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Tis the season for attending holiday parties. I hope you have many you are eagerly awaiting! Me, I have none and I’m not mad about it. Think of me in my jammies working a puzzle while watching bad Christmas movies with my daughter. Thank you for the invitation, but I would rather be there than anywhere else anytime of the year. (At least until she goes to college next year.) However, if you love holiday parties and are looking forward to plenty of reveling then I have a few quick tips for hostess gifting and getting.

Flowers or not: People love getting flowers pretty much always, but please don’t bring flowers to a party. Especially ones that aren’t in a vase. That means your host has to stop what they’re doing, look for a vase, cut the stems, and arrange them on the spot. No one has time for that while they are putting together a beautiful soiree. If you want to send flowers, then send them the day after the party. That’s an extremely thoughtful way of saying thank you. If you really want to bring something organic that evening, then consider a houseplant. Helen Olivia has a huge selection of plants and can definitely help with those after-party flowers.

The Cheese Board Deck, $20; Tree Board, $18; Cheese Pairing Collection, $28; Jingle Bell Bottle Stopper, $9; Pineapple Collective Olive Oil, $38; Pineapple Collective Apple Cider Vinegar, $29; Cheese Board Ornament, $19; Bonnie's Jams, $11; The Hygge Game, $24 (Penny Post); Debatable, $15; Hot Chocolate Bombs, $19; Chocolate de Nuevo Mexico, $29. 

Sharing is caring, but not in this case: Consumables like food are always a great hostess gift. They don’t clash with the décor, and they don’t need a place to be stored. However, if you’re giving something to eat, then make sure it’s not something the host feels they need to serve that evening. They have worked hard to prepare an entire experience and may not be able to fit your gift into the mix. Plus, like flowers, they don’t want to have to figure out what to do with it. If you do want to bring a bottle of wine or something shareable, please let them know as soon as you give it to them that this is something to enjoy later. Thus, indicating they don’t need to deal with it in the moment. It’s best to bring something that clearly can’t be used right away. Like a lovely bottle of olive oil or apple cider vinegar for when they cook next, a favorite jam or jelly, or hot cocoa for chilly nights.

Don’t forget the card: To wrap the gift or not is always a little bit of a conundrum. A bow on a bottle of wine would suffice or a quick gift bag and tissue is plenty. There are several from which you can choose at Penny Post! Most importantly, don’t forget the card. Even if it’s just a gift enclosure or one of our little notes from E Frances, you want them to know who gave them such a thoughtful gift. 

Be Discreet: When you get to your host’s home, greet them warmly, then give them their gift in private. And, once again, tell them that it’s something for them to enjoy later. If you are the recipient, feel free to deflect and say you’ll enjoy opening it later. Or, if you want to open it in their presence then do so out of sight of other guests.

Final thoughts: Just a couple of quick notes… if your whole family is invited then bring a gift their entire family can enjoy. Maybe a game like Debatable, Slamwich, or The Hygge Game. And, you don’t have to send thank you notes for a hostess gift, however, if you did not open it in their company then a quick email or text thanks might be nice.

When choosing a hostess gift be as thoughtful as you can, depending on how well you know your host. At Red Barn Mercantile and Penny Post we have plenty of great gifts for the hostess with the mostess. Stop in or shop online. We would be happy to pop your gift in one of our bags with a little tissue and ribbon, making it easy breezy!