Hostess Gift Ideas
In finding my path to domesticity, I seem to have stumbled across a fantastic new group of friends who are all already domestic. And I mean Boulder-quality domestic. Food is not just made, but made from scratch. The vegetables aren’t just organic, rather they are organic and
homegrown in my friend’s urban garden. They don’t eat foods that come with labels. They have chicken coops in their backyards where they collect farm fresh eggs every morning. I could go on and on – these Boulder girls don’t mess around (I might be exaggerating a hair as it pertains to my friends, but this IS a relatively good depiction of Boulder women). Their general Martha Stewart-ness is just one of the reasons I love and admire them. I’m not sure I will ever reach their general skill level, but I’ll certainly die trying. With that said, I seem to find myself at more dinner parties than I’ve ever been to before since my friends actually cook. While I think etiquette says bringing an appetizer and a bottle of wine is enough, I’ve sort of become obsessed with finding creative hostess gifts. I already realize that I can’t keep up with this all of the time, but the occasional ‘WOW’ in the hostess gift department is probably a welcome surprise.
So, what are my favorites so far, you ask? Let me show you!
Salt and Pepper shakers are generally a boring part of any person’s home – I mean, when you’re adding bits of personality into your decor, do salt and pepper shakers really come to mind? And this, my friends, is why they are an amazing gift! Pottery Barn of all places has my favorite finds thus far with lots of holiday-specific choices (Christmas, Hanukkah, Easter, etc.), along with some super cute randoms (Bulldogs, Piggies, Frogs). And don’t be fooled – some of the holiday sets are appropriate for year-round giving. Remember that friend with the chicken coop? She’s getting Easter chicks and I’ll put money on the fact that they’ll be making an appearance on her table year-round.
Photo: (Clockwise) Driedels, Piggies, Easter Chicks, Partridge in a Pear Tree (Photos taken from the Pottery Barn website.)
Virtually any wine-related gift is a good hostess gift, because I would bet most people really need a glass of wine after prepping for a house full of guests. The downside is that most wine gifts are boring – I mean, how many sets of wine tools can a person use? The Corkcicle Wine Chiller, however, is different. For starters, it is just funny to look at, but it’s functional too! The Corkcicle actually chills your wine without the bulkiness if a wine chiller. Double score!
I suppose I have a penchant for “kitschy” things. I have no idea why this is, because I personally almost always side with buying super practical, classic, boring things for myself…especially when it comes to housewares and such. Maybe that is why I think oddball gifts make great gifts, because they aren’t things that people would typically buy for themselves. I mean, it could be construed as a little wasteful to spend $26 on Driedel Salt and Pepper Shakers that you might use once or twice, after all. But to get them as a gift? Super cute, super fun, and super exciting! I also have a penchant for using the word “super”. Sorry. Anyway, Anthropologie is my favorite store for these kinds of finds – seriously, who thought up Hedgehog Measuring Cups?! They. Are. Adorable.
(Photos taken from the Anthropologie website.)
I was trying to get away from using “kitschy”. Again. As it turns out, it is really the only way to describe fun gifts. So there you have it. Anthropologie is also home to a wide array of other amazing kitchen things, but I think the “tools” are the best. Or at least the best for gift giving. They’re unique, bright, and still very functional.
Photo: (Clockwise) Terracotta Spoon Rest, Poppy Ring Rolling Pin, Chipper and Sprite Serving Set, Painted Amaryllis Spoon Rest (Photos taken from the Anthropologie website.)
Back to wine gifts! We’re dressing up a nice bottle this time – buy some kitschy (sorry, there I go again) dish towels, nice ribbon (I prefer satin), and wrap up a bottle of wine like so. Favorite places to buy towels?
Sur La Table also has an amazing selection of fancy dish towels – they feel a bit European or something to me. Either way…love them.
I really like this gift for families….since most kids loving baking, or so I hear. Williams-Sonoma always has really fun cookie cutter sets and nice pre-made cookie mixes to choose from year-round. Crate and Barrel usually has a great selection of mixes around the holidays with lots of holiday cookie cutter sets too!
I think Personalized Tea Towels are a fun gift, especially with some baked goods inside. They are pretty simple to make, you just need fabric paint, some cheap flour sacks from Target, stamps, and a paint brush. In the past, I’ve just wrapped mine around a loaf of banana bread or something of the like.
- Iron your towels to remove all wrinkles and creases.
- Dip your stencil brush in fabric ink. Apply paint to rubber stamp using a dabbing motion; a smooth stroke doesn’t get enough paint on the stamp.
- When doing this for the first time, do a test run by stamping a paper towel to see how it turns out – you can then adjust the amount of paint you used if there is too much or too little ink.
- Decide on how you want the placement of the stamps on your towel – I tend to side with a simple design along one edge of the towel as a border of sorts.
- Let your design dry for at least 30 minutes.
- Set your designs by ironing over the print; definitely use a paper towel over the print at first so paint residue doesn’t end up on your iron. After some thorough ironing, remove the paper towel and iron directly over the design some more. After the design is heat-set, the towels are washing machine-friendly.