It's holiday time again, which means lots of parties and social engagements. Since it is always nice to bring the host or hostess a little something as a thank you for their hospitality, we've put together a list of unique gift ideas. While a nice bottle of wine or their favorite spirit is usually a quick go-to, sometimes it is good to have other options. Please keep in mind hostess gifts do not need to be expensive to be appreciated. The below list has a range of options and you can usually get by with a little less expensive gift if you choose to make your own. We hope this gives you some ideas as a starting point!
1. A nice plant
This could be a small seasonal poinsettia that you picked up at the store, or a cute potted herb that they can admire and use in their kitchen. Bringing the outdoors inside instantly warms up a home. An added bonus of a plant or potted herb is that it is self-contained and doesn't need attention from the host or hostess right away. Something like fresh rosemary cut into the shape of a Christmas tree is so festive. Fresh flowers are always nice as well and can be picked up on your way. Bringing a plant or small bouquet of flowers is also a pretty economical way to say thanks; you don't have to go overboard and break the bank.
2. Baked goods or gourmet candies
If you are going to be doing holiday baking anyway, it may be a good idea to set some aside as hostess gifts for any parties you plan to attend. Package them in a pretty container and your hostess will be impressed with your baking and presentation skills. If you are pressed for time during the holidays, or just not a baker, a nice assortment of truffles or holiday candies can be purchased and will still be appreciated.
3. Specialty Soap
This fun token of appreciation is something the hostess can use throughout the winter season and it is always useful. This one, called Mr. Boddington's Holiday Soaps, is found on Anthropologie's website and comes in winter scents. Also, try to keep in mind local creators of soaps and lotions. Not only will you be supporting a small business, but you just might find the host or hostesses' new favorite product.
4. Gourmet cocktail mixers
This is along the same vein as a nice bottle of wine, but perhaps more appropriate for a person who loves a great mixed drink. These gourmet cocktail mixers are created by the owners of the Gin Joint in Charelston, SC. At their bar they create highly imaginative and delicious cocktails, and now they've bottle a few of their blends to help you do the same at home. This would be great for anyone who likes to dabble in mixology.
5. A beautiful candle
Even if the person doesn't necessarily light candles, having it in a decorative jar makes a lovely accent piece. The inviting scent also adds a nice touch. If you know the person well, you can customize this gift to their taste.
6. Unique Coasters
It's a party, so someone is always looking for a place to set down their drink without making a mess. What better than a gift that can be used immediately? And remember, not everything has to be super feminine to be a great hostess gift. I love that these coasters could work for a man or woman. The constellation designs are not only a great conversation starter but beautiful as well. They can be purchased here via peppersprouts' Etsy store.
source: Dean & Deluca
7. Specialty food items: Maple syrup, olive oil and vinegar, jams and jellies, and honey
Choosing something that you can't buy in a regular grocery store like Dean & Deluca Vermont Fancy Maple Syrup shows that you put some time and effort into the gift. This is probably not something the host or hostess would buy for themselves on a daily basis, so the fact that it is a treat and unique would make a great impression. Plus, who wouldn't love some delicious maple syrup on a cold winter morning?
Another good option would be high quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar to make great salad dressings or to use to dip fresh bakery breads. Also, specialty jams, jellies or honey make for an upscale breakfast. Like the maple syrup, choose something that is high quality, and your hostess will be very appreciative!
(If you've traveled anywhere during the past year, try to think of some of the neat food items you may have seen. On a trip to Asheville, NC, I ate at the Tupelo Honey Cafe. They sold all sorts of cookbooks with their recipes and, of course, Tupelo Honey.)
8. Tea, Coffee, Hot Chocolate
These options are a great alternative to alcohol. Between these three drinks, you're probably going to satisfy almost anyone. If you know your host or hostess favors tea over coffee, why not wrap up your favorite brand for them to try? If you are feeling more adventurous, you can try making this creamy hot chocolate mix we've featured before. It is great to share with the whole family.
