'Tis the season for giving, right? You may already have a list of Christmas gift ideas - for family, close friends, your kids' teachers, perhaps a few co-workers or neighbors. As you begin planning and budgeting, don't forget host/hostess gifts for holiday parties.
Fresh flowers are always lovely, but may mean a little extra stress for your host if she has to suddenly find and fill a vase. One year when I hosted the family meal, my mother-in-law had a floral arrangement delivered to my house ahead of time. It was a fun surprise and I had time to put it in the best place, considering all of the food and place settings. Another nice alternative suggested by Crystal is a small potted live tree. An evergreen is a perfect choice at this time of year.
Because the holiday season is one with impromptu gatherings as well as scheduled parties, it makes sense to plan ahead and keep a stash of appropriate gifts available. This tip comes from Jennefer at Shopping'sMyCardio, and she has some clever hostess gift suggestions in food, drink and game categories.
If you're travelling to another part of the country, items from your home city or state are ideal. This could be a local food or beverage - think coffee from Seattle or pecans from Georgia. Or you could select something created by a favorite hometown artisan such as a small piece of art or pottery.
If you're the DIY type, there are a myriad of options. No surprise, but Martha Stewart is a great source: for food, try these spiced pecans or caramel bourbon vanilla sauce. My favorite, though, is a "morning-after" breakfast basket, perfect for the host who was up late and has had enough of meal-preparation!
There are several other things that could be made in large batches, then available for all your upcoming parties. Hostess With The Mostess has all the elements you need to make homemade natural citrus-mint cleaning products. This set of tile coasters, from Lindsay at The Cottage Home, could be designed with a Christmas motif, or if you know the hostess well, with her favorite colors. Homemade spa products would be a luxurious treat - Mother and Baby Health has gathered a variety of ideas from lip balm to body scrub.
What's the best hostess gift you've ever received, whether purchased or homemade?