As much as I strive to be a gracious host, I try equally as hard to be a gracious guest. More often than not, it isn’t until I am rushing out the door to a party that I start to think of what to bring. In these cases, I usually resort to swinging by a grocery store along the way and snagging whatever flowers/wine are convenient. While it is better than nothing (which I fully admit to showing up with sometimes), hostess gifts are intended to be thoughtful. When I find myself in these “aw, man!” moments, I always cringe a little on the inside handing over a bottle of wine I’m not even sure he/she will like. I know I can do better. So, because gifting more thoughtfully is one of my personal goals, I came up with a plan. And, in order for me to stick to it, I knew it had to meet the following criteria. 1. It has to be convenient, 2. it should be inexpensive, and 3. it should achieve the first two while still being unique and thoughtful.
This past weekend, I set out to start curating a collection of items to keep on hand to use as hostess gifts. I am not all about spending a full day driving from store to store to start assembling my stash (read criteria 1.). A one-stop-shop is best in these circumstances.
I Santa uses this same philosophy for stocking stuffers ;). On Saturday, I took a trip to andThat! which recently opened down the road in Kennesaw (Georgia) and while I wasn’t feeling inspired before my trip, one quick pass through the store was all it took for me to know exactly what I wanted. A second pass through the store and my cart was filled with goodies for five different gift concepts I would truly love to receive, myself.
HOSTESS GIFT 1.
While flowers aren’t exactly the most original gift, they truly are one of my favorite gifts to receive. Arrangements, orchids, houseplants… gimme all of ’em! But, flowers are temporary. Instead of focusing of the flowers, put more thought towards the vessel in which you gift the flowers.
As soon as I saw this color coordinated display (yes, cue the heart eyes), I went straight for the blue and white. I grabbed up a couple of these vases (priced at $14/ea.) and when I got home, snipped some of the limelights from my bushes which have been producing fruit for the last two months.
Trading dollars spent on flowers for a fabulous and affordable vase was an easy decision. Long after the last hydrangea has wilted, the recipient of this gift will be able to use this vase time and again.
HOSTESS GIFT 2.
Ok, you saw that blue and white display, right? When I saw these lidded bowls, my mind immediately went to “elegant candy dish” or a truly special way to deliver homemade treats. At around $16, you’re still in the grocery store flower arrangement/nice bottle of wine price range. I am actually going to head back before Christmas to snag some for holiday cookie gifts. No metal tins for me this year! Similar to the vase, a beautiful container in which you deliver your treats can continue to be used, displayed, and cherished.
andThat! had a nice sized section for gourmet foods, spices, marinades, and candy… even a classic candy section. I immediately spotted the orange sugared gummies which reminded me of my Granny’s house when I was a little girl. Granny always had these when I visited; in that moment, nostalgia won and I threw the oranges into my basket.
HOSTESS GIFT 3.
You know when you go to an Italian restaurant and the server whips up that fantastic olive oil dip for your bread? It’s a treat I love, but I never think to make it at home. You can create a truly unique hostess gift with simple ingredients and a few glass jars. I picked up a large container of Italian seasoning and bottle of olive oil which will last through a few rounds of gift baskets. I think my favorite find(s) of the day were these cute little jars and bottles. They had all different sizes in the glass kitchen section for less than a dollar a piece. I stocked up. In addition to the olive oil and Italian seasoning, a simple salt and pepper set is filled with salt and garlic powder.
I was pleased with the olive oil dip ingredients a complete gift but when I saw these bowls, I decided they needed to be in the basket too. Perfect for seasoned oil.
I typed up a quick recipe as a personal touch to add to the basket. Note: tie a simple ribbon around any card and it immediately feels special and dressed up.
Olive Oil Bread Dip Recipe:
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1/8 tsp garlic powder
- 1/8 tsp salt
HOSTESS GIFT 4.
I told you I stocked up on the glass jars and bottles! The possibilities for customizing cute baskets with these are abundant but when I spotted bags of campfire marshmallows, I knew I wanted to assemble a sweet little hot chocolate basket. Like the previous, you could even include a recipe card for your favorite hot cocoa to personalize your gift. Marshmallows, mini chips, cinnamon, and cocoa powder round out my necessities. My mom created something similar for Christmas gifts at her office last year and added peppermint pieces.
These cable knit sweater mugs were made for hot chocolate… and my hot chocolate basket.
A peek at the fully assembled basket…
I used a funnel to pour the powder into the jar. The hot chocolate fixins’ are also easy to stock up on to create multiple baskets off of one batch of ingredients.
HOSTESS GIFT 5.
This may be my favorite, most creative, and certainly easiest gift of all. Coconut oil is the thing right now… it’s basically, the Rachel Green 1995 haircut of health food (any Friends fans?). The amazing part about it though is that it transcends the food world and people all over are using it for cleaning, beauty, hygiene, etc., etc. Those who use it swear by it and I think it may possibly be the new duct tape… I will warn you- if you show up at someone’s house and hand them a jar of coconut oil from a grocery bag, they may think you’ve lost your mind. Presentation and a thoughtful touch make all the difference here. It’s all about the delivery.
There are tons of lists online with uses for coconut oil. I took a few favs (HERE) and created a cute little pocket card with the web address for over 100 more. I snipped a fern frond from my front porch and tied it with ribbon for the finishing touch.
Now that you hopefully have some ideas for your next hostess gift, remember to always have cute note cards on hand when you are on the receiving end. Instead of “thank you” cards, I keep a stash of different patterned blank note cards in my office so I can customize them for the occasion. They must have known I was coming because they had big bins full of cute, inexpensive sets.
I would love to hear your approach to hostess gifts- some of your favs to give and receive! Leave me a note in the comment section below.
*This post was sponsored by andThat! While I received compensation and/or product in collaboration, all product has been selected by me and all concepts, thoughts, and opinions are my own. Find the closest andThat! store near you by visiting the store locations page.