The door opens and there you stand holding—a bum bundt cake. Make sure you’re greeted with extra open arms by bringing a non-ho-hum host or hostess gift. Here are our swaps for the standards.
Flowers: Here’s the thing about flowers—they become a responsibility in the middle of her party flow. Your host has to stop and arrange or integrate these into her decor. Instead send flowers as a follow up thank you, or gift a small succulent or a plant that they can appreciate on their own time.
Bottle of Wine: Unless it’s a vintage they are particularly aware of, a bottle of wine might not mean much. Instead of appearing as if you just BYO-ed, turn a bottle of vino into an event. Pair it with a deluxe decanter so they can really open up and enjoy that red.
Candle: Candles always seem like a swing and success. To make sure your present hits the right note, give them a set of candles that are suited for every room in your house and therefore almost any olfactory preference.
Pie: Baked goods are always nice, but pair them with a sweet they can enjoy in the future for a more crowd pleasing choice. Package your pie with a pastry server or kitchen towel to ensure they’ll remember more than just your attempt at a pâte brisée.
Spirits: The best gifts are personal. Share your favorite artisanal spirit with a recipe for how you prefer to imbibe it. Pair that duo with napkins, a set of cocktail stirrers, or any of the accoutrements that compliment your concoction.
Gift Card: The favorite gift of distant relatives and those waiting in line at the drugstore, a gift card doesn’t telegraph much in the way of thought. Instead of a certificate to a generic destination (ahem, Starbucks), research places for "out-of-the-envelope" options. Combine a credit to their favorite neighborhood wine store or the local cheese shop with an in-kind gift, say a piece of serveware or a set of wine glasses.