We hope you enjoyed the list! Do you have any favorite hostess gifts that you like to give?
The 4th is almost here! So, we created some fun, free cupcake toppers to dress up your desserts!
These printables are great to use with a 1 3/4" circular craft punch. They can also be cut out with scissors too (but the craft punch makes it go way faster).
We hope you enjoy our freebies! To stay in the loop for more printables and special deals, like us on Facebook or follow us on Pinterest.
Directions for printable cupcake toppers:
1. Download the free file here
2. Print the file
3. Cut out the decorations
4. Tape to a toothpick
Hope everyone has a safe and happy 4th of July!
This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending an absolutely stunning baby shower. My mother-in-law and her sister put on such a delicious and beautiful spread--I just had to share it! They got their inspiration from our Animal Kingdom Baby Shower Kit and ran with it. Be warned--you might feel inferior about your own party planning skills after seeing this!! :) But don't worry, you can get started creating a beautiful baby shower here.
I love the simple elegance of the blue edible beads and the festiveness of the cupcake toppers.
I LOVE this idea! My mother-in-law typed up well wishes and nursery rhymes for the new mom and framed them. They really dressed up her dessert and food tables and got lots of "oohs and ahhhs."
Red velvet cake pops!
White chocolate-dipped pretzels!
Oreo mint truffles! (Yes, between she and her sister ALL of the food was homemade!)
To customize a clear vase, she decorated it with scrapbook paper.
I also love how she paired these zebra plates with the brown polka dots. I think pale yellow and gray would be great color combos too, if you are looking for ideas. Get a jump start on this look with our mini kits!
My mother-in-law's sister did an amazing job with the food! What a spread! Chicken salad on croissants, spinach dip, pasta salad, a cheese torte and veggies. I particularly liked the toothpick skewers of meat and cheese--very easy to eat.
Tissue paper poofs are so fun! Very classy for a baby or bridal shower. You can get them here.
Sample of the invitation they purchased from PartyChic.
We also played the baby shower word scramble game that come with the kit, in addition to a nursery rhyme game. (I need to brush up on my nursery rhymes!!) Overall, it was a beautiful shower and the expecting mom got tons of useful items. It was fun to see all the cute boy clothes, too--so sweet. All in all, a lovely afternoon.
Are you planning a shower? What do you like to do to make it unique? Games, food, decor?
If you are planning a shower, you may be interested in our game ideas and our blog post about shower prizes.
I love how a cake dresses up a party! Because it is so often the focal point, we wanted to compile some of the cutest cakes for a baby shower that we could find. I love these cakes for various reasons: the textures, colors, and overall designs--they just plain make me happy! Enjoy!
BOY BABY SHOWER CAKES
I love the "Welcome Baby" banner, textured polka dots, stripes and the frilly carriage. Sarah of Let There Be Cake balances all these elements wonderfully to create a simply adorable baby shower cake. (Plus, aren't the animals cute?!) You can check out her gallery here.
Isn't this cake just darling? It's sort of what I imagine for the quintessential boy baby shower cake. And how can you go wrong with elephants? You can't. Clarissa from Little Sugar Bake Shop has lots of darling creations on her Flickr site. Check out her gallery here. If you are going for a Safari-themed shower, you might want to check out one of our baby shower kits.
Aren't these bow ties just adorable? They make a great theme for a boy's shower but I especially love the texture of the cake and the color palette. While I love the standard blue for boy and pink for a girl, sometimes it is nice to mix in some other equally as wonderful colors. The talented Melody Brandon, co-owner of the Sweet and Saucy Shop makes ridiculously gorgeous cakes. You can follow her Sweet and Saucy Blog for beautiful inspiration and shop at her Sweet and Saucy Supply shop to help make those inspirations a reality!
