I’m no Emily Post but I’d like to think that I have fairly decent manners (compliments of my mother who always warned, “What if someday you eat dinner with the Queen?” P.S. Mom, I’m still waiting on my royal invite). And every time I’m headed to someone’s house for dinner, a holiday, wine hour, whatever, I hear a little voice in my head saying, “Don’t forget a gift.” The trouble is that often these hostess-gift-needed events seem to happen while I’m on the road and relying on the minimal necessities I drag around in my suitcase. So, tired of running around like a crazy kahooney looking for a last-minute gift before dinner, or worse yet, showing up empty handed, I’ve brainstormed some quick, easy, and of course, suitcase-friendly hostess gifts (which all said and done is rather strange, because I’d say that planning ahead is not quite my forte…but thus I digress…).
7 tried and true travel-friendly hostess (a.k.a. “thanks for having me over”) gifts
1. Hot drinks
Gourmet teas, coffee, and hot chocolate packages are light and easy to pack. Tie a bow around it and voila, it’s a gift!
2. Peanut Brittle
Pros: Delicious (of course), easy to pack (and doesn’t matter if it breaks a bit in transit, just makes it all that much easier to eat), buy it from See’s Candy and it’ll even come pre-wrapped.
Cons: Some people have peanut allergies. Make sure your recipient isn’t allergic to nuts/peanuts…otherwise you’ll be nibbling on that peanut brittle during the ambulance ride to the hospital (killing your host is usually frowned upon).
3. Dried fruits
Your host’s taste buds (and bowels…’cause I know you were curious) will thank you!
4. Spiced nuts
It’s like crack with sugar on it (or at least this is what I’d imagine sugar-covered crack would be like). So deliciously addicting! (And note, the whole don’t accidentally kill your host thing applies here too.)
5. An ornament
I’d recommend you skip the glass balls and other fragile ornaments in this case. Pick out something more durable like metal or wood and ideally make it unique and/or personal. Can we say an adorable wooden shoe ornament from the Netherlands?
6. A treat from the Christmas market
When all else fails, pick up a quick gift while you’re already on the road. The Christmas markets in Europe (*cough cough* Prague and Salzburg) are some of my personal favorite spots to pick up fun and clever little thank you gifts.
There’s a reason they coined “Your presence is our present.” Stick a bow on your head for an added touch. (But not really, because then you’ll just show up looking like a weirdo with no present and a bow on your head.)