If the recent snap of cold weather hasn’t reminded us enough…winter is fast approaching. But before we tuck into the Netflix-binge-watch of Winter ‘15, we will say goodbye to 2014 via 'The Holiday Season'. It’s the most wonderful, and hectic, time of year so here are some tips from team member Kimberly Alke – purveyor of Spruce on Parliament – for reducing stress on an often-overlooked-until-it’s-too-late item: The Host Gift.
Step One: Budget to be Thoughtful
Read: Don’t break the bank.
Thoughtful gift-giving isn’t quantified by the number of the receipt. We think keeping it modest is always a good thing, so spend under $20.
Step Two: Stock Up
As you plan your soiree schedule over the next 4-6 weeks, count the names on your 'dance card' – add 10% – and shop once.
Keep a list of your hosts' fetes handy with you to help you personalize your purchases. And don’t forget to include a small cards which you can purchase in packs to make it easier and more economical.
Step Three: Think Local
Buying local shows you’ve put that extra thought into your gift.
These days, even grocers are getting into the artisanal game so take a minute to strategize where you can find quality, local items that fit your budget in your neighbourhood.
Step Four: It’s All About Presentation
Have you noticed how great even bottles of olive oil look these days? Take care to choose items that have great packaging or something you know can be “fabbed-up” with a lovely ribbon or wrap job.
On that note, keep a small arsenal of wrapping supplies close at hand: scissors, tape, paper (we like simple kraft), a few small baskets, a spool of nice ribbon, and gift tags or cards.
Now that you’re on the way to a stress-free host gifting season, here are 10 items that you’ll be glad to have on hand the night of the party:
1. A cheese board with a few artisanal cheeses – both can be found locally made!
2. A good looking tool – kitchen tools can be sexy. Try a handmade bottle opener or rolling pin tied with a nice ribbon.
3. Locally made sauces or preserves – there is a lovely abundance of these available, the hardest part will be choosing which are your faves.
4. High-end sea salt – iodized table salt is a thing of the past and Canadian-harvested salt is a thing!
5. Fancy olive oil – packaging heaven.
6. Scented candles – there are a great range of prices in this category to fit any budget.
7. Cute kitchen towels – locally produced options abound, tied with a lovely bow and you’re done.
8. Cookbook – easy to tailor to your host’s tastes.
9. Cocktail supplies – fancy bitters, a good muddler and a profession jigger to arm hour host with the best tools.
10. Craft beer or wine – always a good favourite and some exciting local choices are available.
Need some inspiration? Check out Kimberly's shop in Cabbagetown called Spruce, on Parliament Street!
~the urbaneer team
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