Good Tidings We Bring

If you haven’t already been invited, no doubt your social calendar is about to explode with holiday invites – from open houses and kitchen parties to office potlucks and family gatherings. Heed my warning and stock up on hostess gifts now so you can easily grab one and go. Now you might be wondering – what are the rules for hostess gifts again? Let me give you a quick recap of my golden rules:

– When in doubt, bring a bottle of wine. When wanting to be awesome, bring an actual hostess gift that calls to mind your gracious host’s personal interests.
– With that rule in mind, you’ll typically want to spend about as much on a hostess gift as you would on a good bottle of wine – between $10 and $30 dollars. that’s not a hard and fast budget – the occasion may call for more or less to be spent – but it’s a good guideline at least.
– Fresh cut flowers are no good. Anything that takes the host away from his / her duties (i.e. trimming stems) is a cumbersome gift choice. The one exception? Already-planted holiday poinsettias – even if someone already has one, they’re a festive addition to anyone’s decor.
– On that note, seasonal gifts are okay…in moderation. Not sure that someone’s going to dig your quirky snowman ornament? Skip it and go for something a little more generic but still festive – like a peppermint-scented bar of soap or a jar of gourmand hot chocolate.
– Just as wine is meant to be enjoyed at the occasion you’re attending, consider hostess gifts that will work well with either the actual or future events.
– Hostess gifts also work mighty fine as houseguest gifts. Whether you’re staying at a friend’s chalet for a weekend ski trip or crashing with your in-laws over the holidays, these are all apt choices. The longer the stay, the higher the value your gift should be.

Alrighty! Now without further ado, here are my favourite finds for holiday hostess gifts this year!

Ninutik Squeeze 250 – $21
A lovely choice in advance of a yummy Christmas morning brunch. Ninutik is a pretty fascinating Canadian company that actually marries a signature Canadian product – maple syrup – with a serious dedication to art and design in all of their yummy, sugary products. The one featured here is a refillable squeeze bottle that makes it easy for the budding chef (or star hostess) to gently drizzle the brand’s signature syrup like an artful culinary connoisseur on whatever dish they’re serving up…or they can go all out and drench their pancakes and desserts. This fun gift set isn’t simply a bottle and syrup though – you’ll also get a 100g bag of pure maple sugar, perfect as a natural sweetener for your favourite winter warm-up beverage.

Go Plates – $19.37 for 10 @ Kegworks
If you’ve done the awkward dance of a drink in one hand and appies in the other all while trying to socialize and not spill sauce or soda on your holiday finery, then you’ll greatly appreciate these reusable snack plates. Simply fit them around your cup, can, bottle, or glass and load them up with goodies from the holiday buffet (or Superbowl party or birthday bash) so you can easily saunter around the party with food firmly in hand. When you want to take a drink, just set the plate down for a moment and have a sip. A great choice for a big holiday open house or reception.

The Dead Celebrity Cookbook Presents: Christmas in Tinseltown by Frank De Caro – $13.65 @ Indigo (online)
Author De Caro’s first Dead Celebrity Cookbook was a fun celebration of a more decadent time of sitting around the dinner table at 6 PM on the nose. The recipes in this book, as in the first volume, are an homage to classic culinary experiences coupled with real-life anecdotes and viewing guides for the deceased celebrities that (in their lives) contributed these recipes to the greater public. Of course this time around, there’s a definite holiday theme – each of the stars featured here has either been in a holiday film or has a fun story of holiday hijinks attributed to their public history, and of course, the recipes themselves are appropriate for serving up at your holiday feast. Combining old school Hollywood with party-tastic dining? An awesome gift for your retro-loving friends.

Birch Straws – $10 for 144 @ Le Tablier Blanc

Transform your holiday cocktails into a festive winter wonderland with these Canadian birch tree paper straws. Let me clarify something since paper straws are SO chi chi right now – your drink won’t disintegrate your straw when you have a sip. They’re coated in a non-toxic wax, which also makes them biodegradable and way more eco-friendly (and prettier) than your regular old plastic straws. Bring a set for the kid’s table, or to sip on some hot cider.

