1 tbsp. culinary grade lavender extract; and 1 tbsp. rosemary leaves, chopped
It’s the season of giving, all the way down to the hostess gift. So make it personal this year.