Running from the Law: Gift Guide -- HOSTESS

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Gift Guide -- HOSTESS

Whether the hostess is throwing you a bridal shower, hosting a dinner party, letting you crash in her guestroom or having you over for cocktails, the hostess did a lot of work (and probably spent a lot of money) making sure everything is perfect for this occasion. Don't you think this amazing and generous person deserves something fabulous? A hostess gift tells them thanks for their hard work and generosity. It's not mandatory but it usually shows good manners and will make her feel appreciated -- and because who doesn't love getting gifts and feeling appreciated, chances are, you'll be (popular!) and invited back!

Sometimes you are at a complete loss over what to give the hostess. They're hard, right? I think the less you know about someone, the harder it is to give a meaningful and thoughtful gift...and sometimes you just don't know the hostess all that well. That's where this guide can come in handy. The first step is the same--try to get to know your gift receiver. If the hostess is a friend of your parents, ask your mom about her interests and hobbies (see gift guide post below). If it's someone you've never met, most of the gifts below will probably work. If the hostess(es) are your bridesmaids or best friends, then you probably know them pretty well, but have to deal with getting (multiple) gifts on a budget.

And speaking of budget, what are you going to spend? I don't like hard and fast rules, but I do find the guidelines below very helpful. Personally, I usually base the price of the gift on how much money/time the hostess is spending on the event and how integral I am. If someone is hosting a huge shower for me, she's getting a really nice gift. If I'm invited to someone's house for dinner/drinks with a ton of other people, then a smaller gift seems appropriate. The budget is for you to decide based on what you're comfortable spending.

  • A dinner party that requires hard work on the part of the host definitely deserves a nice gift.
  • If the party is large and formal and you don't know the host or hostess well, you don't need to bring a gift, but of course, it's always nice and will be a great way to meet and make a good first impression on your hostess.
  • For a potluck dinner, the food you've brought is enough. Don't worry about a gift.
  • A more informal event such as a brunch or a cocktail party doesn't usually mandate a gift for the hostess, but something very small and easy to deal with is nice. You should definitely plan on sending a thank-you note or calling the host to thank him or her the following day. Make sure to let them know that their efforts are appreciated and you had a good time.
  • Always bring a gift if you're staying at the host's home overnight. The longer your stay, the more expensive and elaborate the gift should be.
  • If you bring a gift, a thank-you note is not required. Simply thank the hostess when you give them the gift and again at the end of the party.
All of the gifts below are under $100 and available online (I will do a DIY gift post next). These are "generic" ideas. These are gifts that will work (and be loved) by just about anyone. If you have absolutely no time at all (shame on you, don't you remember reading about the importance of time in the last post) or no idea what your hostess likes/dislikes, these gifts are sure to please. However, these are just ideas, meant to spark your creativity and thoughtfulness -- please make sure you do your homework on the gift receiver (and try to be creative) before picking any gift (seriously, read the gift guide below first).

1. Cheese tin from Artisanal - $99
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2. Personalized Baker's Labels or Chef's Medallions from Felix Doolittle - $40 and $25 respectively

3. Blown Glass Platter from Etsy - $89

4. Brownie Edge Pan from Amazon - $35 (paired with Barefoot Contessa Brownie mix from Crate and Barrel - $10.50)

5. Letterpressed Monogram Coasters from Bunny Maxwell - $14

6. Slate Cheese Board from Williams-Sonoma - $40 (paired with Cheese & Wine book from Pottery Barn - $25)

7. Cookbook Stand with Splash Protector from Crate & Barrel - $25 (pair with #8 below)

8. Cookbook from Dean & Deluca - $37.50

9. Stationery Set by Elum - prices range per item (pair with #11 below)

10. Hopper Dot mini rose bowl by Kate Spade - $75

11. Desk Embosser by Paper Source - $28.50

12. Wine Decanter from Pottery Barn -$29 (paired with a Cork Knob by Knobstoppers - $22-32)

13. Stainless Steel Salt or Pepper Grinder from Bed Bath & Beyond - $54 (paired with gourmet salt and pepper from Crate & Barrel - $9-10)

14. Crystal holiday ornament from Swarovski - $45

15. Tea Brewing Pitcher by Tea Forte - $42

16. Dipped Strawberries by Shari's Berries - starting at $30

17. Basic Spice Set by TSP Spices - $45

18. Crystal Picture Frame by Waterford - $100

19. Prada Beauty Infused Candle from Neiman Marcus - $78

20. Chocolate Tea Cookie Collection from Dean & Deluca - $38

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