Flour Sack Towels – $30 for 3 @ House Industries
I really feel like you can never have enough tea towels, especially when they’re as cute as these flour sack ones from design collective House Industries. They come in three colour palettes – orange, grey and black – with three unique designs per colour using typography, symbols, and abstract patterns. It’s a funky hostess gift idea that will go over equally well with your daughter and your best friend. Stock up and split up the sets (or mix and match) or gift and entire collection as a sweet houseguest present to your mom.

Color Drip Candles – $7.95 @ Nasty Gal
A pair of tapered candles is always a welcome addition to the dinner table – particularly if you were the one to spring for a set of candlesticks as a wedding or housewarming gift in the past. These ones are particularly cool as they drip down in an array of colours for a psychedelic effect (an effect made complete with the retro box). Don’t want to wreck candleholders? Stuff ’em in a couple of wine bottles from the party.

Animal Napkin Rings Mahogany Fair TradeFair Trade Mahogany Animal Napkin Rings – $34.99 @ Future Shop
There are a few times I’m willing to make an exception when it comes to budgets – one of them is when a great gift idea is actually fair trade, meaning the Kenyan artisans that crafted it were paid a reasonable wage. Each set of these whimsical napkin rings features six safari animals, and is made from real mahogany wood carved from only the most rudimentary tools. Because they’re made by hand, no two are exactly alike, making this a one-of-a-kind pick for your very best hostess friend.

Holiday Crackers with Tea – $14.50 @ DAVIDsTEA
The ultimate hostess gift is to take care of a holiday tradition: snapping crackers before your meal. These six retro-themed crackers from DAVIDsTEA don’t contain a mere plastic toy from China however. Instead, you’ll unwrap a sample bag of gourmand looseleaf tea, plus the requisite paper crown and a tea-themed joke. Cute, practical, and a totally fresh spin on a holiday classic – love it!

Presidents Choice Holiday Desserts

President’s Choice Holiday Treats – $2.99 – $7.99 @ Loblaws
Here’s what happens to me every season when I walk into my local Superstore and discover there’s a new Insider’s Guide. I literally stop in the produce section, probably to the annoyance of everyone around me, take in every single page, and ultimately spend the rest of my shopping trip hunting down the top of my must-try list. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, when in doubt – bring wine as a hostess gift. The second option? Bring dessert. You can never have enough nibbles, especially as the evening wares on, and all three of these offerings are a fun change of pace from homemade holiday baking, and just sumptuous enough to have a bite or two and be satisfied. The Salted Toffee Cheesecake Lollipops are a fun finger food the hostess can break out with the cheese course and wine, while the Mini Chocolate Cupcakes – which only look like tiny cakes, but are actually premium Belgian chocolate – will bring out the inner kid in everyone. And the Banana Creme Dulce De Leche cookies? Absolutely melt-in-your-mouth divine, with a semi-tropical taste that’ll transport you from a winter wonderland with a single bite.

Saipua Soap

Saipua Winter Citrus & Balsam Fir Soaps – $13 each @ Room6
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, a Christmas-themed gift doesn’t have to be an ornament or Santa-shaped marshmallow. It can be as simple as a nod to the season in the form of a beautiful handmade soap, with fresh outdoorsy scents that call to mind Christmas trees and citrus cider. Incidentally there’s also a light and bright ‘Sea Salt’ scent – and even more notably, I also love these beauties as fun luxury stocking stuffer picks.

Mustache Markers

Moustache Markers – $6 @ Up To You Toronto
Be a hero and help everyone keep their drinks straight with these quirky moustache drink markers. Pick your silicon ‘stache of choice, adhere it to your glass or bottle, and ensure everyone’s paws are own their own beverages only. Bonus points for the fact you’ve got some virtual facial hair whenever you take a sip! A cheap and cheerful solution if you’re attending a coworker’s open house, or if a younger member of your family is hosting Christmas dinner.

Maxwell & Williams Slice and Dice Cheese Knife Block Set

Maxwell & Williams Slice and Dice Cheese Knife Block Set – $24.95 @ Linen Chest
If the gracious hosts are the type of folks to introduce you to a new brand of spiced nuts or a delicious butter cheese you’ve never tried before, indulge their foodie find tendencies with this cute and quirky cheese chop set. With four utensils designed to handle the crumbliest, creamiest, and toughest fromages alike, this is exactly the type of hostess gift you can expect to see on the table the next time you’re invited over (and you will be).

