Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Hostess Gifts

I've been reading a book on the history of weddings and the reasons for some of the traditional wedding traditions is very interesting! For instance, ever wonder why its called a "shower"? In the late nineteenth century, a bride would invite her closest friends and relatives over for some stress relief the night before her wedding. Everyone would bring small token gifts that would be placed in an upside-down umbrella. This would then be raised and turned over the bride, and the gifts would "shower" down on her for luck.

Whenever a shower is thrown in your honor, it is appropriate to bring a hostess gift as a thank you for the event. I recently had a bride ask me for some help in this area. My favorite go-to place for hostess gifts is Nell Hills. First opened in Atchison, KS, this store - and its owner Mary Carol Garrity - are amazing! In the past two years or so she opened a shop in Briarcliff making it much more accessible, and now she has started an online shop much to her fans' excitement!

You can find lots of creative hostess gifts here that won't break the bank. Plus, they usually have multiple pieces of each item so if you have multiple people hosting the shower, you can still get them something very nice but you can get them all the same thing rather than trying to pick something out for each individual. Here are a few of my favorites with ways to put a creative spin on the gift:

If the shower is a brunch shower or luncheon, get a bag of coffee - such as the Breakfast Blend from KC's Roasterie - and affix a coffee scoop with some pretty ribbon to the bag. This one can be found at Nell Hills for only $5!

I love these bottles which are $51 for the set of three. If there were multiple people hosting your shower you could split of the three and give one to each person. For a personal touch you could infuse some olive oil with basil or rosemary and fill the bottles. As an accompaniment, give each person a little bag of delicious bread from Farm to Market in Downtown Overland Park.

This basket from Nell Hills is filled with 3, 10" glass milk bottles. The whole set is only $12! To personalize, fill each vase with a different grouping of flowers. Not only will this look pretty, but it will show the hostess just how this gift can be used as not everyone might infer that this is a vase!

Finally, I love these black serving trays. They are $52.25 for the set which is on the more expensive side, but you could break up the set for two gifts or if there is only one hostess or couple, this would be appropriate. For a personalized touch, you could stencil the host's monogram into the middle.

If none of these options - or variations of the above - seem to fit your host or hosts, a gift certificate to a restaurant is always a no-fail gift. Or in my case, a bottle of wine!

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