Monday, November 22, 2010

Hostess with the Mostest


How many of you are like me, and feel the need to bring a hostess gift with you to a dinner party or a get-together? You probably either agree, or you may read that and think I'm Martha Stewart on steroids and I always bring a gift with me when I leave the house, but that would be very very wrong. We do, however try to always bring something with us when we are invited over - but that "something" varies depending on the situation. When we visit with friends we see all the time we usually bring beer or wine, or if dinner is involved - a side dish or dessert. But friends we don't see often or if it's an actual "dinner party", sometimes it's necessary to present our hosts with a token of our appreciation for their hospitality.

Now when you couple that with two very busy schedules and multiple circles of friends, there is sometimes a last minute rush to grab a gift and head out the door. So it is for this reason that I have taken a queue from the master himself (Colin Cowie) and I keep a few hostess gifts on hand, ready to go!. Colin suggests that you keep these items wrapped and labeled with sticky notes so you don't forget what it is. ~Genius!~
So, what kinds of things do I keep on hand to give as a gift? Obviously nothing personalized since I'm never sure who is going to get it. And by the same token, it can't be anything too personal or taste specific. There are 6 categories of gifts I have in my "gift closet" and 6 weeks until New Years'. So, I'm turning this into a MINISERIES! I'll feature a different category each week from now until New Years, with lots of ideas for you all. This week's category: Vino! I thought it was a great item to start with since it's typically the most common hostess gift to give.

Generally you would give a red or white, but sometimes it's more festive to give a bottle of champagne instead. Now I LOVE me some bubbly, but not everyone does. A great option? Asti - Spumante. It's a sweeter alternative to dry champagne. The best brand? Martini + Rossi. Anywhere from $10 - $18 depending on where you go. (Yay, Costco!)

For times when you can get away with giving just simply a bottle of wine, its nice to dress it up with a gift tag.  You can get a stash that are personalized with a message from you and just slip one over top of the bottle neck - good to go! And if you don't know a lot about wines or you don't drink the stuff yourself, how great are these wine tags from Papermash?!

You can also dress it up with a pretty gift bag. Go with a gift bag from a card store, or go multi-purpose with a wine tote. It's a gift bag for your wine but is a gift all by itself that can be used over and over again. I love the Built NY wine koozie totes. These are especially great if you're giving a white wine that needs to be kept cold. If you're going to keep one on-hand and you're not sure who will end up receiving it, try a basic black or even red.

A pretty bottle stopper is another great option. You can get these anywhere! I try to keep my eye out for them when I'm out. I love these from Pottery Barn

Some other wine accessories are a fancy bottle opener like the Metrokane Rabbit.
Or try the Vinturi wine aerators - they have one for red AND one for white!

With the holidays coming up, you'll most likely know of parties and get-togethers in advance so you can be better prepared with a gift picked out just for the recipient. It's fun to give something more personal and specialized during the holidays. You don't necessarily have to spend a ton of money on these gifts either. I'm going to be working on some DIY gifts this season to keep my budget under control. I tested one out last night and I can't wait share with you!

Stay tuned for these DIY money-savers and don't forget to check back each week between now and New Years to see what else I've got stashed away in my "gift closet"!

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