‘Tis the season for entertaining and going to parties and racking your brain for a gift that shows genuine appreciation for your hostess. Riffling the back of the drinks cupboard for the bottle of Jägermeister won at a stag party, and that’s lasted longer than the marriage it was meant to herald, is not showing appreciation. In fact, why don’t you just crack that bottle open and de-ice your walkway with it?
The best holiday hostess gifts serve two purposes: They’re thanks for getting you out of the house and should NOT — it bears shouting it — be something to share with guests. They’re a nod to the homeowners that you understand they probably didn’t sit still for three days leading up to the party, so once everyone’s gone home the gift should pamper them in some way.
Five Best Holiday Hostess Gifts
Hand Cream Set
The weather outside is frightful, and getting worse, at least for much of Canada and the US, and our extremities take the brunt of it. A hand cream made from shea butter that hints of soft Provençal winds blowing through olive groves while the cicadas sing their evening song will be welcome. Find the L’Occitane products online or in stores.
Shea Daily Duo $20-24
This is hands down the most useful item for evenings spent catching up on a favourite show or book. A cozy throw is perfect for keeping warm while the snow is blowing outside or for hiding behind when you know someone’s about to lose their head; Game of Thrones parties never end well. Many of us own at least one of these, but one isn’t enough when there are thieving family members around who forget it was your present and not theirs. But who’s pointing fingers? It’s the holidays and time for goodwill towards men (and sticky-fingered kids). Indigo has beautiful throws, and if you’re shopping there for other gifts the throws are often discounted with a purchase.
Luxe Cozy Throw $25-80
Citrus Juicer & Lemons
Everybody and their uncle recommend beginning the day with fresh-squeezed lemon juice in water, and citrus juice figures prominently in many baked goods. Also, how cute is this Little Helpers Juicer from Greige Designs? Package the juicer — you can find all kinds at kitchen supply stores — with a bag of Meyer lemons for an original and delicious gift.
Little Helpers Juicer $29 and Meyer lemonslittlegemtrees from Flickr
Hand-Crocheted Infinity Scarf
A handmade gift takes planning, but then so does the party you’re going to. I’m assured crocheting is easier to master than knitting, and these instructions only have five steps to follow. A woman can never have too many scarves, especially ones that remind her of moors and sexy Scotsmen. Admittedly, this gift is for your hostess and for you. You’re welcome.
DIY Infinity Scarf with bonus photo of Sam Heughan/Jamie Fraser $Priceless
Boozy Gift Box
Your hosts put a lot of thought into stocking a bar for their party. To help them restock for their next party or a personal celebration, introduce them to your favourite small distillery, vineyard, or microbrewery with a selection of boozy treats. Dillon’s is a family-run distillery in the Niagara region near Toronto, but there are great local places around the corner from where you live, so ask around and head out for a taste test. Bonus: The research and shopping expedition doubles as a date.
The Host Gift Box $69.50
If you know your hostess well, you’ll know the perfect gift to make her happy, but holiday parties are meant to help us stop our daily scurrying, not go shopping crazy. The most important thing to remember is not the gift you’re bringing, but that you spend time with good friends and maybe make a few new ones.