Holiday Gift Guide: Party Host

The start of November marks the beginning of this wonderful holiday season for all hosts, hostesses, and party-goers!  Soon, we’ll be celebrating the holidays with family, friends, and (surely), lots of good food and drink.  

Dinner parties, happy hours, and holiday gatherings are right around the corner.  We want to make sure that as those invites start rolling in, you don’t have to worry about showing up empty-handed.  

A nice bottle of wine or a beautiful flower arrangement will always be a beautiful way to thank your host for their hospitality.  But, sometimes you may want to switch it up and bring something a bit more unique.  

Tip: Stock up on a few different host gifts to stash in your closet for any last-minute events that pop up, and save yourself the sweat!

 

I love this personalized recipe board as a thoughtful gift for a special friend or family member.  Maybe they have a favorite recipe that you could share, or perhaps you could have one made from an old family recipe passed down through the generations.  Just send the image of the recipe over to be personalized directly onto the board for that extra-special, handwritten touch!

Frontgate

 

For a more simple, modern take on this idea, mixed material cheese boards are a great option.  Marble, slate, wood- you name it, and it’s out there!

West Elm

 

 

Williams Sonoma

 

Obviously, we LOVE everything Kate Spade.  And, we love their products even more to give as gifts because of how cute and clever everything always is.  This apron would make a fun, playful gift for your host.  Plus, the inside flap has all your measurement equivalents written down as a bonus little cheat-sheet!  

Kate Spade

 

Does your host have a favorite cocktail or drink that they’re always ordering at happy hour?  This cocktail shaker is perfect for foolproof recipes without having to look them up each time!

Sur La Table

 

A decanter for their finer liquors is always a nice gift, and this one is both festive and practical with numbered glasses for your guests to tell theirs apart.

Pottery Barn

 

Maybe your host prefers a nice bottle of wine?  This Clef du Vin helps to “age” your bottle of wine by one year for each second that it is submerged in a glass.  Plus, it even comes with a travel size version!

Frontgate

 

I love a nice warm cup of tea after dinner, and I bet your host would love this single-serve teapot and mug that they can use to treat themselves to nice cup in style.

Anthropologie

 

Sometimes I feel like there can never be enough coasters floating around at parties.  Any host would love to add a few more around their home as the drinks start being poured!  I love the simplicity of marble, but a beautiful gold leaf adds a unique twist here.

Crate & Barrel

 

Candle holders and napkin rings are a tried and true staple of host gifts, but that doesn’t mean they have to be boring!  A funky, modern pair of candle holders are perfect for the contemporary host, while napkin ring cuffs adorned with a sweet saying may be best for the more traditional one.  

Urban Outfitters

 

 

The Bella Cottage

 

What are some of your favorite host or hostess gifts to give?  Have you ever received one that really stood out?  Let us know your favorite ideas in the comments!  

Happy Holidays, everyone!  Make sure to subscribe to our blog and Like us on Facebook to be the first to know about the rest of our Holiday Gift Guides this season!  

Christmas Tablescapes

Hosting Christmas dinner?  Need some last minute ideas to set that perfect table?  Every year I try to mix it up a little with my tablescapes.  I’ve done the fresh greens, the table full of candles, the long and low floral arrangements, the ornaments in bowls… every year I look for something just a little bit different.  Here are a few inspirations to help you create something beautiful for your table!

 

White is always fresh and crisp.  This is a lovely yet simple table.  I LOVE the mini gingerbread houses!  Such a great idea, but honestly, a little too advanced for me!

Good Housekeeping

Good Housekeeping

 

Loving the woodland look this year.  But not ready to get out the chainsaw!

Elizabeth Anne Designs

Elizabeth Anne Designs

 

This is such a pretty and natural array of greens and candles.  May be a possibility!

Ruffled Blog

Ruffled Blog, Photo by Park Road Photography

 

I know these are tablescapes from weddings, but I love the garland idea for the holidays!  And fresh fruit is always a great addition on tables for the holidays.

Green Wedding Shoes

Green Wedding Shoes

 

More natural centerpieces!  I love the simple place cards!

Simple Bites

Simple Bites

 

Festive, fun, and colorful!

AO At Home

AO At Home

 

The more of these natural tablescapes I see the more I think I’m going to be out in my yard tomorrow doing some greens cutting!

Nest of Bliss

Nest of Bliss

 

So sparkly and elegant!  I love the array of varied height milk glass candlesticks!

Rustic Wedding Chic

Rustic Wedding Chic

 

So many great ideas.  I think I’m leaning towards some fresh greens and a natural look for this year, and I certainly hope it’s warm in Boston tomorrow, because I think Ill be doing some green cutting!  What is your Christmas tablescape?  Send us your pictures and we’ll post them!!  Good luck!

