Lifestyle

Favorite Holiday Hostess Gifts

The holiday season officially starts next week with Thanksgiving, soon after our social calendars tend to fill up fast with one party or dinner after the other.  A good guest never shows for a gathering without a small thoughtful gift to thank the hostess for the invitation.  I adore giving hostess gifts this time a year.  I try to find gifts that fit an interest or I know would be appreciated and yet I still have a collection of ideas that I gravitate toward.

Candles  

Whether beeswax, soy or parafin scented candles make a great hostess gifts. They come in a variety of scents, colors and sizes that are sure to match a hostess’ taste.  A holiday scent this time of year is perfect to help welcome the season.  This season I have discovered a line of candles at Target that are made of soy and have a strong yet pleasing fragrance. My personal favorite is Holly Berry.  I have been burning it in my home office this week and it certainly sparked holiday inspiration.

Wine

There’s a variety or reds, whites and sparkly wines to pick from, all running from very reasonable to very pricey; offering a wide selection from which to pick.  One wine I enjoy and have a bit of an obsession with is ice wine, specifically Jackson-Triggs Riesling Ice Wine . I love it in place of dessert. It is a sweet wonderful wine to be sipped among friends.

Bar Accessories 

I have stumbled upon many novel ideas for the proverbial bar over the years, but I have to say my favorite are the whiskey rocks. They are small rocks that can be frozen and used in your drinks without the watered down taste ice can cause. It bring totally new meaning to whiskey on the rocks.    I am also partial to the penguin shakers. They are cute and perfect for the holiday party bar.   Pair either of these with a bottle of Maker’s Mark and its a gift fit for both the hostess and host.

What are your go to hostess gift ideas?

potluck suppers

Pot Luck Dinners

When money is tight how do you entertain?  Do you just forego the chance to host a party or is there an alternative?  I like the idea of a Pot Luck. It’s fun, inexpensive for the host, and brings people together.

The term dates back to the 16th century and referred to a dish served to an unexpected guest. They were given what ever was already in the pot.  Not a bad way to look at feeding someone you were not anticipating.  At the time, they were lucky to be getting anything.

potluck dinners

Pot lucks or covered dish meals are popular among churches and other civic organizations.  It allows people to come together and share a communal meal with out any one person shouldering the expense.  With the economy the way it is hosting a pot luck dinner will let you enjoy a meal among friends while still having an inexpensive and fun evening.

We have been thinking about a way to open our home to friends and host a party. Money is tight and we like to do it right.  We have shied away from any entertaining due to the cost.  Then the thought of sharing the planning came to mind. All of our friends are foodies.  What better way to enjoy everyone’s passions then to host a pot luck?

paleo_shepards_pie

How best to plan a Pot luck?  Have a theme and ask everyone to bring a dish representative of that theme.

Ask one group of friends to bring appetizers or sides and another to bring desserts. As the host you can provide the main dish, turkey, ham,  ribs on the grill.  For drinks, you can supply them or ask everyone to bring something they would like to drink.  I generally make up a huge batch of Sangria to share. Since most of our friends are self proclaimed foodies, it’s fun to share our mad cooking skills with each other.

While it does have that 1950’s vibe to it, it does bring friends together for an evening.  Hey why not have a 1950’s inspired party?  Yep, that’s what I am off to plan.  Lots of casseroles, and easy to make meals.  Maybe I’ll even have people dress in the style of Mad Men… hmmm.