Say thank you in style

Hostess gifts
Last Updated 21 January 2010, 12:55 IST

Most people consider it impolite to go to someone's house for dinner or a party and not take a small gift for the host or the hostess. The gift doesn’t have to be anything expensive but just something that says ‘thank you’ nicely. Wine has become a standard hostess gift largely because most recipients enjoy it and it is easy to pick up even at the last minute on the way to the party. Some  people dress it up with ribbon or a specially made bag while some just remove the price tag and present the bottle as it is.

But if you want to step out of the wine bottle rut, you need a little creativity and forethought to turn a simple, inexpensive but useful item into a thoughtful and elegant hostess gift that comes from the heart and not from the wallet. Here are some easy and doable hostess gifts that will keep you going through the year no matter what the occasion is:

*Buy some pretty glass jars and fill them with honey from a local produce shop. Dress up the neck with a ribbon to give it a festive look. You can do the same with jams or preserves too.

*Mix a selection of specialty fruit teas, green teas or classic teas like Earl Grey, along with an infuser, cinnamon sticks or a bag of brown sugar cubes or a pound of specialty-roast coffee beans, a small selection of sampler-sized coffees and a little box of chocolates.

*Buy a mix of trial-sized items like hand lotions, small bottles and tubes of bath gel, body lotion, bars of moisturising soap etc. Put them together in little cane baskets, on a bed of shredded tissue paper and and wrap with cellophane paper. Voila! you have a pretty and useful hostess gift ready.

*Even quicker would be a bouquet of freshly cut flowers but  preferably accompanied by an inexpensive vase so your hostess is not scrambling for one to put them in.   

*Three or four small pots of herbs from a local nursery like parsley, thyme, cilantro, chives or rosemary put together in a little basket make an interesting gift as does an aloe plant which looks attractive and is a handy home remedy for burns. Dress up the nursery pot with gift wrapping or foil paper.

*Also nice hostess gifts would be a packet of beautiful note cards and a nice pen, a small, elegant picture frame, two or three bars of hand-made soap tied together with ribbon.

*A package of decorative cocktail napkins in holiday prints or colours which can be added to any of the gifts above.

*Keep a few sheets of tissue/ wrapping paper and curling ribbon always on hand along with a few small cane baskets to wrap up your hostess gifts attractively.

*Remember, hostess gifts are not obligatory but rather meant to be thoughtful gestures that show appreciation for the effort and hospitality of your hosts.

(Published 21 January 2010, 12:53 IST)

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