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Hostess gift (flying to someone's house to stay for a while)

 
 
sozobe
 
Reply Mon 17 Mar, 2008 12:26 pm
I'm about to go to my cousin's house for an almost week-long stay. I'm really stuck on a hostess gift. I have some toys for her kids, but everything I'm thinking of for HER/ her husband is too big or messy or otherwise impractical to transport via plane.

I do plan to take them out for dinner at least once, and offer to watch all three kids (sozlet and her two) if she and her husband would like to go out on their own.

But I'd like to get her some THING. I've seen her twice in the past, dang, 20 years or so (is that right??) and both times she came to see me and I don't know a lot about her current taste.

Any ideas?

Thanks!
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Type: Discussion • Score: 5 • Views: 16,694 • Replies: 25
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 Mar, 2008 12:28 pm
She already has a tomato pincushion. (OK maybe she doesn't, but I'm 99% sure.)
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 Mar, 2008 12:31 pm
Tough when you don't know her (their) taste. Some nice OSU teeshirts? (kidding, kidding).
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eoe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 Mar, 2008 12:37 pm
I remember Martha Stewart featured some really nice ideas for hostess gifts in her magazine some time ago. There may be something on her website.
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Chai
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 Mar, 2008 12:37 pm
Try the lenox site.

Over the holidays, I needed to buy a dozen small gifts and found this absolutely beautiful china star, only 4 inches across, that was embedded with something like 60 little crystals of aquamarine, green, gold.

I bought them out so there are no more (except for the one I kept for myself)

The best thing was over the holidays they were having a 12 days of xmas sale, and I happened to go on there the day it was being offered. They were practically giving them away. They were something like $30 or $35 and I got them for $10 a piece.

Such a bargain.

anyway, look in their clearance area for something nice.
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 Mar, 2008 01:12 pm
When I lived in Humboldt County in California and flew south to Los Angeles and was staying at friends' places, I'd pack some local products in pretty bags..
things like marionberry jam, ollalieberry jam, Sjaak's chocolates, Humboldt Fog Goat Cheese (rated very highly, by the way), and I can't remember right now what else. All were products from my local food Co-op, or from Pierson's Hardware, Lumber & Garden suppliees, which tended to have an area set aside for local "gifts" in the garden shop.

Ah, I just remembered what else... lots of people up there make really good soaps, so I'd bring a variety to appeal to different people. Sometimes I just brought some Dr. Brommer's bar soaps...

Were I more well funded, I'd consider bringing some good french soaps, which come in quite an array of good scents. 'Course, the recipients need to like something scented, which ya can't just count on.

Adding... local honey?

Candles?
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Miklos7
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 Mar, 2008 01:45 pm
Great suggestions, Ossobuco! You would be a welcome guest at our house anytime. Humboldt Fog Goat Cheese is made by the gods. As is good raw honey!

Do you know about Marseille Soap? Made the same way since the 1600s--by French law. The paler of the two varieties (made from palm oil as opposed to olive oil) is our favorite. You buy it in 250mg.-500mg. rectangular chunks, and it has no scent except "clean." If you want a scent, I believe there's one--natural lavender. Available on Amazon--and at more places than you might think. I'd research on-line first.

Another great hostess present is a really good paring knife--the kind that is high-carbon and can be sharpened to a very fine edge. If you give a knife, remember the tradition of giving a coin with it. We usually tape the coin to the blade itself, so that it doesn't go astray in traveling.

We sometimes take a couple of bottles of wine, but this can be tricky, unless your hosts are open to new tastes.

In the alcohol line (not particularly useful to me, as my dodgy throat muscles tend to jam up in reponse even to wine--but great for my wife, who will share with me a single sip), a good Calvados French pear brandy is something we always appreciate receiving--and bring out for special occasions.

Books, CDs, and DVDs have all been successful, too, but, if you don't know the likings of your hosts, they are very hard to choose. In this area, something that offends nobody is apt, instead, to offend everybody!
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Chai
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 Mar, 2008 01:45 pm
Oh yeah osso...I forgot. When I visited a friend in NY, I brought him a jar of "cowboy caviar".....black eyed peas in a piquant sauce.

yes, a local delicacy would be nice.
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Slappy Doo Hoo
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 Mar, 2008 02:26 pm
Buy them a football.

