This weekend is Memorial Day weekend in the United States and that marks for Americans the unofficial start of summer. In New York City that means a mass exodus on Friday to either the Hamptons or Upstate to escape the chaos of the city. Many of us that do not own weekend homes end up being the guests of those who do and that is when we offer up to our host or hostess a Hostess Gift.
In this day and age it is sorry to find out that many people do not even know what a hostess gift is much less give one when they are entertained in someone’s home. For those who do not know simply put a hostess gift is a gift for your host or hostess to thank them for their hospitality. It can range from flowers, specialty food items to small items for the home (I don’t include wine because I feel that wine is going to be consumed that evening by either themselves or other guests).
Giving hostess gifts has become a lost art, especially in city environments. Most people in cities complain that their abode is too small to entertain properly and therefore chose to meet friends at restaurants or bars instead. The Local Artisan Guide would like to help bring back this forgotten show of manners and help inspire you to not only think of out-of-the-box items for hostess gifts but to give you an incentive to host a soiree at your home to be on the receiving end of a hostess gift (no matter what size your home is, it’s inconvenient location or your sticky roommate situation).
The Local Artisan Guide has come up with a few selections of unique, creative hostess gifts in all price ranges from stores around NYC (many items can be ordered online too) that should inspire you anywhere you live to make a thoughtful impression on your host/hostess and reward them for courageously entertaining in this day and age.
Pearl River, 395 Broadway, Tribeca, NYC
Pearl River Mart is a treasure chest of items mostly from China that range from home decor to hard to find Chinese spices. What most shoppers appreciate about Pearl River is how affordable most of the items are. It is not unusual to find a well known decorator browsing through the aisles of Pearl River for party or decor inspiration. A thoughtful hostess gift suggestion from Pearl River Mart is a Daruma Doll. A Daruma Doll is a doll that helps the receiver of the gift set an intention for a wish fulfillment. The different colors represent different wishes i.e. success, love, health, etc. The Daruma Doll has two blank eyes, when you received a Daruma Doll you make your wish, fill out one eye, set the doll in a place you see daily and when your wish is fulfilled, you fill out the other eye. Think of yourself as the genie from Aladdin helping your host achieve their wishes!
CW Pencil Enterprise, 100a Forsyth Street, Lower East Side, NYC
CW Pencil Enterprise is a store dedicated to the art and beauty of pencils. It is a mecca for affordable gift giving, including truly original hostess gifts. The shop is petite but filled with exquisite pencils from around the world and the accessories that go with them ranging from stationary, to notebooks to well designed erasers. A gift that is a stand out for a hostess gift is a Plantable Pencil. Sprout pencils are capped with a bio-degradable capsule containing non-gmo seeds. The pencil itself is a high-quality, cedar-cased #2 but once you've worked it down to a stub you can stick it in the pot of soil (just covering the green capsule on the end). Be sure to water regularly and keep in a sunny place and your plant is sure to germinate. Once the seeds are securely in the soil you can use the remainder of the pencil as a plant marker (so sustainable!!). This 3-pack contains flowers for a very yellow garden. Includes one of each: Marigold, Sunflower, Calendula. Perfect for the host that has a green thumb and access to sunlight.
Coming Soon, 37 Orchard St. Lower East Side, NYC
Not only is Coming Soon a great place for contemporary furniture and gifts, they already took the time to curate a section of hostess gifts for you making it much easier to just come in and select right away. The contents in this shop are a little bit more pricier but worth it as it will be guaranteed your host/hostess will treasure the selections from Coming Soon. A fun item that stands out is their Domino Set with Spinners. These luxe dominoes are not only stunning enough to find a place on the coffee table for show but they add an activity that guests can participate in on game night. The design elements in this set makes these dominoes meant to be displayed and played. They come with jumbo tournament size two-tone dominoes with spinners in a variety of colors. A little pricey at $180 but that’s a small price to pay for doing game night in style.
Kaas Glassworks, 117 Perry Street, West Village, NYC
Kaas Glassworks is a one of those rare New York stores that you either find by meandering down a street or a friend is kind enough to let you know of its existence. They specialize in the traditional art of decoupage that features images of antique and historical prints. This includes a collection of trays, plates, coasters and paperweights which are both decorative and functional, each piece may be used on a table or dresser, or displayed on the wall with the use of a simple plate hanger. The range of images makes selecting a gift a little time consuming as there is so much to chose from. We highlighted here a tray with an image of vintage hygienic underwear for its unique factor. This particular tray is $142 but for a hostess gift that is functional and a work of art, that is a bargain.
Hopefully these items have inspired you to not only shop for that Hamptons weekend or dinner party coming up but perhaps to buy in stock for future hostess gifts to come. These gifts are guaranteed to have you invited back time and time again. Let’s reward those brave, generous souls who go out of their way to make us memories by wining, dining and entertaining us.
By Natalie Rivera