Bring a special host gift to a holiday party

By Andrew J. Concatelli - ReminderNews Assistant Editor
Statewide - posted Thu., Dec. 8, 2011
- Contributed Photo

One of the high points of the holiday season is attending parties. You get to spend time with family and friends, while enjoying lots of good food and drinks. This year, be sure you avoid one of the most-often-committed holiday faux pas: showing up empty-handed to the party.

My wife and I always try to arrive at a get-together with family or friends either with a contribution to the food spread, or a little something special to thank the host or hostess for their hospitality.

For hosts with an especially green thumb, a small plant can be a perfect token of your gratitude. Christmas cacti, amaryllis and poinsettias are popular this time of year, but if it’s something for them to keep long-term, think beyond the holidays. An herb plant looks pretty, and could be used all year long. And of course, flowers are always a welcome gift. Caution – in homes with pets, your thoughtful green gift may last only until the dog gets hungry.

If the gathering is hosted by wine-lovers, a bottle of wine or champagne is always appropriate. But keep in mind that if you’re dealing with real connoisseurs, you should put some thought into the selection, or get advice from a store specializing in fine wines. If the party is for a truly special occasion, accompanying the bottle with a unique set of stemware is a nice touch.

One of our favorite holiday gifts for our hosts is a platter of homemade cookies and fudge. If you know you will have a lot of events to attend, take one afternoon to work on a few or your favorite recipes. Buy some beautiful platters (for the hosts to keep, as part of the gift), and arrange an assortment of different treats on each. Embellish with a few chocolates, mints or candy canes, wrap the platters loosely with foil and pop them in the fridge until it’s time to go to the party. Everyone will be impressed by the presentation, and the host will have a serving plate to use again, or to pass along.

Your party hosts will be touched that you thought of them and will remember your holiday spirit. When selecting a gift, keep three simple rules in mind: Be practical, be thoughtful and be appreciative.

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