I am currently obsessed with ruffles and this color is absolutely awesome. Can you believe this cake is homemade? Blogger Jamie created this cake for a friend's shower and promises that it doesn't require too much effort (for the ruffles anyway). Jamie, I am in awe! I love cakes with texture--especially for a little boy's shower--it just feels beautiful. Head over to her blog to check it out! The Danhill Family Blog
GIRL BABY SHOWER CAKES
Doesn't this cake just seem like a burst of happiness? Bows, ribbon, flowers, pearls and pink! It just makes me giddy! It could also work for a first birthday too. Owner and designer Kelly from A Piece O' Cake has lots of beautiful creations. Check them out here. There is just something about a beautiful cake that elevates the "specialness" of an event. Am I right?
Another adorable cake from Clarissa at Little Sugar Bake Shop! Hot pink, black and white are always in for any girly event. And a baby shower is no exception! I also love how bold and sassy the zebra print with polka dots motif is--it's just so fun... and it reminds me of one of our baby shower kits!
Here is another cake from Melody's Sweet and Saucy Shop. The texture on this cake is ridiculously awesome. I had never seen anything like it before. I just want to reach through the screen and touch it! Plus, who doesn't love pink bows for a little girl's shower?
I absolutely love the delicateness of this cake. The shades of pink and the texture of the roses are simply picture perfect. You can check out how blogger Megan from Wanna Be A Country Cleaver actually made this cake--with a delicious recipe too! Megan, you give me hope that one day I can make something this pretty!
We hope you enjoyed our roundup of awesome baby shower cakes! Just one more thing though--we can't talk about amazing cakes without giving a shout out to our friends/family across the pond (in England) - Gadd's Special Cakes. If you are one of our readers from England, check them out--their work is amazing!
Hosting a baby shower?
If so check out our printable baby shower games.
Here at PartyChic, we try to discuss all the topics you might need when planning a party - particularly a party as involved as a bridal shower! Since showers often include a guest list that can be mostly strangers, it's important to try to foster conversation. One way to do this is to incorporate bridal shower games. I know, I can hear the collective groans now. People seem to either love them or hate them, but that is exactly why finding decent shower games and activities can take a fair amount of time to research (since we want to get it just right). Over the next few weeks, we will be unveiling a section on our site for baby shower and bridal shower games, as well as activities and craft ideas for non-game lovers. Hopefully it will save you time and give you some fun options!
Today, we've featured a lovely idea centered around recipe cards. Providing a beautiful recipe card with the invitation and asking guests to share their favorite recipe with the bride is a great keepsake. You can use an index card, or purchase these print-and-cut cards from our shop. Not only is this a sentimental and practical momento for the bride, but if you want to spark conversation, you can ask guests at the shower to share what recipe they brought and why it is special to them. Is the recipe super easy? Was it passed down from their grandmother? Is it always an absolute crowd pleaser? Perhaps it was one they found online because they don't cook! It's a great way to gain a little more insight into the people that are special to the bride.
You can buy these cards here. Thanks for stopping by!
One of the most challenging things about party planning is getting the food just right...and maintaining your sanity. Here in the south (Louisville, KY) the food is second only to the guest-of-honor. As hostesses, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves for everything to be perfect. It's time to ease up, ladies! If you are pressed for time, consider these strategies when planning your next baby or bridal shower:
1. Deli and Grocery stores
One of our favorite party tips is to rely on your grocery store deli and bakery for your party needs. We think you'll be pleasantly surprised to find out they do much more than sliced ham and cheese. You'll find an amazing array of party trays, dips, desserts, and seasonal goodies. A fantastic bonus is that these professionals know all about allergies, wine pairings, serving sizes, and seasonal menus. Delis often use fresh, local ingredients as well. This will save you tons of time in grocery shopping, food prep and cleanup.
Many restaurants, from fast food to sit-down offer some form of catering or large party to-go options. If the guest of honor loves BBQ from the local place down the street, why not pick up a pan of pulled pork and offer mini sammies at the party? This person will be touched that not only are you hosting a lovely party for them, but that you went above and beyond to include something that they love on the menu.
