If you are traveling out of town and are lucky enough to nab an invitation to stay at a friend or relative’s house it’s probably best to bring along a thank you gift (hostess gift) and not just your bags and empty stomach. I know, I know, when you are planning a trip, packing bags, and coordinating schedules, finding the “perfect” way to say “thanks for the room,” may seem like just one more thing to add to your “to do” list. Don’t despair. Here are some ideas gift ideas that may serve you well:
If you scored an invite to spend the weekend at a friend’s beach house consider sticking with a beach or nautical theme gift. For example, stores like Pier One have a ton of reasonably priced “beach-themed” keepsakes from sand castle candles and seashell soap dishes to sailing and yachting ornaments. If you are working with a bigger budget consider purchasing china and porcelain (bowls, trays, boxes) with a nautical motif. Otherwise, if your host or hostess is an avid sailor, bring a gift for their boat or yacht.
If the couple you are staying with loves to entertain on a regular basis you may consider getting them a set of Sterling silver cocktail picks. Tiffany & Co sells a set of four picks for $125. Too steep? How about a tortoise shell serving tray, ice bucket or some glassware? My parents received a lovely hostess gift last summer from some friends: a hand carved wooden cheese tray. You can find all the aforementioned gift ideas for under $100.
I once spent a summer weekend at the country home of a former professor and his artist wife. My gift to them was a coffee table book. If you think about it, what home doesn’t have books? You can get destination books: Hamptons, St. Tropez, and Dolce Vita Style, from Assouline, are $40 each. Cookbooks also make great hostess gifts. Another great gift idea is to purchase elegant note pads for various rooms in your hostess’ house. The website www.mrsstrong.com sells a wooden box set of six “Encyclopedic House Tablets,” for $125. There are 15 tablet names including House, Kitchen, Office, Media Room, Guest Bedroom, Bedroom, Wine Cellar — you get the idea.
If all else fails bring something you have hand crafted yourself. Like any gift—it truly is the thought that counts.