My sister is headed to a friend’s family home for the 4th of July and was looking for a nice hostess gift to bring. That got me thinking, as it seems to be something I always have a hard time with. Instead of just sharing my suggestions with her, I thought I would share them here as well. I tried to come up with things in a variety of price ranges that could be found at almost any store in your local mall. Got more suggestions? I’d love to hear them! Maybe I’ll use them in a round two of summer gift giving.
1. Groove Lantern from Crate and Barrel. These would be a great gift for anyone who likes to entertain outdoors. Stylish but very neutral in it’s color, it would look good over an outdoor dining table or as several strung up around a garden. Prices range from $6.95 – $29.95
2. Recycled Metal Lanterns. Not only does a purchase of one of these make a donation to Breast Cancer, it also keeps material out of landfills. I bought one of these a while back and find that if you add a big candle, it makes a great table centerpiece for dinner parties that run after dark. Price: $12.95
3. I love the idea of going to a vacation destination armed with a shadowbox. The intention is to collect some interesting tidbits from the place you’re staying (great for a cabin or beach house over the weekend) and at the end of the trip, present your hosts with an artfully arranged shadowbox highlighting the time you spent together. You can get super fancy wooden ones at Pottery Barn, or you can just pop by your local craft store and pick something up there.
4. Cobalt Rim Glasswear from Pier 1 makes a great gift for people who love to throw a party. You can keep it as simple as two margarita glasses, or spring for a whole set. The glass is recycled and is hand-blown by artisans in Mexico so it makes for an eco-friendly gift as well. Price: $3 – $18 (find at your neighborhood Pier 1 or import store).
5. Japanese Fishing Floats make a great gift for either a beach house or someone with a taste for the unusual. Most of them are quite old, and they add a certain nautical charm to any room. Not to mention that the hand blown glass is an exquisite color. They come in many sizes – just check ebay for “Japanese fishing floats”. You could also buy several small ones in display them in a large, wide-mouthed flat bowl.
6. Rex Ray Wall Art from CB2. It says that they are sold out online, but you can call local stores for availability. A large print from one of my favorite artists, this would make a great gift for the art lover in your life. Full of color and texture, it never ceases to be interesting. Price: $129
7. Infused Sugars from Napa Style make a great addition to any bar lineup. They come in flavors such as Tangerine and Vanilla bean, and would be great with all of those fancy summer martinis. Combine them with a set of margarita or martini glasses for a great party-ready gift.
8. There is no game on earth more fun than Apples to Apples. If you’ve never played it, I assure you, it’s a good time. There’s a huge number of cards, which means an almost infinite number of combinations. It’s fun for both people you do know and people you’ve just met. And you can buy it at Target, which means there’s no excuse not to have it in your party arsenal.
9. What’s more classic than a Croquet Set from Restoration Hardware? It may seem quaint and outdated, but it’s a lot of fun. Plus it gives everyone an excuse to go hang out on the nice green lawn (provided you have one, and if you do, I am indeed jealous). This is a good-looking set that would appeal to any sense of style and last for years of play.