Divide and conquer! Many times with a bridal or baby shower, there are several people close to the bride-to-be or mom-to-be that would love to be involved. Let them! By delegating that someone handle the cake, or by requesting they bring a few dishes, it will lighten your load and allow others to feel they have contributed. These people can arrive early the day of and offer an extra set of hands if needed. Just be sure to involve them early in the process. It will also be nice for the guest of honor to see how much everyone wanted to help.
And these are just a few tips to help the food preperation go faster. It's your choice whether to make it all yourself, or get some of the items from a store, restaurant or rely on cohosting. Catering is also an option too, but requires a little more research and can sometimes have a larger price tag. (Not always though!)
And remember all of our bridal shower and baby shower kits come with a free menu plan with recipes. Our kits help you save time when decorating so you can focus on your favorite parts for the party planning process. We've also compiled some yummy looking recipes from around the web on our recipes page
For the other areas of hosting a shower, if you need ideas about what types of prizes to give away at a shower, check out our post on: shower prizes.
For shower games, check back regularly! We've recently created this printable baby shower game in hopes of making your party planning process easier!
For more party planning tips and to be the first to know about our promos, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter! (For party inspiration, you can follow us on Pinterest too!)
We are so excited to have a guest blogger today! Our friend Kristen Wandell Frederick writes about wedding planning tips, and we hope to feature her in a series of posts on how to plan and organize for your wedding. Today she is sharing ideas on how to make a memorable welcome bag for your out-of-town wedding guests. (As a recipient of one of these bags, I can attest to just how thoughtful and awesome these touches were.)
When planning for a wedding, there are many things that people will tell you are a necessity.
(“How can we have a wedding without a mashed potato martini bar? What WILL people
In a word, these people are wrong. Your wedding should be a reflection of you and your future
spouse, meaning your preferences and tastes are the ones that ultimately matter. If you want to
have a mashed potato bar, have a mashed potato bar because you think it’s something you’d like
to provide to your guests, not because someone told you it’s a “must-have.”
In that same vein, providing welcome bags for the guests who check into your chosen hotel are
not a necessity. On the range of priorities, this one falls under the “nice-to-haves” list. A lot of
things are going to be competing for your attention in the weeks leading up to your wedding. It’s
a good idea to think ahead of time about what you want to focus on during those crunch-time
For me and my now-husband, it was important to us that our guests feel welcomed and
appreciated. Most were traveling the kind of distances that necessitated a plane ticket and
we wanted to thank them immediately upon arrival at the hotel for making the trip to help us
celebrate our wedding in Washington, DC.
That’s where the welcome bags came into play. The following are my tips for creating a fun and
functional welcome bag for your guests…but remember—there’s not a wrong way to do this
(despite what others may say)!
Tip #1: Keep it Simple…
Remember, you will be assembling these bags a couple of weeks before your wedding. Don’t put
undue pressure on yourself! By keeping the “ingredients” simple, you can accomplish your goal
of welcoming everyone AND not tearing your hair out in frustration.
Start by creating a list of items you’d like to include (you don’t have to specify brand names).
2 salty snacks
2 sweet treats
1 gum or mint pack
2 bottles of water
1 map of area
Now when you hit up the store, you know exactly where to focus your energies.
A few other things to keep in mind: try to include items that can be taken back on a plane and
make sure nothing will spoil if it has to sit there for longer than a week. I once went to a wedding
where the welcome bags included cans of the popular local soup. While this was very exciting,
I realized I couldn’t take it back on the plane in my carry-on—sadly I had to leave that amazing
soup with one of my local friends to prevent it from getting confiscated by the TSA. (If most of
your guests are driving, this will not be a problem, so know your “audience”!)
I have another friend who recently got married and decided to bake hundreds of cookies for the
welcome bags with her mom the day before the wedding. I was literally sweating just thinking
about that kind of pressure! But for my friend, it was the perfect way to relax before her big
day. I guess I could have made cookies and stuck them in the freezer ahead of time, but for me,
homemade cookies weren’t a priority.
