From luncheons to barbecues to casual dinner parties, it's custom to bring a host or hostess gift to show your appreciation for your friends' hospitality. But when the social season is in full swing, it's sometimes tough to come up with a creative hostess gift idea on a routine basis. We have put together a short list to start the creative juices flowing!

A "Signature" Gift

It would be great to come up with a gift that would make your "signature" that people would always look forward to receiving. It could be a base idea that only needs a slight modification from party to party to keep the idea "fresh."

For example, maybe you are famous within your circle of friends for having a green thumb. For each party to which you are invited, why not bring the host or hostess the fruits of your garden labor by introducing a small vase of your own garden's flowers! Find a great vase you love and buy several to have on hand. In this way, you will always have an ample supply and can pull together a fresh gift at a moment's notice. (May we suggest our beautiful silver vase with beaded trim.) A host or hostess gift cultured by your own hand is sure to make a memorable impression.

Friendship Plate

Another great idea is to start a tradition whereby a "friendship plate" is passed from party to party. Here is how it works: Bake or cook whatever dessert or dish you are famous for and bring it to the party on a special plate (plate details to follow). When given to the host or hostess, make it known that the plate is not meant to be kept or returned, but instead passed to the host / hostess of the next party to which you are all invited.

While there are plates on the market today that actually have "friendship plate" written on them, we suggest creating your own. First, pick up a colorful porcelain or ceramic plate or platter from any home goods store. Next, stop at at a craft store for non-toxic paint or permanent marks as well as stencils of letters and shapes that might be relative to your social group. Then let your creativity begin!

As the plate gets passed, you may also want to share your stencils and marks to encourage your friends to add their own design and message to the plate. Guaranteed, the plate will soon take on a life and history of its own, and will become a treasured keepsake within your circle of friends.

Themed Gifts

If you're looking for a personalized hostess gift with a theme, look around for some fun ideas. For instance, if you're going to a cocktail party, you may want to present one of our Signature Gift Boxes filled with wine-themed gifts. This could include our scroll wine rack set, a set of "saint and sinner" wine bottle stoppers (a great conversation piece!), Wine glass charms, and a set of wine plates (plates that have a half moon cut out of the side Of the plate that actually holds your wine glass as you graze the buffet table!).

Or if you have been invited to an afternoon luncheon, why not outfit your host or hostess with our brightly colored Calypso-inspired items that include an apron, pot holders, oven mitts and place mats.

If you have been invited to a picnic or barbecue, stay in the theme of the event by gifting one of our picnic blankets or picnic kits that are sure to be a hit.

The main rule of thumb for any unique hostess gift is to have some fun with it. The more personalized, the more memorable it will be!