If you’re thanking your lucky stars that you’ve somehow managed to avoid hosting your family and friends this Thanksgiving, perhaps you’re keen to show your appreciation to the person who elected to take on the hosting duties. And you can reward your host or hostess with a gift that will make the holiday special or contribute to the proceedings in some way. Here are a few options that are sure to pass muster.
- Side dish. Nothing is going to be more appealing to the person getting up at 5am to stuff the bird than less work, so bringing a side dish or dessert will make for one less thing on the beleaguered host or hostess’s to-do list. Just coordinate with the cook and other attendees ahead of time so that everyone brings a different dish and all the bases are covered.
- Wine. Unless your host home happens to be dry, this is a nice way to reduce the cost of this holiday shindig while also enhancing the meal. For turkey you’ll probably want to bring a white. One good option is Riesling, especially if it’s not too sweet. Chateau St. Michelle makes a good one that’s not very expensive and it can be found at most grocery stores. Pinot Grigio is also entirely suitable, and the citrusy notes in Marco Felluga will have you tasting your turkey in an entirely different way (for under twenty bucks). You could also opt for a sparkling wine (i.e. champagne). Or if you want something more traditional, consider a Decoy Chardonnay. It tends to be less buttery than some other labels.
- Wreath. Forget the cut flowers, which are likely to get lost in the shuffle of preparation and fail to find their way to a vase. Instead, get a gift that your host or hostess can reuse in the years to come. A pretty wreath that features fall colors and motifs can go on the door, the mantle, or even double as a centerpiece (with some Indian corn and colorful gourds piled in the middle).
- Seasonal linens. A person who hosts frequently can find plenty of uses for matching linen sets that include a tablecloth, place mats, cloth napkins, napkin rings, and so on. Or if you just want to include a few of these items in seasonal colors or patterns your host is sure to appreciate them all the same. The nice thing is that you can easily personalize such gifts with a monogram if you’re handy with the sewing machine.
- Cleaning services. The last thing your host or hostess wants to do after cooking all day and gobbling up some turkey is return to the kitchen and a waiting mountain of dishes. Rather than punishing the person that cooks by expecting him or her to pick up the cleaning tasks, as well, make sure you’ll get free food again next year by gathering up other eaters to get the kitchen and dining room spic-and-span before you all waddle to the living room for a nap. While you could certainly bring gag gifts like an inflatable turkey (set it on the table and see how many people mistake it for the real thing!), chances are that your host or hostess will be a lot more appreciative of a gift that allows for some well-deserved relaxation after dinner.