If you'll attend holiday parties, dinners, brunches and other get-togethers this year, you'll want to go in good spirits and with well-chosen hostess gifts in hand. After all, it's no small effort to prepare and pull off a fabulous party that exceeds expectations, complete with crowd-pleasing bites, drinks and desserts. No matter the degree of preparation involved -- from an entirely DIY affair to catered everything and a cleaning crew afterward -- the hosts will appreciate your kindness and etiquette in giving a gift of thanks for their hospitality.
These days, holiday parties may be held remotely, requiring some creativity ... but the need to thank the host still remains.
"Holidays are going to look different this year -- for the better. With the pandemic taking away those in-person, tangible touches, the magic of holiday events has gone virtual, allowing family and friends from around the world to connect through unique experiences," says Javier Valdez, co-founder of event planning sites Meet Virtually and Travel with Myght. "A big part of recreating that human connection is through pampering and taking special care of the host. This holiday season, it's very likely that the family can't gather, see Grandma and Grandpa or fly to their favorite destination. Everyone is craving some normalcy or traditions to continue, so gift-giving and surprising family members with a new group experience is the ticket this year."
Event hosts may very well opt for creative virtual group events, such as wine tastings, chocolate tastings or dance lessons. For planning such a fresh, new way for loved ones to share an activity, this host should get a fabulous hostess gift.
As in-person dinner parties and gatherings still abound, even with smaller guest lists and socially distanced layouts, you'll get the gift of togetherness and reconnection with friends and family -- which, these days, is precious. To thank your hosts, consider the following gift trends:
*Wine and Spirits
Fine wines and top-shelf or specialty spirits are always a can't-miss hostess gift choice. Take some time to browse a gourmet liquor shop, and ask the store's staff for recommendations. You'll find some stellar choices from notable locales and maybe even from your favorite vacation spot's wineries and breweries; this personalized choice will thrill your hosts.
*Chocolates, Baked Items and Trios of Snack Mixes
Packaged chocolates, baked goodies and snacks take away your hosts possible trepidation about germs and hygiene in the creation process. Choose if you wish to stick with classic flavors or pick something creative and different, such as jalapeno-flavored popcorn or brown sugar-cinnamon soft pretzels.
*Gift Cards to Local Restaurants
Treat your hosts to a nice dinner, lunch or brunch at a local spot you know they love with a gift card. You'll support local restaurants with your purchase, and your hosts get to go out for a nice meal on their own.
*Their Favorite Flavors From Your Town
If your loved ones have moved out of town and are hosting a holiday party this year, treat them to a taste of their old stomping grounds. You might buy the marinara sauce or queso dip made at their favorite restaurant. Or you could get an order of cupcakes from their favorite bakery, pack it in a cooler for the drive and watch their eyes light up at the unboxing. Tastes bring back memories, and at this time of the year, wonderful memories go a long way to create more holiday joy.
*Entertaining-Themed Items and Recipe Gift Books
Hosts who love planning events will especially love the things that help them entertain better. In this category, top gift picks include cheese knives, bamboo toothpicks, cocktail napkins printed with cute or festive sayings, jars of olives, tapenades, fig spreads and other gourmet treats. Also of interest are gift book-sized cookbooks and drink recipe collections.
It's always risky to choose decor for someone else's home, but with unique art sized for countertop or dresser display -- not meant to hang above the family's fireplace -- you can personalize a fun gift of art. Think also about gift items sourced from the host's favorite design celebrities, such as Magnolia Market. A bud vase from their idols would be a heartfelt and functional gift.
Stationary can take the form of magnetic refrigerator notepads that suit the host's organized personality or notepads for journaling or planning gardens and further parties. A top trend currently is stickers, so add some fresh and playful style to themed stickers, modern or retro.
*Stones and Crystals
Your hosts might believe in the clearing, healing and centering powers of crystals such as pink quartz or selenite. Smooth river stones can be poured into a platter or vessel as an energy-refreshing accent. Attach a note on the symbolism of your chosen crystals and stones so that the recipients get a cool FYI about your offering.
The heart of your gift is going to be in the personalized message you write, thanking the hosts for inviting you and sharing why their kindness means so much to you and to your family.
Hostess gifts add heart to any holiday gathering, so stock up on a supply of reliable favorite hostess gifts so that you always have a great choice ready for any last-minute invitations.