The Hostess Gift: Beyond the Bottle - NBC Southern California

The Hostess Gift: Beyond the Bottle

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The Hostess Gift: Beyond the Bottle
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    Have you got your "walk in the door, hi how are ya" hostess gift yet? We've got ideas.

    Many of us will be walking through doors to greet friends and family in the coming days. What will we be carrying? The hostess gift -- or, the host gift, if you prefer -- is a lovely tradition we fully support. Really, the person is going to be feeding/entertaining us for a few hours/days; the least we can do is have a little something for them at the get-go. Smooths relations considerably.

    And while a scrumptious cabernet or be-ribboned tower of nuts will win raves as you step inside, we've got a few more notions of what to have in hand when you're ringing that doorbell:

    LOCAL TREATS: Out-of-towners demand the breakable, can't-stop-eating-able toffee from Littlejohn's Candies at Farmers Market when we see them. Same with See's Candies, which was started right here in the Golden State. And anything pickle-y/olive-y from E. Waldo Ward in Sierra Madre, or an adult beverage from San Antonio Winery. Southern California boasts so many locally made treasures; the challenge is to choose which ones to go with every year.

    DINNER OUT: Check with the people you're staying with first on this one, as they may have meals planned far in advance. But everyone, even the Scrooge-iest among us, likes to be treated to an evening or lunch out. It doesn't have to be expensive. It doesn't have to be white-linen fancy. It just has to be on you, the guest, and it has to come with merry wishes and thanks. That's all.

    YOUR BED-MAKING PROWESS: The half-hearted "oh, let us help you with the dishes" line? No one buys that. Instead, make a promise up front to your host -- or, better yet, put it in writing in a seasonal card -- how you specifically intend to help ease the holiday stress in the household. So, if you're adore pooches, offer your dog-walking skills. You make a mean bed, complete with tight corners, then that's your thing for the visit. Can you brew a barista-worthy pot of coffee? No task is too small. Again, from the heart. And be sure to follow through on every promise; you'll get another invitation before you know it.