Chat Pack – $14.99 @ Cindy’s
Holiday parties can be a total blast, but they can also be a tad on the awkward side if you’re mixing and mingling with new folks. Help the hostess spark conversation with these handy question cards. Whether surreptitiously studied and unrolled during a dinnertime lull or hauled out as a straight up party game, this is a great way to get to know people without stepping on hot button issues like politics or religion. They’re also questions you’ve probably never thought of before – like, if you could fly a hot air balloon over any city, which one would it be?

Provencal Stoneware Cookie Jar – $19.95 @ Even & Odd (via Shopcaster)
Everyone loves to share and indulge in holiday baking – in fact many Christmas dinners and parties actually have some sort of ‘cookie exchange’ component to them. Shake things up a little by bringing your goodies in a beautiful stoneware jar for the hostess to keep. The classic French-inspired styling will make it a standout piece in any kitchen.


Make My Day Claude Cookbook / Tablet Companion – $39.99 @ Sears
Admittedly this charming gift idea is a touch outside of my typical hostess budget scope, but as I noted earlier, a hostess gift also typically pulls double-duty as a houseguest gift (at least in terms of ideas), making it okay to spend a little more if say, you’re crashing with the in-laws for a week over the holidays. Or if you want to use a hostess gift-giving occasion as a chance to pull double duty by spending a little more to cover the holidays and the event you’ve been invited to, by all means, do it. On that note, may I suggest this way-cute cookbook / tablet companion? Available in cheery red and classic white, this jubilant pseudo-sculpture is also ready to lend you a hand (or foot, as it were) by holding open your cookbook to your selected recipe, or by holding up your tablet when you watch that demonstration on how to properly julienne a carrot. Charming and genius – can’t beat that.

Okay then my hostesses with the mostest. I’ve got a grand prize package to give away including a Make My Day Claude Cookbook / Tablet Companion, and a recipe book to prop open come Christmas dinner: The Dead Celebrity Christmas in Tinseltown Cookbook. And if you don’t win that, I’ve got four additional copies of the book you could win! Here’s how to enter:

1) Leave a comment by December 31st (the ULTIMATE hostess gift night) with your favourite gift idea from this list.

2) Entries are limited to one per person / per email address / per household (or more if you score bonus entries). A random draw will be conducted on or around January 1st to select the winner, who will have 48 hours to respond before another winner is chosen in their place.

3) Entries are limited to Canadians that have reached the age of majority in their province. Quebec is not eligible to participate in this promotion.

4) Bonus Entry: Check out all new, non-contest posts over the contest period. You’ll see an opportunity to earn a bonus entry in each one. 

140 Responses to “Good Tidings We Bring”
  1. Debbie Bashford says:

    My favourite is the Make My Day Claude Cookbook / Tablet Companion

  2. Natalie says:

    All these hostess gifts are great, I would probably pick any one of them depending on which hostess I am gifting for. My favourite is the Provencal Cookie jar, so pretty!!

  3. Suzi says:

    I think the ultimate hostess night gift is the Flour Sack Towels – they are very cool!

  4. charmtime says:

    I think the Flour Sack Towels – would be the best gift – they are really cool!

  5. I love the Provencal Stoneware Cookie Jar …. I am in a cookie making frenzy and it really caught my eye…. but …. let me say this … I love all those gifts… All 🙂

  6. leah says:

    Love the birch straws, the soaps and anything from President’s Choice!

  7. Andrea says:

    I like the Provencal Stoneware Cookie Jar!

  8. Julie G. says:

    You always find the most interesting ideas for gifting! I like soo many of these things, but the Fair Trade Mahogany Animal Napkin Rings really caught my eye.

  9. prim says:

    The chat pack looks like table topics. Not that that’s a bad thing I love table topics.

  10. Love the go plates .What a great idea!

  11. Kimmerie says:

    Christmas in Tinseltown- brilliant gift for my movie buff and foodie friends!

  12. pacificnxnw says:

    I love the cheese knives!

