7 USE­FUL AL­TER­NA­TIVE GIFTS TO A BOT­TLE OF WINE

These unique, stylish and de­li­cious gifts are sure­fire hits for the gift-giv­ing sea­son

Montreal Gazette - - HOME FRONT - KARL LOHNES Do you have a decor dilemma or want to give feed­back? You can con­tact Karl Lohnes on Face­book or In­sta­gram at Karl Lohnes De­signer, or via email at klohnes­[email protected]­pa­tico.ca. Karl has worked as a home decor ex­pert and prod­uct de­signer for 25 y

Whether you are a guest at a tree-trim­ming party, hol­i­day din­ner or you’ve been in­vited to stay for the week­end, your host de­serves a lit­tle thank-you gift in recognition of their hospi­tal­ity. I re­cently asked my so­cial me­dia fol­low­ers for their thoughts on great host­ess gifts (other than wine) for the up­com­ing hol­i­day sea­son. “For­get bring­ing the re-gifted bot­tle of wine or Cham­pagne, bring me some­thing thought­ful and unique!” Mary said. Bar­bara com­mented: “If it’s not use­ful or ed­i­ble, then I don’t want it.” The les­son I took away from the many re­sponses is that I need to put thought into the host­ess gifts I bring and make them more per­sonal this year — it’s def­i­nitely not about how much money I am spend­ing. Here are my “lucky seven” picks for unique, stylish and de­li­cious gifts that I think my hosts would love to re­ceive in­stead of the oblig­a­tory bot­tle of wine.

HOST­ESS GIFT­ING — WHAT NOT TO DO

For­mal din­ner par­ties do not re­quire a host­ess gift. Send­ing a thank-you note and gift af­ter­ward is al­ways classy. Don’t bring any food that will need to be con­sumed dur­ing the party. Ar­riv­ing with a fresh shrimp ring isn’t cool un­less you’ve been asked to bring it. Don’t give a fra­granced can­dle un­less you know the host adores that scent. (As an aside, what’s your favourite hol­i­day fra­grance? Baked cook­ies, fresh cut tree, cran­berry spice ... there are so many to choose from.)

Three flavours col­lide to cre­ate a lim­ited edi­tion Dan­ish taste sen­sa­tion. Jo­han Bu­low’s Lakrid Dark Cho­co­late & Sea Salt Cov­ered Liquorice, $18.

Pomegranate and sesame seed oils help mois­tur­ize and re­ju­ve­nate tired, dry hands. Weleda’s Pomegranate Re­gen­er­at­ing Hand Cream, $19.25.

Re­cy­cled pa­per brings a hol­i­day touch to an en­ter­tainer’s ta­ble. Fes­tive Re­us­able Place Mats, set of 25, $20.

Give the uni­form of choice for se­rial en­ter­tain­ers. Jum­ble Joy Half Apron, $40.

Warm, toasty boots, hats and gloves are al­ways a wel­come treat. Pur­sonic’s Elec­tric Boot & Hat Warmer, $130.

Elim­i­nate odours and bac­te­ria from the air with a stylish fra­grance lamp worth dis­play­ing. Red Ot­tago Lamp, $70.

Stylish and leak-proof are guar­an­teed for hol­i­day left­overs. Rub­ber­maid’s Bril­liance food stor­age con­tain­ers, $6-14,

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