It's easy to say thank you, but how can you let your overachiver hostess know that she's truly appreciated? We're here to show you ten creative hostess gifts that aren't a bottle of wine (although we'll take that too). We asked Society6 web designer and amateur vintage fashion sleuth Jessica Parker to walk us through how she treats her holiday hosts to something special.
Holiday party season? It's basically here, or it will be in about eight minutes. I like hosting parties just fine, but I admit I always appreciate a fest where I can get a little tipsy on some pomegranate-garnished champagne and lyft home without having to clean anything up. But all that free fun deserves a token of that appreciation, and it's nice to provide your hostess (or host) with something other than a bottle of wine. For me, the whole point of hostess gifts is to treat your party-provider to something delightful that they might not treat themselves to, particularly where the bar or kitchen are concerned. Since I'm a sucker for unique stuff that potentially no one has ever seen before, a lot of my favorite gifts are vintage and pretty easy to find at any flea market or antique store. So, shall we?
1. Vintage serving utensils
Who buys themselves a pie server? Okay, a lot of people do. But sometimes it's hard to justify buying napkin rings or placecard holders when you also want to buy booze for three dozen people. I love these little silver serving pieces even with their patina, and tied together with pretty string they make a lovely and unexpected gift.
Who doesn't love hot apple cider or hot chocolate during the holidays?
3. Pine sachets
Sometimes I sell vintage clothing, and when I package up something I've sold, I include a sachet made of handful of cedar shavings and dried fir wrapped in a vintage hankie and tied with twine or yarn. It helps the item arrive smelling like the great outdoors and not the inside of someone else's closet. You can find vintage hankies at flea markets or online or in local vintage shops for about $1-$5 a piece. Then, I buy cedar and pine in bulk online.
4. Homemade (or high quality store-bought) spice blends
Get the best quality stuff you can find, because the goal isn't just to buy groceries for someone, it's to treat them to something they might not justify buying for themselves. Make or buy blends that are great for those warm winter cocktails; for instance, a hot buttered rum kit might include cinnamon, cloves, a little coriander and a whole nutmeg, tied with a little grater. Same goes for fancy tea blends or mulling spices, or even just orange peel to simmer and make the house smell like winter goodness.
5. A good bottle of wine
I know I said something other than wine, but wine in a festive tote is above and beyond!
6. Vintage coasters
I have a handful of European cardboard coasters from the 1970's, but individual vintage tiles work great too. You can give those as-is, or glue a bit of cork on the bottom to make them non-skid.
7. Recipe cards
Does your grandma have a killer cake recipe (mine's was lemon cake)? Practice your penmanship and write out her recipe for sugar cookies or pumpkin pie on a pretty card. Bonus points for including a special ingredient, like vanilla beans or pumpkin pie spice (see #4).
8. Vintage aprons
When I do host parties, I usually spill something on myself, and I'm glad I have my grandmother's aprons to protect my dresses. You can find these at flea markets or vintage stores for less than $15.
9. A trivet
Do you know what a trivet is? If you've ever tried to put a hot serving dish on a wood table, you probably do. This quilted one I picked up at a flea market for a few bucks.
Store-bought if you're normal, or handmade with vintage tins if you're an overacheiver.
I could go on, but I have some sachets to make. Happy gifting!
Photos by Kate Rentz.
Follow Jessica here.
Shop Jessica's picks and even more hostess gifts here!