Thursday, December 4, 2008

Five Great Hostess Gifts

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'Tis the season for cocktail and dinner parties and family gatherings. Don't go empty handed. A small gift to demonstrate your appreciation can be inexpensive and nearly effortless. It's easy to forget the extra touches during the rush of the holidays, but a simple act of thoughtfulness is never forgotten.

Here at Savoring Simplicity, we believe in making it simple. If you've had your fill of fighting the crowds at the mall or sitting in traffic, take the easy road. You'll find it by shopping online. If you want to add a special touch, try making some easy but charmingly warm gifts that say how much you care.

The homemade gift is always appreciated, and during these difficult economic times, they are often more affordable. You could make cookies or soup mix in a jar, layering all the dry ingredients in the jar. You can never go wrong with spiced nuts or traditional fudge. Add to the charm of you gift by carefully considering the presentation. Cellophane bags for your nuts could be tied with a beautiful silk or plaid ribbon. Put your fudge in a small basket with a ribbon or sprig of holly tied to the handle. The cookie and soup mixes will stay fresh in glass jars. Cover the lids with a swatch of fabric and tie with a wide, colorful ribbon. Don't forget to tie the recipe to the lid.

How well do you know your hostess? She would appreciate a gift chosen with her in mind. How about a cookbook tailored to her specific preferences. Does she love Italian food? Does she enjoy baking? Does she have a favorite host on the cooking channel? Take a moment to reflect on what would please her and then choose from the plethora of available choices.

What could be more nostalgic than a gift of rich, aromatic hot cocoa? This set can be found at L.L. Bean for $29.50. Gift set includes a 16 oz. tin of cocoa mix plus a 5 oz. package of peppermint stirrers. Arrives in a keepsake cotton-canvas tote bag accented with snowflake embroidery. You don't even have to wrap it. What more could you ask?

Flavored olive oils and vinegars are very popular and healthy. A variety of selections are available at reasonable prices at Sotto Voce, or you can make your own. Recipes can be found online, or just drop a few cloves of garlic and a sprig of rosemary into a decorative cruet and fill with a good olive oil. What could be simpler?

Candles are a traditional and always welcomed gift. You can find them in a variety of scents and sizes and styles. These beautiful vanilla pound cake scented candles can be found at Illuminations in an affordable range between $6.00 and $17.95.

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