Thursday, 8 December 2016

Unique Hostess Gifts

'Tis the season for gatherings and social events, but what do you bring your gracious host? We have put together some unique gift ideas your host/hostess will love and are useful. Who knows these gifts might just be your ticket to another invitation next year ;) 

Homemade Jarred Goodies

Mason Jars are amazing. Easily dressed up and able to hold an assortment of goodies. Don't get me wrong a nice bottle of something, is a great staple when it comes to hostess gifts but a handmade/homemade hostess gift adds that little something extra. Here are some easy diy Mason Jar gift ideas:

  • Pickled Jalepeños: If you are attending a gathering and the host/hostess loves a little spice in their life, may I suggest some pickled jalapeños. Using the abundance of jalapeños I harvested this year, I decided to use a basic pickling recipe and save them for times like these or for a little spice on top of some homemade nachos. If you did not can any of your produce this year, you can find some homemade pickled goods at your local market or artisan show.  Simply wrap the pickled goods in a theme appropriate tea towel and tie with a bow. 

  • Homemade Vanilla Extract: This is actually incredibly easy and is BY FAR tastier than store bought vanilla. I made a simple vanilla cake for my daughter's birthday last year with RAVE reviews- when I said it was just a basic vanilla cake, the consensus was it must be the vanilla extract. I agree. Simple grab a few vanilla beans, open lengthwise, scrape out the bean pod and add the pod scrapings and pods to alcohol of choice (I used Smironoff vodka). Let the vanilla sit for 4-6 weeks before using. I just leave the pods in indefinitely as I use the vanilla which continues to extract vanilla into the alcohol. Yum! Cost Saving Tip- Vanilla beans are PRICEY, however, there are a lot of great online sellers who offer beans in bulk for a price that is much less per bean than the grocery store (Bulk Barn sells 2 beans for about $6, while online you can get 25 beans for about $35). Try Beanilla, Vanilla Food Company or World Class Vanilla Co. Also, for making vanilla extract, Grade B beans work fine!
  • Homemade Granola: This is a such a nice gift and super easy to mix up. Customize it with whatever additions you'd like- nuts, seeds, coconut, dried fruit, etc. I use one of two recipes from The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook, one which is grain based with oats (recipe here) or another which is grain free/paleo (recipe here).

  • Homemade Sauces: Mixing up some simple apple sauce, apple butter (sugar free recipe) or a cranberry sauce is another easy, quick, tasty hostess idea. Add to a mason jar with some ribbon or pretty fabric and you have a personalized quick hostess gift!

Hot Chocolate Gift 

When attending a winter party, there is nothing better than the gift of warmth and sweetness. This little hot chocolate package, chocolate spoon, (and optional mini baileys bottle) will help your host/hostess survive the holiday season! 

Coffee Cozy

Coffee, tea and hot chocolates are a great hostess gift staple. To make it extra personalized, add a homemade fabric coffee cozy. With some basic sewing skills you can whip up a cozy in no time at all. (Check out this easy tutorial). Make a few extra to keep on hand for a quick teacher gift or to add to a coffee gift card.

Amaryllis Bulb 

Give the gift of beauty to your host/hostess this year. An amaryllis bulb in a unique pot, which reflects your hostess' taste, is a lovely gift to receive this year. Each bulb will produce a 30- 60 cm tall stem with two or more funnel shaped flowers at the top. The flowers can come in multiple colours, such as deep red, red/white, pink/white, white etc, the flowers will be approximately 6 -10 cm in diameter. Simply have your pot, with holes for drainage on the bottom, fill it will moss and place the bulb in the centre, packing moss around it for stability. 
Tell the special recipient not to toss the bulb away once the flowers are done. Simply cut back and store in a dry dark place for next year. It may just come back to life next Christmas season! 

Holiday Stove-top Simmers
Fill your host/hostess' home with the smell of the holidays this year! This is an easy and chemical free scented gift to give to your host. Choose a bag/box to present your gift in such as a mesh bag, brown paper bag, box or anything you'd like. Next, you can dehydrate some oranges and cranberries, or any citrus or berries you like (or buy already dehydrated). Then add some spices. I chose anise stars, cloves, juniper berries, nutmeg nuts and cinnamon sticks. Finally add a twig of pine or cedar to the bag. You can customize a gift tag with the simple instructions to fill sauce pan with water and toss in contents of the bag. The colour combination is very appealing and the smell is heavenly.  

Paperwhite Bulbs

Another flowering beauty host/hostess gift! Fill a vase with some river rocks and place in the base of the bulbs. Paperwhites only need a little water for their roots to grow. The stems grow quite tall, approximately a foot in height with a cluster of white star like flowers at the top. The flowers bloom around Christmas and have a lovely, yet strong fragrance. Once the flowering is complete, the host/hostess can cut back the stem, remove the bulb from the water and store in a dark and dry place for the potential of next year the bulb coming back!  

Hopefully our list gives you a bit of inspiration this holiday season! 
~The Coach House Team~

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