Gift Guide for Host Hostess

Ideas & Tips by Experts

Gift Guides

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As soon as the weather turns warm, certain summer traditions start to roll in. That includes summer barbecues, time spent outdoors, and hosting friends and family for the big July 4th holiday. If there are three colors that match that summer spirit, it would definitely be red, white, and blue. Here are star-spangled gift finds just perfect for ringing in some summer fun.



Expert Tips

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How to Be Prepared All Year for Any Party
Parties can sneak up on you, despite all efforts to set up reminders, log dates into planners, and text alerts. Sometimes the calendar feels beyond booked with parties. There's the back-to-school rush of birthday parties. Then the holiday party season kicks off with mid-week cocktail soires and weekend open house parties. Let's not forget summer barbecues, dinner parties, and neighborly housewarming parties, as well. So, it's easy to find yourself caught at the last-minute without a party gift. Ah! Here's your no-fail guide to never showing up empty-handed to a party (again).

1
Remind Yourself

Set a couple reminders for yourself by using your calendar and phone alerts. Some online invitation sites, like Paperless Post, will text you reminders before the party (you set up your time frame for alerts). Make sure to set a reminder to pick up any gift you want to bring to the party.


2
Gift Closet

You’ve probably heard of this magical place called the “gift closet”, where great gifts go until you need one for a party. The gift closet concept is actually quite practical, despite its lavish impression. Of course, most of us don’t have an extra closet to spare for gifts, so storage could be something as simple as a spare drawer or a box. Much like buying ahead paper towels and storing away (because you know you’ll always need some), buying gifts ahead (that could work for anyone) saves you time, and often money, when you’re not rushed to pick something up.


3
Buy Extra

Birthday parties for the younger crew seem to come in rapid succession — suddenly half of your Saturdays are going to celebrate classmates’ birthdays. Save yourself the time and trouble of shopping for each friend individually. Decide with your kiddo on an awesome gift (that could work for boys or girls). Then buy extras to have ready for birthday season.


4
Know Your Locals

When you’ve forgotten about a party date on your calendar —  or you’ve had one of those weeks where you can’t fit in time to shop — online shopping for a party gift goes out the window. That’s when you want to know which local shops to hit up — the best florist for housewarming flowers and the best children’s shop for a quickie birthday gift.


5
Give or Use

If you see something you love — but don’t really need —  and it’s a good deal, and you know there are a few birthdays on the horizon, pick it up as an extra gift to have on hand. You know it will get used and loved somehow — either as a gift to give or a gift for yourself if you later opt to keep it.


6
Freezer Stash

Many parties are also potlucks, where you’re expected to bring some food along. Plan ahead (especially during the holidays) and use your freezer. You can stock your freezer with a few pies or other go-to dish that’s as simple as grab-and-thaw when it’s party time.


7
Not a Potluck

Speaking of potlucks, many dinner parties are not potlucks. When you’re invited to an intimate dinner party at a friend’s place, she’s planned out an entire menu and thought out the details down to the color of the napkins. Don’t bring food and assume your fave meatballs will work into the mix. When in doubt, always ask your host if she’d like you to contribute to the menu. If she says no, respect that and bring something else — like pretty flowers for the table.


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