Unique Hostess Gifts from Across the Country
It's the season of parties and always nice to enter someone’s home with a little gift for the host. Hailing from Sonoma County and nearby Napa, I’ll never say no to taking a divine bottle of wine or a bouquet of wildflowers, but sometimes it’s nice to think of the unexpected.
When I travel, I always venture into small boutiques and indie shops and gather goodies that speak to me along the way—neither anything too big for my suitcase nor too expensive, and I thought how perfect! This could segue into unique presents for well deserving hosts. Having just returned from a family trip, I’ve gathered those items along with a few others for a coast-to-coast mini collection of gift ideas from across the country.
CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA
Assorted Body Butters $12 for 8 oz., oldwhalingcompany.com
I discovered the Old Whaling Co. stand in the enclosed portion of the Charleston City Market, and was drawn by the intoxicating scents of their bath bombs, body butters and handmade soaps.
We eventually settled on Sea-La-Vie, a splash of ocean goodness to your olfactory, and their bestseller Seaberry that can best be described as a Japanese peony scent: sweet and floral. The body butters are readily absorbed with fragrances that linger deliciously for hours. What a gift for summer-parched skin or for the hands of a host who has been toiling away in the kitchen.
FRIDAY HARBOR, WASHINGTON
Pelindaba Lavender Natural Products $11-14, pelindaba.com
Here’s a twist on spices that your host might delight in. We traveled to San Juan Island, Friday Harbor last summer to visit family, and luckily right when the lavender fields of Pelindaba were abloom.
They grow and harvest their own lavender, and collect island sea salt to make a vast assortment of products, such as Lavender Gourmet Salt with grinder ($11), which is delicious on morning eggs, salads and vegetables; I’ve gifted it to so many friends! Another thought, the Lavender Room Mist ($14) gives a burst of the blooms immediately to any space you occupy and takes me immediately back to that gorgeous field.
CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA
Assorted Gourmet Cookies, $7.95-$16.95 for 16 oz., brydcookiecompany.com
Sometimes it’s nice to give a gift that a host can zip open right away and sample and/or serve if they so choose. The Byrd Cookie Company, while we stumbled upon it in Charleston, actually calls Savannah, Georgia home and features a cookie bar, where you can taste before you commit.
But you’ll find you like a bit of everything! When we visited, their famous Scotch Oatmeal cookies were out of stock, so we settled on Georgia Peach. While I’m not much for dusted cookies, it’s like having a fresh peach slice in your mouth with a little citrus twist! I’m so glad my daughter convinced me to try one. Gluten-free available.
Honey Products ($15-36), Savannah Bee Company
I’ve long gifted things like olive oils and balsamic vinegar for hosts who love to cook, but what about honey? The Savannah Bee Company is one of my favorite stops in the city and their tupelo honey ($36 for 20 oz.) is one I wait to purchase, as its local to the area and features a slightly spicy flavor. Fortunately, they too have a tasting bar for the distinguishing tongue, where we even got to taste honeycomb.
They have a special initiative called The Bee Cause Project. With the purchase of any specially marked product, proceeds benefit their attempt to get 1000 live hives in 1000 schools to educate kids about the importance of bees in our environment. 12 oz. Honey, $15.
An additional gift for the kids is always a surprise if the family has children. These lip balms come as a set ($19.99) and feature unique scents such as Sweet Tea, Earl Grey, Mint Julep, etc.
Instead of an arrangement of flowers, wrap a pot of garden herbs with a ribbon, which is lovely and locally accessible and a thoughtful present in a pinch, especially for a host who just went on vacation and half of her garden dried up (true story for me, sadly!).
To see these ideas in action, see my IGTV on Instagram.
For more hostess gift ideas, see a recent Today show segment with Hoda Kotb and Keir Simmons.