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Hostess Gifts: These are a Few of my Favorite Things

During the holidays, you’re probably making your list and checking it twice. Did you remember to buy something for the kids’ teachers? Check. Great-grandma? Done. How about host or hostess gifts to bring to holiday gatherings? Um…

Fear not. At this time of year, there are plenty of easy ways to follow the old advice to “never show up empty handed.” I always buy a few small, extra gifts when holiday shopping so I’m not scrambling at the last minute to find a hostess gift and something to wear. Because, let’s be honest, the latter is going to take up all of my time and then some. Here are a few favorite hostess gifts that I’m keeping on hand this year.

1. 5-minute handmade ornaments. I picked up a package of clear bulb ornaments at the craft store, ready to be filled with buttons, beads, strips of colorful paper, pom poms, ribbons, and whatever other pretty bits and bobs I have on hand. The ones I bought are shatterproof plastic and require no glue, so even my small sons, ages 6 and 2, can stuff the ornaments and then proudly present them as handmade gifts when we show up for holiday gatherings.

2. Wine and mulling spices. A bottle of red wine and a packet of mulling spices make for a festive treat that’s highly unlikely to get re-gifted. You can buy mulling spices at most grocery stores or, if you’re feeling ambitious, you can make your own blend with whole allspice, cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon sticks. Any dry red wine (like Coppola Director’s Cabernet Sauvignon) will do. 

3. Books. I love receiving books hand-picked for me by friends, so when I find a novel I can’t stop talking about it, I often will buy a couple of extra copies to keep on hand for presents. This year, I’m gifting a few copies of Erin Celello’s Learning to Stay, which is set in snowy Wisconsin (my home state).

4. Wine and books.  Books & Bottles, a gift that pairs novels with Coppola wines and menus and playlists? The best of both worlds, just a few clicks away.

5. Cute kitchen towels. It seems boring, but let’s be honest: one can never have enough kitchen towels. My sister-in-law once gifted me with a pack of pretty, printed kitchen towels and ever since then I’ve made them a go-to hostess gift, tied up with some baker’s twine or a grosgrain ribbon and a gift tag.

I know the holidays can be hectic, so here’s hoping that some simple gift ideas will minimize the amount of last-minute running around you have to do, so you can focus on more fun stuff, like being with the people you love.

Susan Gloss is the bestselling and award-winning author of Vintage and The Joy Collector (coming in 2018). She lives in Wisconsin, where winters are long but made better by plenty of good books and good wine.