Although it's quick and easy to reach for a bottle of bubbly or gin, why not think outside the box and bring a product that's not alcohol? Plenty of guests will bring a bottle of something, so to stand out from the crowd, I advise gifting one of the following five items.
- Flowers Nothing says Spring more than a gorgeous grouping of colorful flowers. Pick up a couple of bouquets of festive blooms, like yellow daffodils or purple tulips, and arrange them in a simple glass vase. Tie with a ribbon and hand to the hostess upon arrival. She won't have to worry about finding a vase while guests arrive and can simply display the flowers as is.
- Magazine Subscription For under $20, magazine subscriptions are the gift that keeps on giving. Your host will enjoy reading it for the whole year — just be sure that they don't already subscribe to the magazine. Buy a newsstand copy of the mag and present it to the host upon arrival. My top three picks: the newly made over Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, or Martha Stewart Living.
- Artisanal Cheese No food-lover can deny a wonderful wedge of artisan cheese. Place the cheese in a decorative bag and write a note telling the host to enjoy the cheese the day after the party. If you can find some delicious plain crackers, toss those in the bag, too.
- A Cookbook A new cookbook can be inspirational for someone who loves to entertain. Think about their style as a hostess and select a cookbook (that's recently hit the market) to match it. For vegetable lovers, I recommend Plenty. For the trendsetter, consider Gwyneth Paltrow's My Father's Daughter, and for the busy parent, Real Simple Dinner Tonight.
- Extra-Virgin Olive Oil Every cook uses it, so they'll be excited to receive a bottle of good quality, extra-virgin olive oil for finishing. Avoid flavored oils and choose one that highlights the classic taste of olives.
Besides alcohol, what's your go-to hostess gift? Share your suggestions with me below!