10 Uncommon Gift Ideas for a Party Host
Spice up their holiday
Give your hosts a selection of traditional holiday seasonings, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves, to serve as replacements for the ones they've been using for pies, cookies and other holiday delights. Package them in decorative airtight containers that will add a little extra spice to the season.
Give your hosts a gift that will continue to say "thank you" year after year. An ornament for their Christmas tree or mantle -- one that evokes one of their special interests or carries an engraved message from you -- will help to make their holiday season bright.
Lights! Camera! Action!
For many people, one of their most cherished traditions is sharing a favorite holiday movie with their family each year. Make it easy for your hosts by putting together a small gift basket that contains a couple of classic holiday movies on DVD or Blu-ray, a premium hot cocoa mix, and some microwave popcorn.
Say it with flowers
For a gift that your hosts can enjoy immediately, bring an arrangement of flowers in a simple vase that can be reused again and again. By presenting your hosts with pre-arranged flowers, rather than an armful of cut flowers sans vase, you provide a beautiful and thoughtful gift instead of creating an unexpected chore that requires them to take time away from their guests.
A set of inexpensive food-storage containers, in a variety of shapes and sizes, is the perfect gift for holiday hosts who are sure to have plenty of leftovers to manage after the party is over and the guests have all gone home. No one can ever have too many of these handy items.
Gift your host's best friend
For something untraditional, and unlikely to be duplicated by any of their other guests, give your hosts a gift that isn't really for them -- yet one that they'll appreciate. Focus your gift-giving efforts on your hosts' beloved pets -- a chew toy or braided leash for their dog, a catnip mouse or laser-beam chase toy for their cat -- and you'll have them eating out of your hand.
Everyone loves books, but in selecting a book to give your hosts as a thank-you gift be sure to choose something with enduring interest -- for them and the other people they may invite into their home in the future. Books about local history, architecture or crafts, or that feature photographs of the region where your hosts live, are the kind of volumes that people love to own and share with friends, but often don't buy for themselves.
Let's do lunch
Present your hosts with a gift certificate for a post-holiday lunch at one of their favorite restaurants -- or at a place that you like and would recommend if you don't know their preferences. If they're good friends, offer to join them and to share the meal.
Block that stain
Another practical gift that is sure to please your hosts is a set of either trivets or coasters, which will protect their furniture from hot plates or wet glasses respectively. Both trivets and coasters are widely available and come in a range of styles that can complement any décor.
Raise a glass
What better way to thank your hosts for a wonderful holiday party than with a gift that will make the next holiday on the calendar equally rewarding for them? Go beyond the typical bottle of wine and give your hosts some good champagne and two flutes with which they can ring in the new year -- and drink a toast to friendship.
Larry West is a freelance writer in the Pacific Northwest.