Unique Hostess Gift
February 16, 2005 4:17 PM   Subscribe

A friend is hosting an event at her house tomorrow night, a kind of "salon" evening featuring a few authors, wine, and conversation. I'd like to get her some kind of hostess gift, but not the usual bottle of wine, since we'll have wine galore, and not the Bath & Body Works gift bag, since she's not that kind of gal. Any ideas?
posted by mothershock to Shopping (21 answers total)
Wine Charms would be a useful gift. They are great little accessories that make it possible to know which glass is yours after you've put it down.
posted by lola at 4:29 PM on February 16, 2005

posted by coolsara at 4:39 PM on February 16, 2005

Not a whole lot to go on, but I'll take a stab at it. What about a nice wine opener, or a book on wine ?
posted by lobstah at 4:46 PM on February 16, 2005

Buy her An Omelette and a Glass of Wine or A Chance Meeting. For a salon evening I would think books would be a great hostess gift.
posted by josh at 4:51 PM on February 16, 2005

Is this something you want or need to be shared? A bottle of wine that isn't meant to be drunk at that time (i.e., something that needs to be aged) is still a thoughtful gift if it's for the hostess. You just say, "This is for your cellar; it should be at its best around 200x." Otherwise, since it's a literary evening, a book would probably be appropriate. Maybe a nice history of salons.
posted by anapestic at 4:51 PM on February 16, 2005

Just because there will be a lot of wine there doesn't mean you shouldn't also bring a nice bottle, whether it will be consumed that night or not.
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 4:54 PM on February 16, 2005

(The flowers suggestion was good, too. A book seems too "here's a present"-ish to me.)
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 4:55 PM on February 16, 2005

I'm guessing they have an opener. Unless you want to bring food, I second the flowers or candle idea.
posted by petebest at 4:57 PM on February 16, 2005

According to Six Degrees of Separation (the play/movie), pots of jam is a good gift. I think a fine cheese is a good gift too. Something consumable is considerate, people don't want more stuff to clutter their homes.
posted by jonah at 5:09 PM on February 16, 2005

If it's not too presumtuous, a CD of some nice, mellow background music might be appreciated. I second or third the flowers idea - that's a can't miss gift. Twice when I got invited to intimate get togethers where it was basically cheese and wine, I bought along a tin of good spiced nuts. Both times it went over really well.
posted by iconomy at 5:16 PM on February 16, 2005

Oops - forgot the p.
posted by iconomy at 5:17 PM on February 16, 2005

Personally, I think it's hard to have too much wine or too many flowers. I wouldn't, however, bring candles unless you know she's a candle type of person -- I personally find them almost entirely useless, and almost never burn them. Likewise, my roommate has received an inordinate number of candes over the years as gifts, and she also never uses them -- but neither does she get rid of them, so there's candles cluttering the laundry room, candles tumblng out of the coat closet, candles stacked among the canned goods in the kitchen, candles standing in waxy candle-y rows along the mantel. If we ever have a blackout, we're in great shape, but until then we're up to our ears in goddamn candles.
posted by scody at 5:17 PM on February 16, 2005

At a recent wedding shower that was given in my honor, I gave the hosts and hostesses a wine coaster and a matching set of wine glasses coasters. I found them at Pottery Barn, quite reasonably, and they were all thrilled.

In the past, I have also given small, decorative cutting boards and spreaders (for cheese), and monogrammed "tea towels."
posted by dpx.mfx at 5:21 PM on February 16, 2005

Since your event is tomorrow evening, swing by a Barnes & Noble, Borders - or, other well-stocked Philly bookstore - and consider...

The Wine Bible (by Karen MacNeil) and/or a copy of Wine Enthusiast magazine (with a homemade coupon for a one-year subscription).

...or, head to Willams-Sonoma and get a gift-wrapped set (2 or 4) of Riedel wine glasses (recommendation: 2 of the Bordeaux wine glasses).
posted by ericb at 5:24 PM on February 16, 2005

josh - thanks to the pointers to An Omelette and a Glass of Wine and A Chance Meeting ... just ordered them on Amazon.
posted by ericb at 5:28 PM on February 16, 2005

....also considered the Wine Plates (set of 6; $38.00) at Williams Sonoma.
posted by ericb at 5:32 PM on February 16, 2005

*also consider*
posted by ericb at 5:34 PM on February 16, 2005

Nice chocolates?
posted by lilboo at 5:35 PM on February 16, 2005

Thanks, everyone, for the suggestions. I love the idea of giving a copy of A Chance Meeting, since the evening is really an opportunity for everyone to hang out with some authors and talk about their books and the writing process. I think I'll do that, some flowers, and maybe a little something else (I'm already bringing food and wine, and books to give away). Thanks!
posted by mothershock at 5:45 PM on February 16, 2005

One of those baskets with nice crackers, cheeses, olives, chutneys and stuff. If she wants to put it out that night it will be appropriate, but on the other hand it will be easy to shove aside if she's too busy to take care of, and she'll have lots of opportunities to enjoy it later. Also, assuming she's not a very picky eater, its a virtual guaranteed hit as far as suiting her tastes, which can be a problem with anything decorative or cultural (like books or music.)

I find that things like flowers that require immediate 'work' (ie trimming ends, getting them into a vase, finding somewhere to put it) actually are an inconvenience to busy hosts, no matter how much they genuinely like the gift.
posted by Kololo at 10:06 PM on February 16, 2005

How about a small potted plant (maybe a little primrose or something)? Only if the host/hostess has somewhere to put it, of course, but it won't require any effort to "set up" (no trimming of ends, etc.).

Also, what about people who don't drink wine? Maybe the event could use some fancy fizzy mineral water?
posted by amtho at 8:50 AM on February 17, 2005

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