I’ll be the first to admit I’ll never be one to turn down a good bottle of wine (okay, okay, ANY bottle of wine), but in the days of modern etiquette I’m always looking for a gift to get excited about when attending parties. As I said before, wine (if your host drinks wine) is always a good ol’ standby – but as a good ol’ standby, it is likely to be found in copious amounts in the hostess’s gift pile. Why not evaluate the event you’re attending and think a little outside the box…
Dinner party? Think exotic salts or spices. I LOVE “Fleur de Sel French Sea Salt”, it is fantastic salt that goes a long way – you’ll end up using less salt and loving it more than any sea salt you’ve ever encountered before. If sodium is a concern, skip right in to the spice world with “Habanero Sugar”: it’s fantastic for rimming exotic cocktails or giving eggs, chocolate, and chicken a surprisingly sweet and spicy kick in the pants.
Housewarming? No doubt the standby of welcoming textiles such as hand towels and candle holders will be abundant here, but your host will probably appreciate the foresight of a coupon toward a house cleaning or carpet shampooing (especially if their new digs are a little dingy after hosting a party). Not in to the gift certificate thing? That’s ok! How about instead of a traditional potted house plant, go for some potted indoor herbs to brighten up a window sill?
Bon Voyage Party? Whether they’re leaving by plane, train, or automobile, you’ve got plenty to choose from! Is your hostess taking a road trip with some of her best-ies? Send her on her way with an auto detail on you. She’ll be so thankful upon return when she can restore her car to pre-trip pristine condition. Is she flying high in the sky for a number of hours en route to her destination? Being mindful of the “3.4oz or less” regulations, send her packing with a invigorating skin mister and nourishing moisturizer like Aveda’s – she’ll feel as refreshed as if she had traveled business class and as radiant as if she hadn’t just spent12 hours on the red-eye. If Amtrack is the way to travel, get her the latest guilty pleasure “crack-book” series off the shelf! She’s probably already read Twilight, but the YA series The Hunger Games or the classic romantic series Outlander will definitely keep time flying faster than a speeding bullet, and she’ll never have to admit to anyone she’s read them!
For Any and All Other Occasions (if you’re me or like me): I wouldn’t be doing anyone a favor if I left off the option of cheese! Check out your nearby organic-frou-frou store (Whole Foods, PCC, Metropolitan Market) for some local cheeses (farmstead cheeses are those made completely on premises from the cows to the curds while artisan cheeses are still handcrafted but outsource their milk, often locally). Some of my favorites of Washington: Mt. Townsend Creamery Trufflestack, Beecher’s Flagship Cheese, and Quillisacut Traditional Curado!
Well there you have it! Gift away (or treat yourself if you like what you read)!