An old standby for any hostess is a bottle of her favourite wine, or yours if you have ulterior motives and if her usual wine selection leaves you parched. Traditional gift options range from flowers to jars of ingredients for delicious desserts to candles, and these are all welcome gifts, but since this is summer and the living is easy… let’s not make our hostesses actually do anything and give them something they can enjoy right out of the box.
Five Best Summer Hostess Gifts
PITCHER & SPARKLING LEMONADE
Summer means patios and backyard barbecues, and it also means chilled drinks. A ceramic pitcher adds a Mediterranean touch and if you know your hostess’s favourite colour, the gift is that much more personal. Package the pitcher with sparkling lemonade à la française and curry extra favour by including a bottle of vodka.
Winners and Marshalls often carry a stock of interesting ceramic pitchers, so keep your eyes open, or visit a local potter for something handmade. Sparkling lemonade is found at most grocery stores or delis and you all know where to find vodka.
It’s all fun and games at the beach until someone gets sand in places where using abrasives and body scrubs are not recommended. While building sand castles is a worthwhile and fun way to spend the afternoon, relaxing under a parasol with a good book is likely on your hostess’s summer schedule, too. She’ll appreciate you thinking of her sand free comfort when you offer a colourful beach mat that comes with its own carrying strap.
SMALL PLANTER OF HERBS
This gift involves finding a premade planter with herbs — try garden centres or the flower section of large grocery stores — or making a simple planter. Choose 3-4 herbs that are easy to grow and can be used in a variety of dishes: basil, parsley, thyme, mint, oregano, and cilantro are all good options. While these can be planted in a round container, if you plan on offering an indoor planter, individual pots or an oblong planter will be more practical.
Check out garden centres or building and home stores for the planters and individual plants. These ideas come from Terra Greenhouses and Lowes.
BOX OF COTTAGE GAMES
Everyone hopes for good weather during the summer, especially during visits to the cottage, but sometimes the rain gods are tricky and stay long after the party ends. On those days your hostess will wish for distraction and relief and a break from the kids testing their parkour skills on the furniture. Board games are synonymous with peaceful, rainy cottage days, and a more fun (and less stressful) alternative than pulling out the iPad to try to beat level ThisGameHasNoEnd in Candy Crush.
While going to the market or grocery store implies your hostess will need to do something like cook, if she’s smart — which she probably is because if not, why are you friends? — she can just enjoy strolling up Main Street carrying her basket to buy sweet smelling pies and ripe artichokes and delegate the cooking to someone else. And who can’t use another beautiful hand-woven basket?
You can find new baskets at many large and small retailers, or Etsy has gorgeous vintage ones, too. This one is from Greige.
As soon as you show up with one of these gifts, you’ll earn preferred guest status. All that’s left to do now is enjoy the party and the company of good friends.