Hostess Gifts: 10 ways to say Thank You

BlogHer Original Post

I think I got the nicest holiday gifts assignment: A token of appreciation for your lovely hosts. What can be nicer than to look for ways to say, thank you, this was great, please have us over again next year? You probably know your hosts (and your budget) well enough to pick the most appropriate gifts. Here are a few options that do not come to mind easily. The price range is really wide: I've tried to include budget shoppers (like me), and those who can and and are more than willing to splurge. (And a big thank you to my resident shopping expert, my sister-in-law, for sharing her gift ideas with me).

  • Wine bags/totes/carriers ($7-$70): Elegant way to convey all those warm wishes: Happy Holidays, Thank You for Having Us Over, Have a Wonderful New Year, Enjoy a Drink (safely, of course). I'd include a wine bottle in it. Easily available at usual suspects like Target, Walmart and Amazon. Also check out the pros online at TheWineBag.com, BeverageFactory.com and WinebagCentral.com.
  • Prep bowls ($10 up): They can be simple or fancy, but are always handy to have around the kitchen.  Nice way to say you loved what he/she cooked for dinner and would like them to have all the help they need for dinner next year. They are easily available at the big stores and online.
  •   Three-tier buffet-server on rack (under $20): Another way to say you loved what was served up, and wouldn't mind more of the same. Now you've just helped solve the space crunch on the table :).
  • Ethnic chic (starting $10 approx.): Your gift this season can make a world of difference, literally. A hand crafted piece of jewelry, a cushion cover, a tote bag, or even a scarf --  all with ethnic Indian patterns and "Dignity, not Charity" sewn into them -- can not only liven up the homes and faces of your hosts, but also those of 450-odd artisans, mostly women,  of low-income families in India whose products are retailed by Illinois-based non-profit, MarketPlaceIndia. You can opt for some cool cotton jackets, curtains, laptop envelopes (yes, envelopes!) or even table covers. Budget for $6-$10 for shipping, depending on how late you are in your shopping cycle.
  • Ebook Readers ($80 up) : If your host loves books but gets guilt pangs thinking of all the lovely gorgeous green trees being felled to make paper, an e-book reader could be the perfect way to put her at ease. There are a few in the market, the better-known (and costlier, $300+) ones being the Sony Reader and Amazon's Kindle. These are selling like hot cakes, so HURRY and get in queue.
  • Book lamps ($2-$35): For a book-loving host who thinks ebooks are not books after all, consider a portable book light that can be attached to any reading material for night-time reading or work. Available at Fry's or online.
  • Personalized coffee mugs ($10-$20): A warm way to say thank you. Decorate coffee mugs with messages or even photographs of your host(s), if you have them. You can get mugs personalized at most big malls. There are several options online as well. Check out Cups 'N Stuff or Zazzle for some interesting and easy options. Personalized mousepads, coasters or travel mugs can be just as useful and thoughtful.

And finally...

  • Gift Cards/Coupons: These can be the most flexible and dependable gifts. All we need to do is pick the right one. Maybe something your host will look forward to after all the back-breaking work of hosting you :) A brunch or dinner coupon at her favorite coffee shop or restaurant is an option. Or, a movie (with popcorn) coupon at the closest theater will be a fine way for your host to relax next evening. Sis-in-law suggests a box of candies to go with the gift card. Drop the two into a cute gift bag and you are all set.
  • The big-ticket item: ($300-$800): This is one pricey pick I have been wanting to gift myself for a year now. They've picked up a 'best gift' award and found a place on Newsweek's gift list. I'd be one happy hostess to get a robot that will clean up the mess after the party. iRobot has a range of compact robots that will take care of a number of chores, from vacuuming to cleaning your clogged gutters. The main attraction for me is the size, of course. I absolutely detest having to lug around a heavy, cumbersome vacuum cleaner. A friend has been using it for a while and says it's a no-regrets buy. Now, I know this is an expensive gift, but if your super host is a near and dear one who has been generosity personified, this can be a really thoughtful one. If you are planning early, you might want to team up with other guests who feel the same way and chip in.
  • Done Deal: Sis-in-law's favorite place to start is DealsOfamerica.com. Here you will find enough deals on enough goods in enough stores to cover pretty much all your discounted host-gift shopping.

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