Privilege Blog

Hostess Gifts For The Style Archetypes

Along come holiday parties, laughing all the way.

It’s so nice when guests bring presents. But here’s the rub. Everybody can find something to hate about anything, “Can you BELIEVE she brought a perfectly hand-crafted widget that she had the GALL to make with her own hands? She KNOWS I have no space.” So don’t spend too much money, or fret much about the perfect object. It is the thought that counts.

Of course, we don’t want to offend. No cheese to vegans, no alcohol to teetotalers, no Christmas-dominant objects to observers of other winter holidays. Oh, and no scents for the scentsitive.

To my way of thinking, the best presents for your hostess are tools that elevate routine activities and tasks.


For our beloved Gal I suggest a wooden large flat saute tool from Earlywood. It solves the spatula problem, the one where you worry about non-stick coating toxicity, but you don’t want to use metal on Le Creuset. Earlywood also offers wooden spreader sampler, or what they call the Trifecta, if you’re feeling flush.

BTW, contrary to conventional wisdom, you can give a Gal flowers, because she doesn’t stand on ceremony. She will just point you to the vases with a quick, “Can you fill this with water for your gorgeous bouquet and thank you and now I’ve got to get back to my rolled roast pork with rosemary stuffing and the 16 side dishes I’m preparing? And how’s your family?” Just don’t give her a vase, she has plenty.

Not even this one. Well, maybe that one.

Hostess-Presents-for-the-Artsy-PresentsThe Cousin’s daily tasks are all generative. Occasionally mystical. You might want to bring something for her creative mind, like a set of color pencils.

Or she’d love anything you make yourself, like an infused oil or vinegar, because she believes in your creative mind too. I have always been daunted by the container and labeling issues, but, hey, online commerce for the win, here, and here. A how-to on infused vinegars, here.

Or, because, yes, she believes in harmonics, or at least wants to, something crystalline. Safest would be these coasters. Gray agate purportedly encourages quiet self-confidence. But if you know her house setup, what about couple of Anthropologie geode pulls? Sure to align the atoms in her junk drawer just right.

The Dame prefers tradition. Things hard, and shiny. You might bring her a set of ornamented metal skewers, for her passed hors d’oeuvres. Or wine charms. They come in many forms. Nautical. The Cole-Porteresque numbers above. Or little silicone dahlias that stick to glass. Heaven forfend that one’s glass might touch the lips of another. Oh, and if one keeps on drinking less and less alcohol as time goes by, one no longer feels the need for these admonitory sayings in one’s goblet.

Now go, my friends, make merry. Just please remember to designate a driver and thank him or her profusely.


Affiliate links may generate commissions. The Style Archetype gallery of High WASP women can be found here.

34 Responses

  1. Just a caution that if drinking glasses “sweat” a little those granite coasters may adhere…and then crash unceremoniously onto your glass tabletop – causing all sorts of misery : ( . The voice of experience.

  2. I love flowers. If I decide to take them as a gift I forage around in the recycling container and find a can or bottle, take the flowers out of the wrapper, do a bit of snipping and arranging and present them in the recycled vase.

    If you’re crafty you can wrap some ribbon around it to pretend it’s not just a recycled container.
    It solves the immediate issue of getting them into water.

    Alternatively you can order flowers to be sent to the hostesses the next day when she’ll have time to arrange them herself.

  3. We usually adhere to the “self destruct” rule – it goes away eventually: candy, soap, cocktail napkins, tea, booze.

  4. I agree that hostess gifts should self destruct! Wine is of course alway great for those who drink it. L’Occitane soap is wonderful–but some use liquid soap in their powder rooms these days–L’Occitane makes that too!

    Great ideas Lisa. Keep them coming. What about gifts for our elderly mothers??? Mine is almost 92 years old and quite spry most of the time.

    1. @Susan, Most elderly mothers don’t need or desire more stuff. For my mother’s 90th birthday, we got the family together for a photograph that could be framed for her enjoyment. My daughter is good about making a book of photos chronicling the past year for her Christmas gift. Some years, it’s a calendar.

    2. @Susan, Susan, our elderly relatives have surprised us by their fervour for either DVDs of concerts or CDs of their favourite music. This is a generation that grew up listening to music on the radio or record player and most of them don’t have iPod playlists.

    3. @Susan, My mother says she just wants me to come visit:). And I do agree that consumables are wonderful – on the other hand, on the few times when I’ve been given something that sticks around, I have loved it. So every now and again, something really on target, small, take the risk?

  5. These are all so wonderful! Wish I’d read this last night when I was on a “hostess gift ordering frenzy”. I found a couple of jewelry carryalls, a S’well reusable water bottle, a lovely beaded clutch, and an assortment of tea cups online Anthropologie.The hardest part was controlling the urge to make purchases for myself!

  6. I just bought (after reading this post) a few sets of the sauté tools for gifts and one set for me! Love Earlywood, and thanks for the introduction. I’ve never figured out which archetype I am, I suspect a combo, but with a strong sturdy in there and I really don’t like flowers brought to me, in a container or not. I think generally hostesses have the rooms set up the way they want them before a party, and I do my own flowers – don’t really want some arrangement that I feel compelled to add. Control freak?

    1. @kathy,
      Um, maybe, Kathy ;
      A bouquet in your bath or bedroom is a nice bonus, allowing you to maintain firm control in your principal rooms.

    2. @kathy, You are perhaps sui generis;). And confession – I asked my daughter to get me that sauté tool for Christmas:). I think it will also be perfect for stir-frying.

    3. Love that archetype, sui generis. And I always do the flowers for bathrooms and bedrooms too, not just the principal rooms. Giving my daughter that set of sauté tools as part of her holiday gift.

  7. If no one ever brings me an infused vinegar again I will be thrilled, because generally the infusion (bought or homemade) turns out to be too intense, too weird or both.

    I like to bring flowers •in• a vase (there are clear glass choices at any thrift store, Ikea or from the florist) but if I can find a frilly, elegant big cyclamen, that is my favourite- they make any room look serenely beautiful. We also like to bring a hunk of finest grade parmesan- we live in Little Italy.

  8. I bought two Earlywood spatulas last year — one for me, one as a gift for my dad. Wonderful tool, highly recommended. Cheers!

  9. After reading the reviews and this post, I just ordered the large flat saute tool from Earlywood in jatoba but honestly it was hard to decide which wood – they are all gorgeous. This will be a gift to my younger daughter who loves to cook. Thanks for the link.

  10. The Earlywood utensils are gorgeous, and having been to a craft market where there were some similar goods today, they are very well priced. Even in $US and with shipping.

    They won’t serve well as gifts for others from me though, as those who would appreciate them really don’t need any more utensils. I will however add them to my gift list and cross my fingers. I just need to work out which link to share!

    Thank you for introducing them to me.

  11. Just placed my Earlywood order today! My husband has asked for a fancy pants saute pan, these will be the perfect stocking stuffer. Thank you for directing us there!

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