get gifting: the best guest

{Editor’s Note: Our new Gift Gal, Jennefer, is at it again with a pile of handy ideas for the ultimate hostess gift. File this one away under things you’ll need before you know it (especially with holiday parties just around the corner), or be super organized and buy a few now to stash away.}

Jennefer T. ~ You get invited to a friend’s house for dinner…or better yet, to spend the weekend at their mansion in the Hamptons complete with a pool boy that looks like Channing Tatum who is ready, willing and able to serve you mojitos as you relax to the sounds of the nearby ocean. Wait, where was I? Right. You get invited to a friend’s house for dinner. You know it is polite to bring a hostess gift but have zero time to get this done, which means you’re about to default to the standard, totally predictable bottle of wine.

Never fear, your Gift Gal is here. The key is foresight. You are a popular girl. You know you will be invited to a number of parties and dinners throughout the year. So, plan ahead. Order or buy hostess gifts as you see them and keep them in a little drawer (or if you are like me, a closet) for “gift emergencies”.

Motivated? I hope so because I have some creative hostess ideas for you to jump on right now.

No. 1: Gin and Titonic Ice Cube Tray, $10 / Zoku Duo Quick Pop Maker, $37 / Alessi Corkscrew, $50;
No. 2: Ice Cream Press, $14 / Barefoot Contessa How Easy Is That?, $20 / Baked, $30 / Artist Palette Cheese Plate, $30;
No. 3: Bananagrams, $15 / Catchphrase, $27 / Glee Karaoke Revolution,$16

No. 1: I’ll drink to that. Let’s start with my favorite gift (and topic): booze. The difference between showing up with a bottle of liquor and a memorable hostess gift is quirk. If you are going to bring a bottle of gin, make sure you bring a Gin and Titonic ice cube tray to go along with it. Don’t just bring champagne and orange juice to brunch, partner it with the Zoku Quick Pop Maker and help your hostess make mimosa popsicles. If you must stick with the traditional bottle of wine, bring along a cute corkscrew to go with it. My favorite is by Alessi, but you can easily find a less expensive one.

No. 2: Dessert first. If you are headed to Robert Downey Jr’s house and want to steer clear of gifting alcohol, there are plenty of charming food-related gifts to try. My personal favorite, mostly because it gives me an excuse to immediately chow down on ice cream, is a mini ice cream sandwich press with the accompaniments. Or, wrap up a cookbook they can use the next time they have you over. If I didn’t love my mom so much, I would be buying the next bus ticket to New York to see if Ina Garten, aka the Barefood Contessa, would adopt me. I also routinely use Baked from the eponymous bakery in Brooklyn. Even for a mediocre baker, their recipes always seem to turn out. And if all else fails, a serving dish that can be put to immediate use is a great gift. Fish’s Eddy is the best dish shop in all the world. I suggest buying their Artist Palette Cheese Tray in bulk.

No. 3: Crowd Pleaser. Bringing an activity can sometimes be a lifesaver, especially when a dinner party veers into the “I’ve heard this story 1,000 times” territory. Because I am addicted to Words with Friends, I always bring Bananagrams, which is speed Scrabble on steroids. Catchphrase is another goodie, especially when you pit couples against each other. Or, if you really want to throw down (and have had a few drinks), there is nothing like karaoke. Assuming your friend has a Wii, Glee Karaoke Revolution is my hands-down favorite but that is because I am a total Gleek – any Karaoke Revolution will do.

What is your go-to hostess gift? I am always on the lookout for new ideas. And if you’re stumped for an upcoming gift-giving occasion, leave a comment and it could be the subject of my next post. I love a challenge!

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7 comments on “get gifting: the best guest

  1. Kristina

    Can one of your next posts be: “What to buy your kids’ teachers for Christmas”? This stumps and stresses me out every year!

  2. Pingback: Christmas Hostess Gifts

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