Thursday, November 12, 2009

10 Hostess Gifts Under $20

Holiday parties are here--and the chic guest never arrives empty-handed. Rather than settle for the last-minute, dusty bottle of wine from the corner deli, stock up on these great gift ideas. They are the ultimate way to say thank you.

#1) State of Mind - No matter where you are from, these state-themed dish towels are almost too cute to use. Designed by Catstudio™, I found mine online at Neiman Marcus ($20). You can find more designs and products by city, region and country at Catstudio online.

#2) Light it Up - I couldn't stop at just one when I picked up these match boxes. At less than $3 a piece, the price is right for pairing with a simple candle. Being from San Francisco, I naturally couldn't resist the SF themed box, but my real favorite is the Birdie Brand Love Matches (shown here). For more head to

#3) Put Your Stamp on It - Paperwink's rubber stamps make corresponding a cinch. Plan ahead to customize one with your host's address. All super-affordable, with several under $20, these stamps are just the ticket for a housewarming party.

#4) Lock it in - For a gift that simple (and shiny!), give Stat Key Company's Designer Keys. These nickel chrome key blanks can be cut at any hardware store, relegating your original keys to spare status. I heart this one ($11), but stock up on styles that fit your friends' personalities.

#5) A Real Gem - I discovered these doorknob-sized wine stoppers in bold gem-toned colors on a recent wine country tour and kicked myself for not snapping them up on sight. Luckily these beauties can be found online at Amber Marie & Company ($16.99). They display the clear, ruby and amethyst versions, but it's the emerald and cobalt toppers I covet.

#6) I Like You Too - Don't be fooled by its kitschy illustrations. I LIKE YOU ($15.99) is a guide to entertaining that is full of solid advice and recipes for any hostess. Comedienne and domestic goddess Amy Sedaris (of Strangers With Candy fame) brings her quirky brand of humor to the table. My favorite tip: "Try filling your medicine cabinet with marbles. Nothing announces a nosy partygoer more successfully than an avalanche of marbles striking a porcelain sink."

#7) Rainbow Bright - Celebrating early? Give your host these adorable Rainbow Village holiday cards ($14) by Rock Scissor Paper via Fred Flare with enough time to send them out for the holidays. Then check your mailbox to see if you made the list.

#8) Seasons Readings - While you're there, fill your cart with this personal library kit ($20) by Knock Knock. Your guybrarian host or smarty-pants hostess will swoon. The kit includes adhesive pockets, insert cards, and a date stamp--making it all the easier to borrow that cookbook of theirs you've been hungering for.

#9) Measure Up - For true domestic bliss, gift your hostess with these Baker's Bliss Measuring Spoons ($18) from Anthropologie. Just be sure to get a bite of whatever treats are whipped up with these sweet spoons.

#10) Bird is the Word - At $24 this doesn't quite meet my price requirements, but I'm taking the liberty to make it my honorable mention. These silver-plated origami cranes from Gump's can display name cards, label buffet dishes, or hold some of your favorite photos. I haven't loved cranes this much since I cried over Sadako in grade school.

When word gets around these are the gifts you're packing, you'll be at the top of everyone's guest list in the new year.

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