With end-of-summer soirées and holiday parties looming around the corner, it’s a nice idea, and good manners to start building a collection of unique and personal hostess gifts to bring to your next event. And what better way to share your travel adventures than by bringing a memorable souvenir to charm and delight your gracious hostess? While traveling, don’t be afraid to ask shop clerks about the locale’s main exports or to show you which of their wares were crafted nearby.
Polite hostess gift etiquette requires you to show up with a gift that has been carefully thought out and planned in advance. Travel is the perfect time to keep an eye out for the following unique hostess gifts:
The best way to get a grasp on local flavors is to taste the fare and note ingredients commonly listed on restaurant menus. Keep in mind that produce and meats are tightly regulated by the FDA and TSA so it’s best to shop for by-products and dry goods such as oils, spices, coffees, teas and sweets. Olive oil from Italy, Kona coffee from Hawaii, Moroccan spices, and Turkish delight have long shelf lives and are sure to please a foodie friend.
Capture distinct aromas from your travels by seeking out quality candles, perfumes, lotions, and soaps that capitalize on local ingredients. Whether it’s lavender from the South of France or coconut oil from the Philippines, a quick internet search can tell you which of the region’s essential oils and fragrances are most prized. Check to see if it is one of the first items named on the ingredients list to ensure that it is a main component of the final product. A long-lasting perfume, for example, will consist of at least 40% aromatics, whereas an eau de toilette consists of only 5-15%, with the majority a mix of water, ethanol, and other chemicals.
Observe what the locals are wearing, or simply peruse shops in less-touristy areas for items that appeal to the neighboring clientele. One-size-fits-all accessories like scarves, leather goods, and jewelry are sure to find their way into your favorite fashionista’s regular rotation.
Every culture has its distinct colors and patterns, and when it comes to souvenirs, they’re captured in nearly every size, form and style. If you’re pressed for luggage space, prints make practical gifts that won’t take up much room in your bag. Museums often stock high quality prints of works by local artists and photographers. Or peruse boutiques for eye-catching and one-of-a-kind stationery, envelopes, and notepads which your hostess will use with pride.
Whichever of these ideas you decide to add to your arsenal of hostess gifts, the thoughtfulness that comes from each noteworthy piece is sure to communicate your gratefulness for the invitation.