Sometime over the summer (hopefully this weekend over July 4th!), I hope you’ll get some invites to a friend’s beach house or a family member’s lake cabin. You may be unemployed, but you still need a vacation. In fact, you probably need a getaway more than anyone! But you can’t go empty-handed. Good manners still apply to the jobless, and I have five inexpensive host/hostess gift ideas that will be memorable and easy on the pocketbook:
- Embroidered tea towel – always fun and decorative. Found at most gift and home stores, many sell for around $20. Find out your host’s favorite color or room hue to make it more personal
- Personalized cocktail napkins or coasters – Useful and thoughtful. Can be demurely designed, monogrammed or sporting witticisms. Depends on how well you know your guest! Gift stores like Swoozies have great selections
- Exquisite truffles or other treats – You can purchase a small, but luxurious box of truffles that will make any host swoon. Yes, Godiva, Vosges and other high-end chocolatiers have selections for about $20. Whole Foods also has great sweet treats
- Monogrammed soaps, carving boards or party cups – No advance preparation required! Go for a single monogram — many gift stores have entire alphabets available. Very simple, but tasteful.
- An armful of simple blooms like tulips or a bottle of wine – Many experts advise against both: Blooms require your host to find a vase; your gift of wine may make the host think they have to serve it. However, both options are easily accessible, affordable and will look SO much better than empty hands
Simple rule to remember: You’ve got a free place to stay and are often mooching free food and drink, so you can spend a few bucks to thank the person who’s providing you an oasis.
Another simple rule to live by: Buy the best you can afford. Even if it’s small and costs 10-20 bucks, if it’s exquisite, your host will be blown away by your refined taste, attention to detail and thoughtfulness.