How to Be the Best Holiday Host… Without Breaking the Bank!

I LOVE the holidays and I love to share them with family and friends.  Hosting holiday dinners and parties should be a time of celebration- not a stressful, budget-busting nightmare.  I’ve learned a lot over the past 25 years of hosting family celebrations.  So, if you’re the host…and the chef…here are some helpful hints, so you don’t get SO wrapped up in preparation that you’re too tired to enjoy the celebration!

1.  Plan your menu carefully!  Think about your schedule and your budget the week prior to your party, and only put things on the menu that you can handle.  No one is going to know if that appetizer took hours or minutes!  Consider making things ahead of time and freezing them.  I start baking my holiday cookies the week after Thanksgiving, and Christmas breakfast cinnamon buns are in the freezer 2 weeks in advance.  Make lists – sort them by stores and schedule your menu right down to the times you take them out of the oven.  This helps if you have other helpers in the kitchen, too.

2.  Think buffet/food stations!  Yes, we all like to have a sit-down dinner.  But if it means you have to set up 5 tables with serving platters on each, consider putting all the food on the buffet!  This means 1 serving dish for each item and a lot easier to clean up.  If you’re having a dinner, you still want to make sure you have a place for everyone to sit and a table to put their plate on.  Heavy hors d’oevres and “cocktail party” food is easier to balance if you don’t have a seat for everyone.

3.  Ambiance means lighting and music!  Set the queue on your iPod to run the night.  Remember to crank up the beat for cocktails and temper down the volume for dinner!  Drip-less candles and battery-operated candles are great if you have a really large crowd and don’t have time to keep an eye on things.  Now is the time to use the dimmers on those overhead lights!

4.  Think easy clean-up!  We all want to be “green” but sometimes disposable is actually better than all the water it takes to wash all those dishes.  There are amazing products available that are hard to tell that they aren’t fine china!

5.  Most important – Have fun!  As my friend Colleen says, “This is no one’s last meal”.  The celebration and the company are why they are there.  We all want the food to be perfect but things happen.  Here’s a true story about an office party I hosted…

I really wanted to try a spectacular chocolate raspberry torte.  It took hours.  When it was almost finished, the last step was to cover it with whipped cream.  At this point I was out of time and running out of steam.  I grabbed the “whipped cream in a can” covered the cake and put in the fridge.  Serving time comes and into the fridge I go…only to find the “whipped cream in a can” had deflated and ran down the torte and down every shelf in my refrigerator.  I couldn’t stop laughing – OMG what do I do??  I went back to the party and enlisted the help of a dear friend.  Once we stopped laughing we cleaned off the cream, plated it from the kitchen and added an extra squirt of cream on its way out of the kitchen.  After all the “oohs” and “ahhs” over the dessert (which was AMAZING!) we told our story.  To this day I think about that and what I learned.  Your guests are there for your company…they are very forgiving.  And your response to unexpected surprises is infectious.  If you shrug it off and laugh, they will, too!

So, do yourself a favor and RELAX!  (And a glass of wine for the cook doesn’t hurt, either!)

To spruce up your decor, try one of these!  You can never have too much glitz over the holidays!

 

Amber Glitter Strings, Pier 1 Imports

Amber Glitter Strings, Pier 1 Imports

 

Lacquer Chargers, West Elm

Lacquer Chargers, West Elm

 

Gold Waves Square Dish, Studio A

Gold Waves Square Dish, Studio A

 

Glitter Coasters, Kate Spade

Glitter Coasters, Kate Spade

Grace Avenue Napkin Ring, Set of Four, Kate Spade

Grace Avenue Napkin Ring, Set of Four, Kate Spade

 

Mod, Chilewich

Mod, Chilewich

 

Crystal Bracelet Napkin Ring, Set of 4, Pottery Barn

Crystal Bracelet Napkin Ring, Set of 4, Pottery Barn

 

This is a great idea for a cocktail party!  Now you can eat, drink, talk, and walk….

Party Plate With Built-In Stemware Holder, Plastic, Direct Shopping Center

Party Plate With Built-In Stemware Holder, Plastic, Direct Shopping Center

Sleek and Shiny Wine Bottle Glasses Holder Heel Ivory, Jewelry Nanny

Sleek and Shiny Wine Bottle Glasses Holder Heel Ivory, Jewelry Nanny

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And how fun are these?!!  I guarantee that camera will turn a few heads!  So, grab your glass and fill it to the rim, you’re going to need it!  Happy Entertaining!

Smile an Say Cheese Sliver, Modcloth

Smile and Say Cheese Sliver, Modcloth

Hang on a Prosecco Wine Rack, Modcloth

Hang on a Prosecco Wine Rack, Modcloth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love any new hints for party planning!  Please share yours in the comments section!