Everyone loves to be invited. Whether it be to a party, a dinner, or a weekend with a friend, we love to be invited. And we also love to be graceful in our gratitude. Our good manners whisper in our ears that we should remember our host or hostess with a gift, a thoughtful expression of THANK YOU, for the invitation itself, but also all the planning, the meal-preparation, the entertainment provided, the home opened to us. But how do we choose THE perfect host/hostess gift?
Here are some helpful Do's and Don'ts:
- DO take into account how long you are staying. A dinner? A weekend at someone's lake house?Or a week in a friend's guest room while you're in town? The longer your stay, the more valuable your gift should be.
- DO give a stylish gift, but not too stylish. Not everyone is on the cusp of the latest trend, so keep that in mind. Classic style is usually the best choice.
- DO give a gift that reflects who YOU are, but more importantly who your host/hostess is.
- DO give a gift that shows your thoughtfulness. A special scent of a candle that you know your hostess loves, or a book in a series that your host collects shows you put time and effort into the gift, and didn't wait until the last minute.
And speaking of the last minute:
- DON'T fall into the trap of the top three WORST hostess gifts: Flowers, food or wine. Flowers put the hostess into an awkward position, as she then has to stop what she is doing, find a vase, fill it with water, cut the stems, arrange them and put them on display. This takes time away from greeting and entertaining the other guests, and hopefully enjoying her own party. The only exception with food is IF you mention to your host that tomorrow you will drop off a cake for the family to enjoy. That way, everyone has a sweet treat to look forward to, and the hostess' menu is not infringed upon. Wine is the same as food. Handing a bottle of wine to your host is like handing an expectation that it be served. Again, the only exception with wine is IF you mention that this is one of your favorites, and is for your hosts to enjoy some quiet evening.
- DON'T stress over a gift. As long as you invest a little heart and thought into it, your host is bound to welcome it. Gifts do not need to be the most expensive, the most elaborate; a mere expression of gratefulness is enough.
- DON'T wrap your gift then expect your host to unwrap right then. Say something like, "This is for you, thank you for the invitation, feel free to open it later." This relieves the hostess from having to open a present in front of some guests who may have forgotten.
- DON'T bombard your hostess with the gift as soon as they open the door. Greet your hostess, say thank you, and make the gift-giving a quiet affair. Again, no one like a show-off.
So, now that we have some DO's and DON'T's, let's move on to some great gift ideas, all here at Fleet-Plummer, the home of gracious, southern living. First up, candles. While some may not enjoy home fragrance, be sure to know what scent your hostess likes before choosing a candle. Our favorites include Woodwicks, which are beautiful candles in lovely containers that make wonderful gifts. Plus, Woodwick candles are known for their flickering of the wicks, just like the burning of real wood.
Another great idea: Sets that include cheese plates and spreaders. What a creative way to incorporate a hobby (like bird-watching) or a decor (like lake or beach-house). Pretty napkins can either go with your set, or choose simple but lovely linen ones, always welcome but often something the hostess may not treat herself to.
Gifts that reflect a collection are fun! If you know your hostess collects roosters, then half your job is done for you. If your host collects bunnies, then your gift could show that love for all things rabbit-y.
Also, if you know your hostess and her tastes, picture frames are a great idea! We all love to display photos, so a new picture frame, be it classical or whimsical, is a lovely idea.
Rounding out our hostess gift ideas: ANYTHING that shows your love for your host's home state or city. These North Carolina mugs and kitchen towels are a best-seller, a sure-fire hit!
A host has invited guests, provided food and drinks and sometimes entertainment, has opened a home. A gift is a lovely way to thank someone for this hospitality. With gifts from Fleet-Plummer, you can surprise YOUR host/hostess with graceful gratitude.