It’s the most wonderful time of the year filled with lots of love, laughter, and family and friends coming together.
With holiday get-togethers in full swing, finding the right hostess gift can be an added last-minute stress. Fortunately, you don’t have to show up empty handed or spend big money to show your gratitude. Gifts under $25 work best, say many etiquette experts.
In fact, there are tricks to make seasonal gifting easier too. For instance buy a few of the same item, and wrap them up, so you’ll be party-ready all season long.
Here are a few ideas to navigate the season with ease.
- One word: Food
There’s a reason so many partygoers show up with a bottle of wine or a box of chocolate. Unlike other gift options that tend to clutter the house, food and drinkare enjoyed – and then gone. Candies, cookies and other treats such as confectionaries all work well too.
Indulge your sweet tooth and help break the cycle of poverty for small-scale cocoa farmers. This decadent bar from Divine combines 70% dark chocolate with the fruity tartness of real raspberries.
Curl up with Camino and bring back the tastes of childhood. Made with Fair Trade, organic cocoa from the Dominican Republic, and organic sugar from Paraguay, this luxury beverage is both GMO-free and certified Kosher.
A unique blend of decaffeinated black teas combined with organic, wild blueberries.
Along with a set of:
Keep water rings at bay with this set of six neutral yet sparkling coasters created by makers in Moradabad, India. The glass chips are recycled glass taken from old bottles and other glass items. They are cleaned and coloured before use. The set comes in a box for easy storage.
- Flowers and plants
A holiday themed floral arrangement or even a Christmas cactus or poinsettia are sure winners too. But to be a really good guest, don’t expect the host to rush around finding a vase in the middle of the party. Arrive with the flowers ready to go in a simple, neutral vase or planter.
Imagine a single bloom in this modern vessel. Genuine stone has a coolness and weight that cannot be mimicked. And because this bud vase is made from real marble, each has a distinct colour and pattern of nature’s choosing. Handcrafted by stone workers with Dominion Traders, which works with underprivileged artisans who make stone and shesham wood crafts in the city of Karachi.
Springtime bouquets get a contemporary lift from this textured vase created by ceramic makers in Nepal’s high mountainous areas. Artisan partner Nepali Craft Trading offers an education allowance for young girls and works with about 90 per cent women, training them so many can earn a living from home or in small local workshops.
A smaller glazed striped planter with matching saucer. Viet Lam Company (Vilaco) is a private exporter that markets ceramics and lacquer-ware along with bamboo, palm leaf and rattan baskets. The company contracts orders from several factories and cooperatives in and around Ho Chi Minh City, providing piece rate work, materials for production and payment for labour costs. In some cases, maker families have been working together for generations, tracing the history of their workshop back more than 800 years. Bring indoors during winter months.
Flower and herbs take root in this whitewashed terracotta planter showcasing a geometric design. Makers form models, and then press clay into them before setting the clay outside to dry in the sun. Historically in Bangladesh, rains were mostly restricted to monsoon season, but terracotta makers have noticed rains are becoming much less predictable. Wet weather can ruin pieces, so they are worried climate change will cause a shortened work season. Please bring inside for winter.
- Small and sweet
No one wants to arrive at a party only to find themselves navigating a busy front hallway while clutching an oversized gift. Small and easy to carry? Absolutely. That works. Think guest soaps, lotions, scented candles or tree ornaments along with a nice card instead.
Three sequined stars in a rainbow of colours. Each sequin is sewn on by hand by Noah’s Ark’s makers, who receive raw materials and are then paid a piece rate for each finished product.
Enjoy the sweet and spicy pleasure of our cinnamon-scented soap, handmade by makers of Palam Rural Centre in Tamil Nadu, India. Palam employs members of the Harijan (“untouchables”) caste, and provides healthcare and schooling for makers’ families. All our soaps made in India use palm oil grown on local plantations. This palm oil provides work to local farmers and does not contribute to deforestation.
Celebrate the magic of the season with this simple beaded bracelet showcasing a metal star charm. Rather than commuting long distances to work in factories, cleaning houses or taking jobs as low-paid sales clerks, Sapia’s makers in Colombia often work from home and, most importantly, have stable and steady income.
- Next day gifts
After hours of cleaning, cooking and preparing for guests, hosts often don’t think about what they’ll eat the next morning after the last revelers have gone home. Leave a thoughtful basket behind full of fair trade coffee, jam, croissants and orange juice, and you’ll always be welcome again.
Woven grass baskets keep odds and ends tidy – especially when handles make them easy to hoist and hide. With ocean-hued, earth-friendly recycled plastic accents, this basket was created by women working with Dhaka Handicrafts, ensuring that makers in rural villages have fair wages, safe working conditions and use environmentally friendly processes.
In Uganda, colourful baskets are traditionally given as gifts for holidays and special events. Fill this snowflake basket with clementines or pomegranates for a decorative centrepiece, or keep it by the door as a cheerfully coloured catch-all. Uganda Crafts employs approximately 300 artisans in five workshops or cooperatives, 85 percent of them women.
Baskets are so useful over the holidays, just the thing to keep clutter at bay – or to be filled with gifts to eliminate the need for wrapping paper. In Bangladesh, where this one is make by hand, jute is called the “golden fibre.” And no wonder. Being an annual crop, reed-like jute, which grows three metres high, can be planted and harvested each year, rather than deforesting entire areas. The fibre is also 100% biodegradable and recyclable.
Made with premium Arabica beans grown by small-scale farmers high in the Andes, this Colombian Medium Roast coffee offers sweet yet bold flavours with a balanced, clean aftertaste.
Sweet and delicious, these mangos are tree-ripened in the central mountains of Colombia to bring out their full flavour and natural sweetness.
Give them a sweet morning pick-me-up with these dried pineapples. From the fertile valley of Santander, Colombia, the pineapples are picked when ripe to bring out their full flavour and natural sweetness.