Whether you are invited to a holiday cocktail party or you’ll be spending multiple nights with family or friends, ’tis the season to shower your host or hostess with a thoughtful gift. We’ve included the classic hostess gifts like wine and candles, but we’ve also rounded up some other ideas that will thrill your host (and ensure that you don’t wear out your welcome!).
A kitchen towel is a classic hostess gift when you’re invited to a meal, but when it’s already sweetly packaged within a pretty fruit bowl, it makes for an irresistible gift. (And no wrapping required!) Find this two-for-one gift at Digs Home & Garden for $16.
Posh Home carries another no-wrapping-necessary gift that would be perfect for the hostess of a children’s party or cookie exchange. Pick up this tasty sugar cookie or brownie mix wrapped in a Christmas flour sack kitchen towel for $26 and be on your way!
Wine is a safe go-to gift for your holiday host, but this season, turn to a connoisseur who will help you choose a special bottle without spending more than $20. The “Wall of Awesomeness” at Commonwealth Tap in Norton Commons surely holds a bottle that will make your host smile.
Notecards and notepads are easy-to-wrap gifts that always put a smile on your hostess’ face. Paper Doll Stationery’s Kentucky Christmas notecards (10 for $14) will help your hostess celebrate her holidays in Kentucky style, no matter if she cheers for the Cards or the Cats.
There is no shortage of candles in stores this holiday season. Pop in to virtually any gift shop or fashion boutique, and you will be able to choose from candles in all shapes, sizes and scents. They may be as ubiquitous as a bottle of wine for holiday hostess gifting, but they are popular for good reason — everyone enjoys a lovely scented home! Lee W. Robinson, known for his exquisite interior design, also has a line of candles, each already packaged ready for gifting.
Step inside Bourbon Barrel Foods on Franfort Avenue and you’ll have a difficult time narrowing down your hostess gift options, especially if you’re shopping for a cook. We love that you can find Henry Bain’s famous sauce ($10), a staple on Kentucky plates alongside beef tenderloin during the holidays. This delicious sauce, created by the captain of Louisville’s famed Pendennis Club more than 100 years ago, will be a treat for all your foodie friends.
Coffee & baked goods
If you’re attending a raging Christmas or New Year’s party, it’s likely the host will be hurting the next morning. No one wants wine or candles at 11 a.m. with a hangover and a messy house. Nothing would be more thoughtful than a bag of coffee and baked goods, ready to comfort the hostess on the morning after. Scones and muffins from Blue Dog Bakery are less than $5 each; pair with a bag of coffee from Heine Bros., and you’ve got a perfect gift!
Food is always a good idea. Try bringing an appetizer your host can use the night of the party, or something such as a frozen casserole, ready to pop in the oven for brunch or dinner the day after the festivities. A Louisville favorite that everyone loves is the small cheese torte ($16.50) from The Cheddar Box in Chenoweth Square. They also sell casseroles and sides; just call (502) 893-2324 and check their daily menu before you place your order.
Invited to a holiday dinner? Give the chef his or her very own rosemary plant, a practical gift that can be used indoors all winter long, and, with a green thumb, can be replanted in the garden come spring. Plus, the scent of rosemary is always welcome during the holidays. This petite plant is sold at Mahonia for $20.
FOR THE GUYS
It’s easy to find hostess gifts that appeal to the lady of the house, but what do you bring your male host (besides bourbon, of course)? These bottle openers at The Urban Farmhouse Market on Frankfort Avenue are only $6, and they both look and feel as heavy as real wrenches and hammers.
For the king of the party with his own man cave, this pool ball wine stopper will look splendid sitting out on the bar atop a terrific bottle of wine. Find it for $10 at Cartwheels Paper & Gifts.
This set of handmade leather coasters by local leather artisan Clayton & Crume will look handsome sitting out on a coffee table or bar. Available at their Bardstown Road store or online in many fun designs, including flag, state shapes, and collegiate, we found these bourbon barrel and Cardinals coasters at BLU Boutique for $35.
EXTENDED HOLIDAY VISITS
Darling State of Mind in Westport Village has a darling doormat that will thrill your Southern host family (and perhaps keep the invitation on the table for next year!). If you’re traveling to another home for a holiday stay, greet your generous family with a “Hey Y’all” doormat ($28) and they’ll remember you every time they enter their home.
If you’re really looking to “wow” your hostess, order a lovely floral arrangement ahead of your holiday visit. A call to Amy Streeter at Susan’s Florist will ensure that your arrangement is personal; she can include your hostess’ favorite flowers or something that will coordinate with her Christmas decor.
‘Tis the season for parties and visits, and ’tis the season to remember your gracious host or hostess. Get gifting!
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