The one thing I never take is fresh flowers. If you've hosted a party, you know that is the one time when you can never find a vase?! So you're left standing there clutching beautiful flowers while the gifter looks at you expectantly. You're a sweetie-pie for bringing flowers, but I do not want to be trimming stems, making a giant mess and arranging flowers in the middle of my party while I'm supposed to be greeting guests. (Wow, you'd think I was bitter about this topic?!)
So let's talk about gifts that are great for a Host/Hostess!
Of course you can never go wrong with a bottle of wine. I like to take it one step further and have the bottle engraved with the couple's names or "Merry Christmas 2010." There is a talented engraver in my area, and some of the high-end grocery stores host him every season. If you buy wine from the store, you get a free engraving. Check online or with wine bars in your area to see if they have a resource.
Party Crackers are a tradition in our house for New Year's Eve...and add a festive touch when setting a table; $25 for 12:
This 12 Days of Christmas flour sack towel is fun...you can customize to your host with a Food Lovers, Wine Lovers, Dog and even Cat Lovers; $8:
Z Gallerie has an entire section of Hostess Gifts. It's pretty hard to beat a Jewel Tone Tray for $12:
Or an oversized Mercury Votive for $5:
I typically steer clear of most home decor items unless I know the Hostess really well (and her tastes!) You'd hate to show up with a silver picture frame and her home is decorated in rustic southwest. I do love to bring something that will add to her next party though:
Antique Silver Wine Pull or Bottle Opener , $15 & $12 respectively:
Salt & Pepper Sets with Caddy; $13:
I'd have a hard time parting with this fab Mr & Mrs Cocktail Set; $18:
Elegant placecard holders; $8 for 4:
These cloth cocktail napkins come in a clear gift box, just ready to be gifted; $18:
How about a little pick-me-up for the morning after the party? Jonathan Adler cuter-than-cute Coffee Tumbler; $11 (Be her favorite guest and enclose a Starbucks gift card too!):
Etsy has an endless selection of notecards (I'm still a fan of the written word!):
Hands down, the very.best.tea; $14:
If you stay to help wash dishes, you'll both be glad you gifted her with this amazing hand cream; $10-$26:
See some of your favorites on this list? Or what did I leave off that you love to give a Hostess, or receive when hosting?