Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Holiday Hostess Gift Guide

No matter who you are or where you live, one thing we all have in common is that one way or another, we'll most likely be invited to someone's house if only for a quick drink before the holidays. Whether it's a full blown bash celebrating the upcoming holidays with glitz and glamour or just a cup of tea and some iced sugar cookies next to the fire, it would be rude to show up empty handed.

Candles
Candles are my go-to hostess gift - chances are if you invite me over, you're getting a candle. A few people we visit regularly in London are true wine connoisseurs and I wouldn't insult their good taste with a wine I'm not absolutely sure of... Since I'm no wine expert, I figure there's not a hostess in the world who doesn't love a candle! For the holiday season, I'm loving the Ralph Lauren Holiday Collection Candle and the Dyptique Figuier Candle.

Baked Goods
As the Pillsbury Dough Boy said, "Nothin says lovin like somethin from the oven!" I couldn't agree more, especially during the holiday season. I grew up in a small town in the South where every Christmas, friends, neighbors and fellow members of whatever church you frequent shower each other with decorative tins full of homemade fudge, cookies and Bourbon Balls! It's one of the things I miss most about Christmas at home - coming home from school to the smell of baked goods and a hefty stack of Christmas tins on the kitchen counter providing snacks a'plenty! If you have time, I love the idea of giving your hostess this Anthropologie Brownie Pan with fresh baked brownies in it - no need to be fancy... I've never had anyone turn down my Betty Crocker brownies that I make from a box! If you don't have time, I love the Twelve Days of Christmas Assorted Biscuits Gift Tin from World Market. Perhaps you're visiting the home of a lady who'd rather do the baking herself? No problem - the Sister's Gourmet Merry & Bright Cookies for Santa Mix shows you care about her interests and will save her the time of looking up a recipe to make with Junior on Christmas Eve!

Refreshments
Wine is the usual, but why not step it up a little since it's a festive time of year? Chances are your hostess is putting on something a bit more special during the holidays so honor her efforts by bringing Champagne instead of wine. A festive bottle of Moet & Chandon will do the trick, but if you really want to impress or show your gratitude, the Laurent Perrier Rose NV Gift Set is perfect!

Books
I love the idea of a cookbook or a nice coffee table book, especially if you're visiting someone you know well. A coffee table book about something that interests your hostess is a lovely gesture and it's something she can cherish for a long time. If you don't know her interests, try a book about a place you recently visited (it's a conversation starter) or a book that features the works of a popular artist or photographer. All the Taschen books are lovely and this year, I'm particularly loving Work by Helmut Newton.

What is your favorite hostess gift to give during the holidays?
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