Everyone loves a nice football.
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 Mar, 2008 02:32 pm
OK! Blackeyed peas with piquant sauce! Just the kind of thing...


Miklos, I love everything you mention. Well, I don't know about that exact soap.. but it seems especially good as a gift as a lot of people now don't like scented items.

Calvados... My husband and I drove home, which took almost two hours, from my "interview" with the state examiners as a final ok re passing my landarch boards. (I remember being absolutely ice cold in a kind of stunned fear as I waited for that interview. Anyway, I was sure walking out that I passed and was a happy woman.) We didn't go right home, but to a restaurant at the beach that had a nice bar selection with, as I remember, 5 kinds of Calvados. We didn't spring for the very top one, but one at middle price. Nectar for the gods, yes.
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 Mar, 2008 02:34 pm
Oh, and your lookin' at someone who gave two very serious forged knives as a wedding present. The bride and bridegroom were, uh, startled, I heard later, until his brother-the-chef said that was the best present in the lot.



Probably not the best items for carry-on luggage...
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Miklos7
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 Mar, 2008 02:38 pm
Waterford makes a nice lead-crystal football, suitable for anyone's mantel or game room. Of course, as it's made abroad, where American football is uncommon, it will be round, like what we here call a soccer ball. This is the the really good part, Slappy, as it's a bonus feature for the host and hostess. They can put it into a black stand and read people's fortunes from it. For free at parties, or for money when you need a quick lift, who can beat it: art plus utility! You're a genius.
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Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 Mar, 2008 02:40 pm
I'm of the send-hostess-gift-after school. Usually during the visit you get lots of good ideas.
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 Mar, 2008 03:12 pm
I give hostess gifts when I am LEAVING.



That way you cankeep an ear/eye out and figure out what might really be appreciated.


Saves on luggage, too.
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 Mar, 2008 03:21 pm
I'd never heard of the gift-when-you-leave option. That makes the most sense.

There isn't that much by way of local delicacies in Columbus, Ohio. I was thinking of getting some chocolate Buckeyes, which I've seen locally and probably vary, flavor-wise. Oh, I bought some really pretty marzipan fruits, nicely packaged, at the North Market to give as a Christmas gift, which were well-received.

Maybe something small like that upon arrival and then a bigger gift upon departure?
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 Mar, 2008 03:23 pm
sozobe wrote:
I'd never heard of the gift-when-you-leave option. That makes the most sense.

There isn't that much by way of local delicacies in Columbus, Ohio. I was thinking of getting some chocolate Buckeyes, which I've seen locally and probably vary, flavor-wise. Oh, I bought some really pretty marzipan fruits, nicely packaged, at the North Market to give as a Christmas gift, which were well-received.

Maybe something small like that upon arrival and then a bigger gift upon departure?



Sounds good to me. (Only, personally, I hate marzipan....but other than that, it sounds good to me!)
0 Replies
 
eoe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 Mar, 2008 03:33 pm
sozobe wrote:
I'd never heard of the gift-when-you-leave option. That makes the most sense.

There isn't that much by way of local delicacies in Columbus, Ohio. I was thinking of getting some chocolate Buckeyes, which I've seen locally and probably vary, flavor-wise. Oh, I bought some really pretty marzipan fruits, nicely packaged, at the North Market to give as a Christmas gift, which were well-received.

Maybe something small like that upon arrival and then a bigger gift upon departure?


I'd go with something small upon arrival and then send something bigger after you return home. Flowers are always a nice way to say thanks, imo.
0 Replies
 
Mame
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 Mar, 2008 04:13 pm
I'd be picking something up while I was there. When I stayed with my friend during my exams, i noticed she didn't have many towels, so I bought her 2 sets in her favourite pink. She didn't notice them until I was gone (surprise!) so it was great.

Maybe a gift card to a restaurant they like or a bookstore or ... whatever they're in to... then they can choose.
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 Mar, 2008 05:14 pm
Yes, I agree with all that, at least in these circumstances. I like to have something at hand when I arrive, though, however small, but that's from years of inculcated little thingbringing.
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Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Tue 18 Mar, 2008 09:54 am
Once upon a time, you always sent a bread & butter note and if you had a particularly wonderful time, you sent a little giftie--or even a large giftie.
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