Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Holiday 2012: Hostess Gifts

Image from marthastewart.com.
The first holiday party invitation arrived in the mail last week!   Besides the fun of putting together festive holiday outfits, I love to put together fun and festive gifts for the hosts.   But what to get??   Think special treats for the hosts that they might not otherwise buy for themselves!    This year, I’m leaning towards personalized, if I kick into gear early enough, and edible.  Yum!

See’s, an old fashioned chocolater since 1921, makes the most delish candies and mints.   Just for the holidays, the California confectioner, opened a shop in Burlington, MA at Wayside Commons which I stumbled into on a girl's night out with an old friend.  The sales gals were generous with samples and all self-control when out the window.   $75 later, I walked out with a bag of assorted treats. These old fashioned peppermint candies need only a red ribbon.  Done! $10. 
Images from sees.com
Pair these mints or any other edible with a bottle of amazing vino!   If you're looking for  a great wine with a great story, look no further than 90+ Cellars, a Boston-based wine brand that brings fine wine from all over the world to you at a fraction of the original price.  The idea is this: they bottle the excess from highly respected wineries with a history of high ratings. I first heard about 90+ on Chronicle last year and had to try it.   The Russian River Valley Pinot Noir is fantastic and we have a case in the wine cooler.  Available at Nine East Wine Emporium.  From $15.
Image from ninetypluscellars.com.

I'm a sucker for decorative plates and CWonder has a fantastic selection.  Perfect for jewels, change or keys!  Better than the junk drawer.  And the one on the bottom? We could all use a little zebra in our lives.

Images from cwonder.com.
Jen and I both love personalized stationary.  Who doesn't, really?  Especially when you can place the order with your Christmas cards!   I like this classic design from Tiny Prints
Image from tinyprints.com.
Laguiole France is known for its Languiole cheese, which has an Appellation d'Origine Controlee (label of guaranteed origin) and as the birthplace of the Laguiole knife.  I bouth this Laguiole cheese knife at Anthropologie last year and couldn't be happier with it.  The French know how to make cheese and cheese knive sets, let me tell you.  It comes in a lovely box ready for wrapping.  Pair with a gift certificate from Wasiks or your favorite fromagerie for a little apres-party wine and cheese love fest.
Image from anthropologie.com.
An adorably cheeky way to serve guests on this solid wood serving board, flanked by twoadorable silver mice. $28 at CWonder.

Image from cwonder.com.

There's lot of good hostess gifts to be had locally in our home town of Wellesley.  Try these monogram coasters from Papers & Presents for $40...
Image from paperspresents.com.
...or these initial notecards for $13.
Image from paperspresents.com.
I am always looking for a good book to read and forever asking my friends to share their lists.  Stop by Wellesley Books and pick up one of your favorites from 2012 and inscribe the inside cover with a little holiday happy.

What about a summer story by Nichole Bernier, Wellesley author?  In 'The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D.', Kate's peaceful summer is anything but when she inherits a trunk of journals by her deceased friend.  The journals reveal a woman far different than the cheerful wife and mother Kate thought she knew. 
Image from wellesley.indiebound.com.

Shout out to my formidable rival on Words with Friends (you know who you are!) for your recommendation for 'Gone Girl'.   I got the book on CD and listened during the commute.  It's about a marriage gone awry so consider the audience when giving. :-) 
Image from amazon.com.
One of my favorite reads this year!
Image from goodreads.com.
This book is on my Christmas list.  If you don't follow Deb Perelman's blog, SmittenKitchen, drop everything now and check it out.   She creates simple delicious recipes in her shoebox kitchen in NY and has just published her first cookbook.  Great hostess gift!
Image from smittenkitchen.com.
If you are local in Wellesley, a newcomer and local favorite shop perfect for gift-giving is Pine Straw in Wellesley.  Owner Tracy Cranley has a great design eye and her perfectly curated gift store won't disappoint.  She's pointed me to her favorite hostess gifts this year.  First up, the Corkicle..chill the rod attached to the cork and voila, instantly chilled wine!  
Image from Lisa Bida.
Love, Peace and Joy candles luminate from within.  She has cute, decorative match boxes to go with.
Image from Lisa Bida.
Your host will want to ditch the Trade Joe's liquid hand soap for these beautifully wrapped and fragrant soaps from Claus Porto.
Image from Lisa Bida.
No, this is not wine.  It's dishwashing soap!   The pretty bottle would look right at home on my counter next to the real bottle of wine.  
Image from Lisa Bida.
How about these hometown coasters for the man-cave or den?
Image from Lisa Bida.

If I'm going to a party where the kids are invited, I like to throw in a little giftie for the children.  These straw drinking glasses were a HUGE hit last year and kept the kids occupied the next day while Mom and Dad were recovering.  $3.99 at the Container Store.
Image from containerstore.com.
Or how about these cool old-school, low-tech, high-fun trinkets I found at Pine Straw?
Image from Lisa Bida.com.
Happy Party season, one and all!  ~ LB

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