It’s a beautiful time of year — one synonymous with joy, gratitude, celebrations, krumkake, shirts with silver sequins, and … host gifts. That’s not a burden, of course. Who’s complaining about having so many wonderful friends who love to throw parties? But it does mean a bit of creativity, especially if you want to broaden your gift-giving horizons beyond a bottle of wine.
Eat, drink, be merry
Consumable gifts are sure to please. Bring something your host can serve during the party or enjoy as a reward for a fete well-thrown after it’s done.
Macy’s carries a number of edibles that fit the bill. Gourmet Spa Mix, a blend of nuts of dried fruit, comes in pretty cloth packaging and is perfect for the health-conscious hostess. Elf on the Shelf cocoa (2) will satisfy the young — and the young at heart. And a Stonewall Kitchen sampler includes an inviting mix of sweet and savory jams and condiments.
To evoke a feeling of nostalgia, proffer jams (6) made at the Minnesota Historical Society-run Oliver Kelley Farm; they’re a top seller at the gift shop.
Or bring a small wooden salt cellar and salt, a traditional housewarming gift, from the Walker Art Center.
And about that “be merry”: Confetti cannons (5), available at many gift shops, including the Minneapolis Institute of Art, can help the host be the life of the party.
If throwing elaborate parties is a way life for your host, a cookbook or cocktail-recipe book makes a thoughtful gift. Many small independent shops carry local or niche cookbooks, which are a nice touch.
You can aim for useful and funny titles such as “Gone with the Gin” (1) a cocktail book on sale at the Guthrie Theater’s gift shop.
Artistically inclined hosts may appreciate one of the adult art books that have surged in popularity in recent years. The craze that began with adult coloring books now includes connect-the-dot and paint-by-sticker books, available at large craft stores like Michaels and small boutiques and local museum shops.
“Ivy and the Inky Butterfly” is a coloring book that lets you illustrate a fable — a perfect way to unwind when the hullabaloo is over.
A journal or sketchbook paired with fun pens (3) from the Walker or the MIA is a useful way for the host to remember the evening.
Also consider helping hosts brighten their indoor spaces during the long winter.
Find small and large varieties of houseplants all across the Cities, from Ikea and Home Depot to boutique garden centers.
Vintage-looking tea towels from Mill City Museum will bring a touch of history to winter kitchens.
Monogrammed saucers (4) like those recently seen at Patina make a great personalized gift.
Local pottery, like soap dishes and coasters, are thoughtful additions to any home.
Hosts won’t turn their noses up at a flask (local boutiques), the better to fortify their nerves while they cook.