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"Hostess with the Mostest"

Now that Gary and I have moved into our home, we find ourselves having guests over much

more often. Obviously, because the house is so much larger, it makes it easier to host a party. Being that we have had about 12 gatherings within the last six months, it opened my eyes to the range of hostess gifts we've received.

Some gifts were filled with much thought put into them, while others, still lovely and appreciated, were more what I would call standard or stock items. While Gary is more of a wine connoisseur, there are only so many bottles of wine we can go through.

Here is a list of ideas to help when attending your next party that doesn’t come in a long and narrow bag:

1. If you insist on bringing a bottle of alcohol or liquor, enclose a recipe card for a signature drink or a fancy dessert using your gift that the host can prepare at their next party. Suddenly your “standard” gift is much more personal.

2. I am a total candle freak, so l love getting a candle as a gift. Some may be better than

others, but I love them all the same. If your host entertains a lot, focus on candles that

are used more to enhance the décor of the home. Something that will look good on

their mantle or coffee table. Personally, as an event designer, I have access to decorative candles out the wahzoo. I prefer a fragrant candle that I can burn at work to calm me, or just something to fill the house with delicious flavors. One of my favorite candles is the Capri Blue Volcano from Anthropologie.

3. One of my dear friends brought us a wonderful board game for our house warming

party. I was so pleasantly surprised and it got Gary and I to sit down and play rather than

watch TV.

4. You can never go wrong with flowers! I like to send to send flowers during the day

leading up to the evening event. This way it gives the host time to decide where to show

it off best in the home. It is my personal suggestion that you not bring fresh cut flowers

that are wrapped in cellophane. The reason is that on the day you are having guests

over, the last thing you want is another item to add to your to-do list. Arranging flowers

isn’t the easiest thing to do let alone when they arrive once the party has already begun.

5. If you know that your host enjoys sweets, a box of wonderful chocolates is a perfect gift.

It may be easy to find out the flavors they enjoy, or bring a new flavor you’ve just

discovered that you would like them to try. Some hosts will even open them up and

share them at the party. Me, I save them for myself!

Other fun ideas include:

- Exotic coffees from well known coffee lovers

- An assortment of ice cream toppings (perfect for summertime)

- Great quality stationary. If your hosts entertains a lot they may be in a circle of

friends that attend many different events. Trust me, they will constantly be sending

out thank you notes.

When I find a great gift that I think is suitable for many types of hosts, I stock up and

keep them for times that I may not have the time to be extra creative. Remember, no matter

what gift you bring, make it personal to the host.

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