Make it easy on yourself—know your capabilities and time constraints before you decide what
goes in the welcome bags.
Tip #2: …But Personalize!
Personalizing your bags can be as simple as adding a note thanking your guests for making the
trip to your wedding. It doesn’t have to be long, just heartfelt.
For my wedding, many of our guests were traveling to Washington, DC for the first time—or
the first time as an adult. Since the hotel was only two blocks away from the U.S. Capitol, it was
important that we add information about how to take a tour of the Capitol.
Additionally, with so many guests from out of town, I wanted to cut down on the number of
calls and texts we would receive from guests wanting to know where they could find a good place
to eat. So I created a Google Map that showed our 20 favorite places to get a bite to eat within
walking distance of the hotel, and then broke it down into three lists: Fast-Casual Fare, Sit-
Down Dining and Local Watering Holes. With each option, I included the restaurant’s address,
hours of operation, and a one-sentence description. At the end, my future husband and I added
our favorite dishes to give our guests an idea of what kind of food the place served. This went
over like gangbusters! I later heard how some of our guests even went into the restaurants and
ordered the Kristen or Bobby special (to the utter confusion of the wait-staff!). This was a way
for us to connect with our guests without being physically there with them.
Other ways you can personalize include decorating the bag itself. We had a wedding logo (yes,
that’s a “thing”) that I had made into stamps and I personally stamped the front and back of all
85 welcome bags. The downside to my method: the stamps were expensive ($15-20 each), left
me with ink-stained hands and took time to dry.
Can I suggest something much simpler and less expensive? Download these free and gorgeous
Party Chic Printables, cut them out and use double-sided tape to stick them to the front of the
bag. It’ll be a nice (and classy) touch!
Tip #3: Incorporate your Wedding Colors
Adding your colors can be simply achieved by using a ribbon—in one of your wedding colors—
to tie the welcome bag handles together. And if you punch a hole in the top of your thank you
note, you can thread the note through the ribbon and thereby attach it to your bag! (Savings Tip:
A great resource is to download the Michaels store app to your smartphone, which allows you to
open and use coupons directly from your phone. I used many of these coupons when buying the
ribbon and welcome bags!)
If you can print the thank you notes on colored paper or the text in color, certainly do so in your
specific wedding colors (or add colored artwork or your logo at the top).
Again, it doesn’t have to be elaborate, but a pop of color that connects to your wedding is always
a nice touch.
Tip #4: Buy in Bulk
First, figure out approximately how many bags you will need (one per hotel room is the standard
number, plus a few extra in case there are any last-minute reservations). Second, crunch the
numbers and determine the ballpark figure of how many of each item you’ll need from your list
of welcome bag “ingredients.”
With 130-ish guests staying at the hotel, my future husband and I knew we had to budget and
plan for the welcome bags. Thankfully my maid of honor had a Costco membership and is one
of the most organized people I know! She was also really good at forcing me to make quick
decisions. You have limited time, so don’t blow it agonizing over including Milky Way or
Find the best value for your money, choose a brand you think most people will enjoy, and move
on. No one is going to judge you on your selection—and if they do, it doesn’t matter because
you’ll be too busy walking down the aisle on your way to marrying the love of your life to care!
And make sure to bring a friend (or two) to help you carry everything and load the car. Palettes
of bottled water are really heavy!
Tip #5: Think Through the Logistics
Questions to ponder before beginning:
--When and where will I purchase the welcome bag “ingredients”?
--Where will I assemble the bags?
--How will I transport them to the hotel?
--Does the hotel charge a fee to hand the bags out to guests?
--Will the hotel allow them to be handed out to guests when they check in, or do they require
them to be delivered by a bellman?
Asking and answering these logistical questions before starting the welcome bag process will
help you figure out the best way to organize and execute this endeavor.