  13. Francine says:

    I love the idea of bringing your homemade cookies in a cookie jar.

  14. Joan G says:

    The cheese Knife Block Set is my favourite.

  15. Marlene J says:

    President’s Choice Holiday Treats – $2.99 – $7.99 @ Loblaws

  16. Angela G says:

    Great group of hostess gift suggestions. I really like a lot of them. Favourites are birch straws, the David’s Tea Christmas Crackers, and the tea towels. I can’t choose just one favourite!

  17. Linda says:

    Love the Ninutik Squeeze and birch bark straws!

  18. Alison Braidwood says:

    I like the Birch bark straws, and the recipe/tablet holder. Have you tried the PC Salted Caramel ice cream. TO DIE FOR.

  19. dawn chessman says:

    the holiday snacks from president choice

  20. aclily19 says:

    Make My Day Claude Cookbook / Tablet Companion – $39.99 @ Sears

  21. Kirsten says:

    The tablet companion is a great idea. I just showed my husband – I’d like to give it but hopefully receive it too!!

  22. Lyndsey Krepela says:

    Maple Syrup is the way to go for a Canadian Hostess! Awesome!

  23. Grace F says:

    I love the Ninutik Squeeze Maple Syrup which also comes with the Maple Sugar. Nothing like a sweet treat as a hostess gift!

  24. Donna L. says:

    I like the PC Holiday treats.

  25. Anne Taylor says:

    I adore the Cookie Jar!

  26. linnett says:

    my choice would be homemade cookies in the gorgeous cookie jar, thanks

  27. Debbie Lemaire says:

    My favourite gift idea is the Make My Day Claude Cookbook / Tablet Companion

  28. kristen says:

    loving the mustache markers!!!

  29. Burcu says:

    I love Saipua Winter Citrus & Balsam Fir Soaps

  30. Brook says:

    Make my day, tablet companion is not only great for a gift but great for me!

  31. Jeanette Jackson says:

    I like the Fair Trade Mahogany Animal Napkin Rings

  32. Sean Pynaert says:

    pc holiday treats look entertaining

  33. Sherry says:

    I love the fair trade Mahogany Animal napkin rings, what a great idea!!

  34. debra says:

    make my day claude cookbook

  35. Marylyn Wohl says:

    All of the things described above are really cool. My favorite(s), as I couldn’t choose just one, are the “Go Plates”, “The Dead Celebrity Cookbook”, “The Flour Sack Towels”, “PC Treats”, “Moustache Markers”, “Chat Pack” & “Make My Day Claude Cookbook/Tablet Companion”.

  36. Anne L says:

    The napkin rings for sure and I can just imagine the clean refreshing smell of the two soaps!

  37. Kimberley M. says:

    I love the flour sack towels.

  38. Alina R. says:

    The Moustache Markers are hilarious! Oh what fun we’d have!

  39. Tablet companion is great

  40. Janice Cournoyer says:

    I love the birch unique.

  41. Rosa says:

    This would be perfect, especially cooking and entertaining for the holiday!

  42. I just love the Maxwell & Williams Slice and Dice Cheese Knife Block Set, I think that would make a lovely hostess gift

  43. Lynn Andersen says:

    I would love to have for myself actually the slice and dice cheese block set. I would go great with a slate cheese plate I recently bought

  44. Myra says:

    I like the Canadian content in Ninutik Squeeze 250 and presentation for $21.00

  45. Wendy Dickinson says:

    There are so many neat and fun ideas here but my 18yr old daughter has a thing with moustaches so i’m gonna pick Moustache Markers.

    msdickinson28 at hotmail dot com

  46. Sumit Atre says:

    Make My Day Claude Cookbook / Tablet Companion

  47. intensev5 says:

    I really like the President’s Choice Holiday Treats – YUM

  48. Brenda says:

    I like the cookie jar.

  49. aly3360 says:

    I absolutely love the Holiday Crackers with Tea. Wish I’d seen these earlier in the month – totally would have bought a few!! So perfect for Christmas diners, parties and stockings!!

    ayoung3360 (at) hotmail (dot) com

  50. thomas rusinak says:

    some very creative items; lots of good imagination….i,d buy!!!!

