The first time I met my (now) husband’s parents I was still in college, waitressing and interning and barely paying rent for my Center City digs. I spent about two weeks’ worth of internship money on what I deemed the perfect “meet the parents” outfit – something that says “Hi, I’m a nice girl, I’m casual and not high-maintenance but I dress very appropriately and you could easily see me potentially being included in family photos one day… not that I’m rushing things.” Read as: Lilac J. Crew dress shorts, a white linen button-down and seersucker espadrilles. And a blowout.
Broke but now properly attired, I was still in need of the perfect hostess gift to bring to dinner and seeing as though I was just a few months into my 21st year, I didn’t have much any experience buying nice wine. I called my sister and she insisted that I was obligated to buy a red and a white to be safe (there was a seriously long list of bad things that could happen if I opted to only buy one or the other). In addition to buying two bottles, I was as sure as single again if I bought anything other than Stags’ Leap. And so at a whopping $98 a bottle, I dipped into my savings in the name of a great first impression, not because I thought it wouldn’t work out if I bought a lesser bottle, but because I genuinely wanted to make the best impression possible.
I was just about crushed when we got to dinner and my boyfriend casually took the bottles from me and threw them in the mix of about ten others on a table without any recognition. Fruitless effort and exhausted bank account all for nothing.
A few years after first meeting the fam (and discovering that my mother-in-law’s favorite bottle of white costs $16), I’ve learned to try and make my hostess gifts a little more thoughtful and much more friendly on the wallet. With warmer weather comes spring get-togethers and so I thought now would be the most appropriate time to share my arsenal of hostess gifts for inspiration. Below is a roundup of my favorite dozen.
Watchdog Doorstop: Ideal for the host of your doggie playdates whose door is always open.
A set of coasters: I’m always impressed with friends that have nice coaster sets. Like my priorities are trying to keep toilet paper in the house, coaster sets are down really far on my list of items to purchase. This set is extra thoughtful.
Fancy hand soaps: We bought some fancy-shmancy hand soaps and lotions to have in the restrooms during our wedding and let me tell you, I have been seriously underestimating the power of great smelling hand soap. Doing the dishes is honestly more enjoyable when you know part of the reward is a little spa treatment for your pruned fingers.
Shea Butter Hugs and Kisses: After what seems to be a never-ending winter, the recipient of these hugs and kisses is sure to be grateful for the extra TLC.
Decorative terrarium: Like flowers, only maybe better.
A little slice of heaven (or pie): Local, adorable and delicious – the perfect trifecta.
Slate menu board: Probably the cutest way to spread the news about what’s on your plate.
Elderflower cordial: Perfect for adding a spring kick to some cocktails the host might already have in the shaker.
Wine and cheese knife: Is there a better tool for your social get-together?
Cheeky dish towel: Adorable and absolutely memorable.
Fun bottle stopper: Just a little bit of extra spunk to add to your bottle.
Go ahead. Pin this baby for later: