07 October 2010

Go-To Gifts for the Season | Holiday Workshop

Fusion Lumieres
And what is The Savvy Host offering in the way of holiday entertaining know-how?  Read on...

Go-To Gifts for the Season
Mid-October through early January, there's seldom a few extra minutes to spare.  We always like to be prepared (yes, there is Brownie-turned-Girl-Scout training in our past).  Not that this happens regularly enough - no we're not THAT good - but isn't it an alluring concept?

With so many dinner parties, cocktail events, family gatherings and holiday merrymaking, it is hard enough to coordinate schedules, hosting details, and sassy attire!!  Often overlooked - and then a source of discomfort - is how best to prepare for unexpected or last-minute gift-giving needs.

This is not a lesson in the etiquette of gift-giving (see Don't Forget a Gift for the Host!).  Instead, we offering our list of Go-To Gifts to keep on hand to ensure that WHEN (never IF unfortunately) you unexpectedly need "a little something", YOU are PREPARED with an appropriate gift for the host, teacher's gift, special co-coworker, Secret Santa, ... remember last year?

Six Go-To Gifts - along with savvy tips to help budget while you stock up -  can be pulled together whether your budget is $100 or $15.

Save yourself a little bit of frantic this season - keep a few tucked away in a "gift closet" (or pantry - or guest room...)

AND, the best way to make any gift a true success is to customize...even just a little bit.  MAKE IT SPECIAL with special accents or pairings to create an interesting, tailored gift-set.  Highlights the savvy-ness of the giver.  Brings an appreciative smile to face of the giftee. Take a look...

1. Wine
An ever-traditional host or thank-you gift.  Red, white, pink or SPARKLING champagne, we always enjoy receiving a special selection to enjoy around the holidays.

Napa Vines Spreaders
SAVVY TIP - Now's the time to watch the store specials to find an extra-special VALUE you'll be proud to share.  Buy a set of 6 or more and often you'll save an additional 10%!!

MAKE IT SPECIAL - Feeling festive? Add an ornament or other seasonal decoration tied around the neck with holiday ribbon.  Prefer functional? Wine charms, champagne stoppers, or other specialty wine tools add a little something extra.

2. Spreaders
Ever-so-useful for any entertaining occasion!  We love the diversity of styles, colors and shapes of cheese and other spreaders.  Use for spreadable hors d'oeuvres or to pass with the butter or to serve certain condiments at the table. 

SAVVY TIP - Often packaged as a set of four, look for sets that you can break into pairs, perfectly appropriate to have on-hand for a Go-To Gift (and allows you a little budget to make it special!)

MAKE IT SPECIAL -  Add a specialty mustard - preserves - or even jam to a package with two spreaders for a unique pairing.  Trader Joe's, iGourmet and Gourmet Delights are all offering wonderful gourmet additions to fit any budget.

3. Salt Server or Condiment Bowls
Something a little elegant, we love the trend to serve fine sea salt, or other specialty condiments, from specialty serving dishes.  Salt pigs, salt servers or specialty condiment bowls are a unique gift - often made of stone or olive wood.

SAVVY TIP - Keep your eye out for those servers and bowls that include a matching spoon. Typically at no additional cost, the tiny spoon is quite a value-add!

MAKE IT SPECIAL - As a starter, complete the set by adding a package of Fleur de Sel. Or specialty salt - we love Secret Stash Salt's Lavendar Rosemary and Bloody Mary Salt.  Or, consider adding another favorite - Truffle Salt.

4. Specialty Serveware
A special serving pair - soup spoons - cheese knives - or pasta tongs - elegantly boxed and tied with a festive bow, will fit the Go-To Gift occasion (whatever that may be!). 
High-Heel Cake Server
SAVVY TIP - Keep your eye out for serveware items already pre-packaged in box, saving you the trouble of trying to box and wrap.

MAKE IT SPECIAL - There are so many unique serveware items - consider investing in a decor theme that is meaningful to you in some way - or buy a few MUST-haves that you wouldn't mind having at your entertaining disposal.  Need a really creative idea under $20?  High-Heel Cake Servers (see left) never miss the mark in Decadent Diva - Gourmet Glam and so many other styles.  Also love gourmet cooking MUST-haves including NexTrend Garlic Twist Mincer and Sous Chef.

5. Tea/Coffee Service
A tin of gourmet tea or package of specialty coffee beans are an energizing treat! Added to a special cup & saucer, or demitasse set - this will forever be an afternoon break in your honor. 
SAVVY TIP - Buy a special roast or leaf in bulk - and then package in smaller portions for your Go-To Gifts.  Similarly, find a set of tea cups or mugs - and package individually or in pairs!

MAKE IT SPECIAL - There are so many new shapes, sizes and styles of coffee and tea service - seek out unique demitasse cup sets or glass coffee cups that work for both coffee and tea.  Design conscious pieces will pair well with a small portion of specialty tea or coffee to make a wonderful impression.  Take it up a notch by adding flavored sugar spoons.
Rondo Cappuccino and Espresso Sets

6. Votives & Candleholders
Hard to go wrong with a lovely glass or crystal votive or decorative candleholder.  Opt for something seasonal if you like or stick with an all-occasion style – be it contemporary, traditional or glitzy.  Perfect decorative element for dining décor - for the powder room - or bedside, your recipient will enjoy this special touch.  We find beautiful options at a full range of budget pricing.

SAVVY TIP - There are enormous savings to be had in buying sets of the candles in bulk - and then being generous enough to include more than one candle with your gift!

MAKE IT SPECIAL - If you are crafty (we're not), creating custom candleholders is a way to make it personal and unique - often on a very limited budget!  We rely on Martha Stewart for these types of how-tos. Another way is to include specialty candles. We love Oak Forest Designs festive square glitter tapers or the unique soy-based scents from Colette Candles. Another alternative is Bright Endeavors – beautiful candles that offer a special chance to support a great cause!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

May you remember to give as you would receive, cheerfully, quickly, and without hesitation; for there is no grace in a benefit that sticks to the fingers. ~ Seneca

We are thrilled to be part of this season's Holiday Workshop hosted by the ever-charming Housewife Bliss!  Drop in to pick up all you need to know to prepare for the holidays from some these favorite savvy resources!!

2010 Holiday Workshop - 10/6 Sessions
Mark your calendar to check back next week to gather the insights from our fellow Holiday Workshop participants! 


Danielle said...

I honestly NEED to have that high heel cake server!! That is sooo me! These were great ideas. xxx

cynthia - thedailybasics.com said...

Great ideas for gift giving but I might give my self some of those gifts! COOL! Thankx!

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