Party clothes on. Strappy sandals buckled and you just need one ribbon and one bottle of wine before heading out the door to the holiday dinner party you’ve been looking forward to for weeks.
Stop for a second.
Is wine really the right gift to bring?
Where once that pretty, easily decorated bottle was a no-brainer, now the awareness of alcoholism among other factors has knocked wine from its position as hostess gift number one. Now what is there? Lots.
- Flowers: Fresh flowers add to the holiday party’s festive feel and the home’s décor. Choosing flowers in Christmas or Hanukkah colors get both guest and host humming with holiday spirit. The most conscientious guests send flowers a day early so the hostess can factor her new decoration into the party decor. People rarely buy flowers for themselves, so a bouquet will make the host or hostess feel deliciously spoiled. Busy people can send flowers online with a minimum of effort.
- Gourmet or Decadent Foods: Gourmet chocolates, artisanal cheeses and even organic fruit reward any chef. Most hosts or hostesses would love to buy the premium cheese, but forego it for the less expensive version. Where the price may seem steep when using it in a recipe, that $10 block of asiago becomes a reasonably priced gift from a party guest. Or if you are closer to the host and you have already offered to chip in for dessert, ordering festive Christmas berries is affordable and a decoration in itself. When better to sample something unique and decadent than at the holidays?
- Premium Vinegars and Olive Oils: We’ve all stared at it through the windows at Williams Sonoma; now there’s a great excuse to buy the Yellingbo Gold Limited Release Extra Virgin Olive Oil or some similarly named neighbor. Again, while $28 for a bottle of home-use olive oil may feel too indulgent, as a hostess gift, it’s at just the right price level. And how about that 25-Year Barrel-Aged Balsamic Vinegar? Maybe the hostess will give you a taste in the kitchen or even put it out with her fancy breads.
- Gift Baskets: While a huge gift basket of meats and cheeses may steal the hostess’ thrill in feeding guests, smaller baskets could be just the right token of your appreciation. Free gift basket delivery an affordable way to give both a Christmas gift and a hostess gift in one. Gift baskets don’t just carry foods any more. Cookie bouquets, bath oils and salts, premium nuts, dried and organic fruits all spoil hosts and hostesses with items they would never buy for themselves. Find baskets filled with kosher gifts, which will help the hostess have appropriate snacks, fruits and chocolates on hand for kosher guests. Google “free gift basket delivery” to find money-saving coupons.
- Natural Candles and Soaps: Candles and soaps made with essential oils and soy waxes surprise holiday hostesses with a convenient and thoughtful gift. With the party invitations, preparing the dining table and cooking the meal, when does the hostess have time to think about preparing her bathroom for guests? This gift will help her enrich the party and it's a practical gift that most people never consider.
Wine, You Had Your Time
Twenty years ago, people wouldn’t think of going to a friend’s house without bringing a bottle of wine. Alternatives like these still demonstrate a guest’s genuine appreciation and perhaps in ways that are more tailored to the hostess’ personality. While a guest shouldn’t go overboard thanking a hostess for the invitation, reasonably priced oils, vinegars, foods and flowers make her glad she went to all the effort.