For an event planner, that’s pretty much year-round but the holidays are different. In addition to lining up brides and getting venues decked out, I am decking my own halls, baking in my kitchen (really) and hosting friends for impromptu cocktail parties and attending those thrown by others. Being ready in advance is a lifesaver and starts with a plan.
Hostess gifts are often overlooked or picked up last minute. While a package of cocktail napkins can seem appropriate, you should really branch out and make the host feel as though you actually thought about the gift in advance. It’s pretty obvious when things are an afterthought, and it’s nice to bring a token that doesn’t seem like you just blew the dust off of it after rummaging through your hall closet. Speaking of things from that closet… No one wants a candle, cookie tin or box of chocolates that’s been sitting on your shelf for months. Gifting isn’t hard people! Go through your calendar and mark all of the things you will be attending and take the time to get those take-along treats prepared and wrapped in advance. Having pre-printed personalized cards to enclose is a nice touch, and also saves you from scrambling for a way to ID your package as you walk out the door.
Here are my favorite things to have on hand for hosts and hostesses that seem to have everything, which is pretty typical of my clients and friends.
Hugh’s Top Gifts for Hosts & Hostesses
1. Gifts for Pets
If they have a pet, you may give a gift to the furry beast instead. People will really love you as the gift is gobbled up and they don’t have to drag some token out to put on display every time you arrive at their door in the future!
2. Specialty Teas
Always graciously accepted. The herbal aromatherapy blends that are intended for night and evening relaxation are the best. Anything that helps people fall asleep is usually used quickly and appreciated.
3. Personalized Notepads
These are always a hit. If you plan ahead far enough, you can do this for as many people as possible during the holidays. But you can just as easily get them with an initial or another motif that fits their personality. Quality is king here, though—we are not talking spiral-bound scribble books.
4. Luggage Tags
For hosts who love to travel, designer luggage tags in bright colors to help them ID their bags when having to fly commercial (the horrors of transit)!
5. Luxury Bookmarks
Readers will love a fitting hard-bound release or biography, even more, when you include a luxurious bookmark (or one that is personalized).
6. Portable Phone Chargers
Look for chic portable phone chargers (wireless) that can be popped into a bag or pocket for those you know are all about texting, social media and working remotely from their phone. No one can have enough of these on hand.
7. Homemade Treats
And yes, homemade treats are perfectly acceptable, as long as they are fresh, creatively packaged and you don’t expect them to be added to the cocktail buffet! And don’t even think about re-boxing something you bought at Whole Foods. The host always knows!