As I found out, creating amazing welcome bags can require a lot more planning and sweat equity
than you might think. The more you know up front, the better (and less stressed!) you’ll be.
Kristen is a recent bride living in Washington, DC with her new husband Bobby.
For more free printables and to be the first to know about PartyChic promotions, be sure to like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter or Pinterest! And, to make life easier for the person throwing you a bridal shower, check out our bridal shower kits.
Here at the PartyChic blog, we like to talk a little about every aspect of parties, showers and entertaining and hopefully be your "party muse." Last week we wrote about a few good ideas for shower prizes and this week we are excited to announce that we are now rolling out printable baby shower games! We hope this is just one more way to make the party planning process easier. We'll also be creating printable bridal shower games in the near future, so stay tuned!
We'll be sure to post more as we create them and let you know on our Facebook and Twitter accounts. From time to time, we'll be releasing free printables too, from gift tags to invites to games, so be sure to like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to stay in the loop! (For party inspiration, you can follow us on Pinterest too!)
You really don't have to go over-the-top on baby or bridal shower prizes. If you are playing games, remember, they are meant as an icebreaker and to get people comfortable around one another. The prize is really an added bonus. Here are some ideas for crowd-pleasing gifts. Try to gauge what your guests will like in addition to what's in your budget and go from there!
1. Gift cards
Who doesn't love a free meal or special item? A gift card to Target, Panera, or (if guests are all local) even a mani/pedi will be the hit of the party. If you are on a budget, a few $5 gift cards to Starbucks will help spread out the winning.
I attended a shower once where a prize was a beautiful silk scarf and all the ladies "oohed" and "ahhed" over it. With a scarf being so versatile, is it any wonder? They can be worn traditionally around the neck, used as a stylish head cover, tied to a purse for some flair, or even used as a belt.
Finding a candle in a welcoming scent adds warmth to any home. But some people just don't feel comfortable burning candles, so finding one with a welcoming scent and in a beautiful container is a home run. Even if the person doesn't care for candles, adding a lovely accent to their home will surely be a win.
Although a more personal option since some have particular scents, lotion is always handy. You could do a variety pack of travel sizes so if one of the scents is not the person's taste, they can have multiple options, or use it up quickly.
5. Artisan products
Unique, hand crafted items like coasters, picture frames, a small pottery vase, or jewelry from a local artist or charity are sure to engage conversation. And, the recipient will be happy to have something that is unique and supports a local business or a good cause. If you don't have access to those types of products, or are looking for something specific, try Etsy.com
We know there is a lot to think about when planning a shower, visit our site for bridal shower, baby shower and party kits to help you get started!
For party tips, recipes, inspiration and to be the first to find out about great freebies and promos on our products, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
It seems like two of the most popular times to get engaged are during the holidays, or even just recently on Valentine's Day (in fact, the stretch of time between the two is when both Shannon and I got engaged to our spouses--ah memories). So, to get you inspired for those fun bridal showers and bachelorette parties you may be attending soon, we've come up with a little party inspiration and a pomegranate martini!
Cupcake toppers are so fun for parties--they add a special touch (and are included in our party kits).
We also have printable bachelorette and bridal shower invitations, sold individually or with our kits.
All of our kits come with food tent cards (as seen above) or for smaller gatherings, they can be used as place cards too.
This drink was inspired by a weekend trip to Lexington to visit my longtime friends. We had an old-fashioned girls' night where we watched girly movies (Pitch Perfect), and my friend Janet made us a delicious pomegranate martini. This is my attempt at recreating it. It was a super fun night, and I can't wait for another. In the meantime, enjoy responsibly!
2 1/2 oz Pomegranate juice, chilled (we used Pom)
1 oz vodka
1/2 oz orange curaco
1/2 oz grenadine
4 ice cubes
Combine all ingredients into a cocktail shaker and shake for a few seconds. Pour into a martini glass, garnish with lemon, orange or lime, if desired. Serve.