Here are a few ideas:
- A homemade food item that the hostess can use later (not something to be shared at the party). Examples: a batch of muffins for the next day's breakfast, a loaf of bread (the world's best pumpkin bread recipe here), a sampling of your family's favorite treats. By all means tie a festive ribbon on your gift and write a short note telling your hostess how much you appreciate being included in the party.
- A small seasonal decoration, such as an ornament for the hostess's Christmas tree or a pair of beautiful candles--something small that can be put to use very easily. If you want to give a little larger gift, try tying a seasonal decoration to the top of a food gift.
- A small potted plant or a bouquet of flowers already in a vase. Your hostess doesn't need to leave her guests to go hunt for a vase, so present plants or flowers in ready-to-use form. You can find nice plants for less than $5.00 at grocery floral departments or home improvement stores. Wrap the plastic pot in gift wrap or kraft paper, tie with a bow, and you've got a nice gift. Or make a weathered pot (directions here) to put your plant in. As for flowers, buy a bouquet of all one kind of flower for just a few dollars and arrange them in a thrift-store vase (cheap) or a jar wrapped in burlap (even cheaper--directions here). With plants, add a little moss on top of the dirt to make the plant look like it came from a florist. With flowers, cut the long stems off so that just the blooms are visible above the vase.
- A small, usable item such as a pretty stopper for a wine bottle, a bottle opener, or a package of paper napkins. Beverage napkins are some of my favorite things, and I often find them for less than $2 at TJMaxx and Tuesday Morning.
Now I want to show you a hostess gift that was given to me on Halloween weekend. Several college students, all friends of my son's, used our house as a "home base" during a weekend reunion. One of the girls presented us with this:
It's a seasonal photo storage box; she had just written "THANKS!" on the front label. And look what was inside:
Homemade sugar cookies that said "Thank you!" plus some fun candy treats.
Can you imagine my delight in receiving this? My guest spent a few dollars and some of her precious time just to say thank you--and she made my day. I was delighted for her to stay at our house, so I didn't need a thank-you gift. . . but it surely made me happy to receive it!
Can you think of some other simple, inexpensive hostess gifts? If so, please leave a comment, including links to posts of yours if you like. And may you be invited to many fun gatherings at which you can try these out!