  51. Michael says:

    The cookbook looks like a lot of fun

  52. mousecat says:

    I like the Fair Trade Mahogany Animal Napkin Rings the best!

  53. Cairine says:

    I think the Maxwell & Williams Slice And Dice Cheese Knife Block Set is a great idea, everyone eats and serves cheese.

  54. Anne Derkat says:

    I really like the Maxwell & Williams Slice and Dice Cheese set

  55. BT says:

    i’ve always wanted some candles in bottles with the cool wax drips, so i’d love those rainbow candles, pretty sure me/a friend would be chuffed with any of the gifts!

  56. LS says:

    I like the holiday crackers with tea, or the napkin rings or the rainbow candles or… 🙂 🙂

  57. Elaan says:

    The napkin rings are lovely!

  58. Jennifer R says:

    I love the flour sack towels, moustaches for the drinks and the Go Plates! Fun ideas!

  59. Sabrina C. says:

    My favourite host/hostess gift is the President’s Choice Holiday Treats. 🙂

  60. Iris says:

    I like the tablet companion since I use my tablet for looking up recipes all the time.

  61. says:

    My favourite gift idea from this list would be the “Chat Pack – $14.99 @ Cindy’s”. Sounds like a great way to get the party started!

    Bonus Entry: Will do 😉

    Happy holidays

  62. lucy says:

    My favourite is the Cookie Jar.

  63. Crystal Mountain says:

    My favorite is the Go plates…what a great idea!!

  64. Maria Goulart says:

    the cookie jar is very nice

  65. Sarah says:

    I like the stoneware cooking jars.

  66. Adina H. says:

    I like the Fair Trade Mahogany Animal Napkin Rings.

  67. Susan says:

    I like the Provencal Stoneware Cookie Jar as it could be used year round!

  68. Tracey says:

    I love the Flour Sack Towels – great hostess gift!

  69. Rose says:

    The Holiday cracker’s with tea is such a cute idea! Love it.

  70. Kelly says:

    My favorite gift idea is the Holiday Crackers with Tea.

  71. Dan says:

    I love the Flour Sack Towels

  72. Debbie Petch says:

    I like the animal napkin rings.

  73. Rory says:

    The moustache markers are sort of neat.

  74. Brandi legere says:

    The Go Plates are awesome!

  75. theresa gibson says:

    Love the color drip candles!First time I have seen GO PLATES and they are amazing awesome product will looko at their website!

  76. Tanya C says:

    I love the Crackers with Tea!

  77. beewbedard says:

    Flour Sack Towels – $30 for 3

  78. Elena says:

    My favorite are the yummy looking President’s Choice treats

  79. Sydney says:

    The moustache markers! Lol they are too funny!

  80. Crystal Jewel Gwynn says:

    I love the tablet/cook book holder. Great idea.

  81. meggers41 says:

    I love the Christmas in Tinseltown book! It looks awesome!

  82. love the flour sack towels

  83. Jessica Lord says:

    my favorite are the flour sack towels

  84. Robert says:

    Provencal Stoneware Cookie Jar is my favorite

  85. Chantelle says:

    I like the Maxwell & Williams Slice and Dice Cheese Knife Block Set

  86. Elizabeth Matthiesen says:

    since maple syrup seems to play a big part in my staple diet, I’ll have to choose the Ninutik Squeeze 250, yummy

  87. Andrea Amy says:

    davids tea crackers

  88. joyce shane says:

    i like the flour sack towels.

  89. Taps says:

    I love the color drip canadles

  90. John Crawley says:

    President’s Choice Holiday Treats; good quality

  91. gbomberry says:

    I am always appreciative of President’s Choice treats, a lifesaver for this time of year

  92. angela mitchell says:

    I love the Provencal Stoneware Cookie Jar.

  93. President’s Choice Holiday treats

  94. I love the go plates for myself !! what a super idea its always awkward to hold your beer and cram your face full of holiday snacks !!

    I think the best gift idea is the Maxwell & Williams Slice and Dice Cheese Knife Block Set it is versatile and thoughtful, and useful !

  95. Patricia says:

    I love the cheese knives!

