Kansas City’s Deb Clem offers a list of gracious hostess gift ideas that will have your friends grinning!

The month of May marks the start of the summer entertaining season. From Mother’s Day brunches to graduations to outdoor barbecues, you’re social calendar is filling fast! You’ve had your fair share of get-togethers, so you know planning these events is a lot of hard work, and it only seems right to reward your hostess with a lovely gift. But what?

Hostess gifts aren’t required but they’re a sweet gesture your friends and neighbors will appreciate. Most of my friends show up with a bottle of wine, but not everyone is partial to vino, so over the years I’ve learned to get creative. Here are a few of my favorites.

  • Blooming plants — Cut flowers die within days, but plants can last for months or years. Bamboo, is easy to care for and is said to bring good luck. I just happen to have a great Asian market nearby to pick one up, but they are also fairly typical at most green houses. I just adore Orchids as well. If you happen to live in a Trader Joe’s market you’ll have to check out their selection of elegant offerings.

  • Artisan Foods — I often gift a dip, cheese ball, or bread mix in a gorgeous bag. I love Tastefully Simple products and so do lots of my friends. It’s an easy and useful way to say thanks.
  • Picture frames – You never have enough of these little gems. Why not pick some up at the end of each season and have a few on hand?  Instead of a thank you note, simply add a sweet message or “thanks” in the frame to show how much you appreciate the invite.
  • Monogrammed anything — From towels to napkins to coasters, we all love to receive personalized presents. Guess what? Your hostess does too. Anthropologie always has adorable, monogrammed handkerchiefs and mugs that your friends will fill for.

Always remember to match the gift to the hostess. Think about what she really likes before you make a choice. A couple of months ago, one of my friends showed up with the perfect gift — a bottle of Skinny Girl Cosmo’s. The note read, “Save this for a girl’s night.” We’ll be having one soon!