6 great host gift ideas
If you’ve received an invitation to a dinner or large fête, show your appreciation by giving your host a small gift. Here are a few helpful suggestions and things to consider.
Rethink the bottle of wine
"Most people show up with a bottle of wine, and I'm bored to tears of it," says designer and member of the Design Inc. cast Thomas Smythe, who happens to be an expert entertainer. Your host will have the meal and drinks already planned, and what you bring might not fit in. She may be serving white, not red; or cocktails, not wine. "You don't want to impose anything wine-wise," he says.
Take care with flowers
"A host is busy enough...having to find a vase and fill it with water while trying to greet guests can add extra stress," say Ashleigh Dempster and Amanda Blakley, cofounders of the exclusive Toronto culture club The Society. Instead, they recommend bringing a potted plant like gerberas or amaryllis, or sending a bouquet the day before, or even after the event as a thank you.
Give something they'll use
"Always bring something useful, like candles," says Thomas. He suggests high-quality plain white tapered candles, which everyone has a use for. Or try a bag of nicely packaged votives or a beautiful scented candle.
Thomas recommends a luxurious, yet useful, gift from a high-end retailer, like Eau d'Orange Verte perfumed soap from Hermes. "It's a total luxury, but it's about the same price as a really good bottle of wine," he says. "And it comes in a beautiful emerald green box, which is my favourite colour."
Keep one or two host gifts on hand to save you the stress of having to pick something up in time for Friday night's dinner. "I always have a bar of the Hermes soap ready in an Hermes bag at home," says Thomas. "When I give one, I buy another right away. I always have something to give."
Beyond the gift
In addition to bringing something, show your host your appreciation by being on your best behaviour. "There's no need to show up at a party the moment it starts," says Amanda. "Most likely, the host is still running around like crazy taking care of last-minute details, anyway. Ten to fifteen minutes late is acceptable, but after 30 to 40 minutes, you're pushing it," she says. And don't stay beyond your welcome. Watch for signs that the party is winding down -- your host has turned the music down or the lights up, and she's beginning to yawn a lot -- and make a graceful exit.