  96. Victoria Ess says:

    I love the Make My Day Claude Cookbook!

  97. Holly Sproule says:

    The moustache markers are by far the best thing!!

  98. MissT says:

    Make My Day Claude Cookbook / Tablet Companion would be a great gift

  99. lisa bolduc says:

    Provencal Stoneware Cookie Jar would be awesome because i need things to fancy up my kitchen

  100. Nancy says:

    the color drip candles

  101. Juliee F says:

    President’s Choice Holiday Treats

  102. Debbie Henzel says:

    I love the go plates.

  103. Leah says:

    I love the Keysocks from the stocking stuffer post!

  104. Leah says:

    I think the Ultimate Hostess gift are the Flour Sack Towels – so pretty!

  105. Doreen M says:

    I would take the Ninudik squeeze yum

  106. JM says:

    mini chocolate cupcakes

  107. can never go wrong with the PC Holiday treats! 🙂

  108. prairiebelle says:

    I like the Ninutik Squeeze


  109. Debbie Petch says:

    I love the Stoneware Cookie Jars.

  110. stacey dempsey says:

    I like the Maxwell & Williams Slice and Dice Cheese Knife Block Set it is very cute

  111. Beatrice Lawson says:

    Love the last minute list! I will pick up the Bliss gift pack for my mom today – I always think she could have at least one more gift…

  112. janicour says:

    Not sure I could afford this but this is my favourite last minute gift….KitchenAid Stand Mixer in Raspberry Ice.

  113. Alison Braidwood says:

    My favourite last minute gift would be the KitchenAid stand mixer, but in boysenberry or pink. And it would be for ME, ME I say!

  114. Alison Braidwood says:

    My favourite teen gift idea is the owl contact lens holder. Super cute.

  115. aimee says:

    flour sack towels are really nice

  116. Lynn says:

    I really like the Ninutik Squeeze Maple Syrup bottle. Great idea for some of my family and friends.

  117. sarah perry says:

    I would choose the Provencal Stoneware cookie jar. This would be a perfect gift for my sister and her family. She has a few cookie monsters on her hands and are definitely a staple in her household 🙂

  118. janicour says:

    I have purchased many things from your gift lists. One of my favourites is the Lululemon bags, and I also loved the birch straws. I often find it difficult to find the products here in Maniotoba.

    • CGG says:

      Hey there! I generally try to find as many online sources as possible so you can buy these gifts no matter where you live in Canada. If you’re ever having trouble tracking down a present, let me know and I’ll do my best to find you another source.

  119. I like Make My Day Claude Cookbook / Tablet Companion – this would be very useful!! I use recipes off the internet so this is convenient.

  120. janicour says:

    I wou,ld benefit from the Blousey product. My hair is dry and coloured.

  121. darringleannedleanne says:

    I love the Provencal Stoneware Cookie Jar its my fave would love to have
    thank you

  122. Leah M says:

    I like the David’s tea holiday crackers, what a great idea!

  123. Tina L says:

    I like the Ninutik Squeeze 250

  124. rhansen says:

    The Go Plates are pretty clever!

  125. Jayne Cameron says:

    I like the Flour Sack Towels

  126. Sylvia says:

    I like the President’s Choice Holiday Treats

  127. Freddy says:

    The Dead Celebrity Cookbook Presents: Christmas in Tinseltown for sure!

  128. janicour says:

    I like the Smokey Copper from the Body Shop.

  129. Dreena says:

    I like the President’s Choice Holiday Treats the best!

  130. Lori Z says:

    I love the Stoneware Cookie jar — it’d be great in any kitchen.

  131. Michael says:

    Fair Trade Mahogany Animal Napkin Rings

  132. julia g says:

    I actually bought the David’s Tea Christmas Crackers to bring to a holiday dinner and they were a hit.

  133. Maegan Morin says:

    I really love the Holiday Crackers with Tea from David’s Tea 😀

  134. janicour says:

    I think the 50 Shoes that changed the World.

  135. paul sharpe says:

    i like the Provencal Stoneware Cookie Jar

  136. Catherine says:

    The chat packs are such a wonderful and unique gift idea.

  137. Sylvia says:

    Holiday Crackers with Tea

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