The Lost Art of the Hostess Gift

The Lost Art of the Hostess Gift

The Lost Art of the Hostess Gift


These days I hear a lot of people complaining about how nobody cares, about how people are thoughtless, about how little regard we have for one another. I think to myself a few times a day about how I, myself, should slow down…do some rose smelling. I think that’s one reason why I, and those who work for William Glen, are kind of enjoying the step back from our big, former selves and having fun with this smaller adventure.


I also get asked about the old days and the lost art of communication. I hear people bemoaning the fact that no one writes letters, that no one makes a simple “out of the blue phone” call anymore. Again, I can agree and point to myself. Every day on his way home my dad called his mother. After she lost her sight and could not work for him in accounts any longer, he didn’t see her every day and so would take a few minutes and call his mother on his way home from work. I text my mother every morning; same idea, but not really.


So, how do we get “back there” from here? How do we regain our lost communication and human interactive connection? Well, I am no sociologist and far from being a psychologist but, as a retailer, a person who interacts with people all day everyday, I have made some observations.


Gift giving is still a very valued way to communicate your feelings towards another. Weddings, birthdays, Christmas, they are all normal gift giving events. The tambour of the holiday season sets a certain tone for gift giving that becomes so infectious and joyous that we sometimes feel like we just walked into Disneyland. We become in love with enjoying the magic of the season in the most magical time of the year.


Wedding season, too, is a time where we elate over our friends and family who choose to make that leap of commitment and demonstrate their love for another. We fawn gifts at showers, at parties, and at the wedding. Birthdays have a similar joyous and intimate enjoyment over the giving of gifts to say “you mean something to me, so please take this is a small token”.


There is an easier, more frequent and honestly less expensive situation where one can show some of the grace of yesteryear; the hostess gift. This kind of preemptive thank you is proffered as a gesture of thanks for being invited into another’s home. This gift is not meant to overwhelm either the recipient or the giver but rather act as a token of appreciation for the host or hostess. Wine is always a great gift but we have some other creative suggestions at William Glen. Hostess gift ideas are our specialty.


Hostess gifts may be something entirely simple like a few sets of cocktail of guest towels with a holder. A little ribbon around the set and you have a lovely gift.


Another thoughtful idea is a set of nice utensils such as an olive wood spoon set along with a matching spatula. Add ribbon around and you have a lovely gift.


Thirdly, a nice oil and vinegar set from our stores with a tea towel form our kitchen department and wrap them inside. This is a really lovely, casual and useful gift.


A really easy idea is a set of simple tapered candles. Candlelight at dinner is such a lovely tradition and was always a part of our family dinners when I was a child. Two 12” tapered candles in white or ivory are a very safe bet but if you know something about their décor and preferences you can select an appropriate color. Again, use some simple ribbon or maybe in a wine gift bag with some tissue and ribbon.


All of these gift ideas are about $8 to $25. You can go up from there of course but, remember, the idea is not to impress as much as it is to show thanks and offer a gracious token in exchange for the great deal of effort from the host and hostess. And, of course, don’t forget to follow up with a simple thank you card.


For some easy solutions or suggestions come by our store at 2310 Fair Oaks Blvd or visit us in Old Sacramento at Chef’s Mercantile and Christmas & Co. Or simply email us at