The best hostess gifts for the holiday season

By Sarah Kelsey

A-list lifestyle gurus like Gwyneth Paltrow and Blake Lively would agree that saying thank you to the host of a party is an absolute must. This is especially true around the holidays, when pulling together the perfect bash can be both time-consuming and stressful for even the most composed of hostesses.

"[Thank-you] gifts don't need to be extravagant,” Martha Stewart has said, “but a little bit of thoughtfulness will really make your host feel special.” In a video on her site marthastewart.com, she says one of her favourite things to give during the festive season is something freshly plucked from her garden. She’ll pull herbs or spices together with a nice ribbon or she’s also been known to gift homemade jams or preserves alongside local breads and cheeses.

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If you're not into a DIY present, Canadian designer Sarah Richardson prefers wrapping up little thank-yous that are as pretty as they are practical. “Bubbles make every occasion a special one,” she once told House and Home. The 44-year-old mom to two is also a fan of giving pre-packaged soaps or unexpected kitchen treats to hosts. “Gourmet ingredients make great gifts for the holidays."

As for advice from sartorially smart ladies such as Tory Burch, it seems that what one gives is a matter of personal preference. Your something special needn’t be given on the day of a bash. “Sometimes I bring something that evening or I send flowers with a note the day after … it depends on the occasion.”

With all of that in mind, we’ve rounded up several finds that are sure to tickle the fancy of any host or hostess. From chocolates to plush throws, there’s something on this list for everyone!

Sarah Kelsey is a gal in the know who regularly appears on television and writes for a variety of outlets. Check out her work at sarahkelsey.ca, on Twitter @sarahkelsey, Instagram @sakelsey and Pinterest @sakelsey.

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