hostess gift in a hurry
October 21, 2012 10:08 PM   Subscribe

What's an appropriate hostess gift in this situation?

I'm staying with my stepsister and her husband in their city tonight. My original plan was to stay 3 nights, and since I'll be out late the first two nights, I told them I'd take them out to dinner on the third night.

However, it looks like I may need to leave after only two nights, leaving me unable to take them out. What can I do for them in this situation?

They are a youngish couple who's just moved into a new apartment in a new city. I think a gift card would be weird & awkward.
posted by homodachi to Society & Culture (10 answers total)
Do they drink? A nice bottle of booze (wine or good liquor for the cabinet) is always welcome if folks aren't abstainers.

If they are abstainers, fancy cocoa samplers tend to go over well.
posted by fingersandtoes at 10:18 PM on October 21, 2012 [3 favorites]

Or tea! Or the classic gift, some gorgeous fall flowers.

I've also given fancy olive oil and balsamic, which was very well received.

Do they get out to eat very often? If not, a gift certificate to a local place might be appreciated.
posted by barnone at 10:23 PM on October 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

A nice bottle of wine is always a good choice. Otherwise, they just moved. Is there anything that they're missing in their new place? There might be something that's around the cost of dinner that they need or would like to have. Maybe a throw blanket for the couch? As a youngish person in a big city, when I first moved here, I would have loved a plush set of towels, or a nice casserole/serving dish, or a big bag full of fresh produce from the farmer's market. All stuff I was making do without but really wonderful to have.

Are you visiting from where they used to live? Is there anything you think they miss from "back home" that you could bring with you?

To still go with the dinner option but make it more personal than a gift card, make a reservation for them for that third night and take care of the check with a gift card. That way it's more thoughtful.
posted by manicure12 at 10:23 PM on October 21, 2012 [2 favorites]

Have you noticed any household items they're missing that might be useful? I'm thinking stuff like a garlic press, a set of nice alcohol glasses (lowball or wine glasses, for instance), etc.- things that don't rely on knowing their taste but on what they do in their apartment and what might make their new place feel more complete.
posted by MadamM at 10:24 PM on October 21, 2012

Spices could also work well- nice spices are expensive to buy all in one go when you've just moved, and having spices makes trying new recipes easier.
posted by MadamM at 10:28 PM on October 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

Spices are an awesome idea - friends stocked up my spice collection when we had them over for a very small housewarming party when we first got married - but if they aren't the cooking types, the fun may be lost on them.

Don't know how big of a present you are looking to get but I get a lot of out of towners who seem to end up crashing here for a day or two an I've gotten many candles. Not like dollar store candles, but a nice quality jar type candle suitable to the season with a thoughtful card. I really enjoy nice candles anyhow, but they can be expensive and seem sort of like a luxury not worth spending money on, so when I'm gifted them it makes me feel kinda ritzy, and every time I use them, I think of the person that gave it to me and their stay with us.
posted by takoukla at 5:52 AM on October 22, 2012

A nice idea from Martha Stewart [okay, all the rest of y'all giggling now, shut up] could riff on the "we were supposed to have dinner" idea - "give" them dinner in the form of a nice basket with the makings of a simple dinner (she suggested a really good pasta, either a really good pre-made sauce or some really good potatoes, a wedge of parmaesan cheese with one of those hand-held shredder things, a baguette and a small bouquet). If they're not pasta people, adapt as needed.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:54 AM on October 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

....And of course by "really good potatoes" I meant "really good tomatoes".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:00 AM on October 22, 2012 [2 favorites]

I like the idea of treating them to dinner in your absence. Find out if there's a nice-ish place around, not Outback or Chilis, but a nice, local place. Get a gift certificate, or a pre-paid Visa (with $50 or $100) on it, and a nice card suggesting that they use the money for an evening out.

Now, if they'd rather not, they can pay the ConEd, either way, you're awesome!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 2:28 PM on October 22, 2012

Thanks for all your great suggestions! I gently circled around the subject and it turns out they have a spreadsheet wishlist of stuff for the apartment. :)
posted by homodachi at 12:30 PM on October 25, 2012

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