A bottle of wine is always appreciated and classic chardonnay is perfect for Turkey Day -- or stick with pinot noir if you want to go red (any other would be too heavy for Thanksgiving). If you're only stopping by for dessert you might want to bring something a little sweeter, like a Riesling or a gewürztraminer.
While wine is fine, chances are it'll be opened and enjoyed before the day is over. Rather than just bringing a beverage to pass, show your appreciation with a hostess gift she can enjoy time after time. For a wine-loving hostess, go with an attractive wine stopper, aerator or another chic wine-related gift that she wouldn't buy herself. If you're not sure if your hostess is a wine drinker but you want to give a gift that complements the wine you're bringing, give a set of coasters or a serving dish instead. In either case, skip the Thanksgiving-themed items so she won't have to wait until next year to enjoy her gift.
Candles often get a bad rap as a generic gift, but this is only true for those giving generic candles. Instead of gifting a pre-boxed candle set, take your time to pick pillars, tapers and attractive holders with an interesting color, texture or shape that will complement your hostess' home. If this Thanksgiving will be your first visit, get clues to her taste and style by observing her fashion sense -- is she glamorous or more granola?
Still not sure what look your hostess would most appreciate? Opt for a scented jar candle instead. Select her favorite scent so she can use the candle all year long, or go with a candle that adds to the seasonal aroma -- but stick to scents that transition well into the upcoming December holidays, like gingerbread, instead of pumpkin spice.
For especially crafty guests, consider creating a one-of-a-kind, handcrafted gift with these autumn candle craft ideas. Stick with autumn colors and textures or create one that will transition well into the Christmas season.
Bath products are a risky gift to give unless you know your hostess well enough to know their favorite bath scents (or whether or not they have sensitive skin). If not, bath products might still work for the laid-back hostess, if you're sure they're adventurous enough to enjoy trying beauty products they didn't select themselves.
For daring friends, try something small from a designer shop that you know they'd love to try but wouldn't splurge on for themselves. If you'd rather play it safe, ask the salesperson at your local beauty store what the most popular and/or mild scents are or ask for their best-selling holiday special gift set, like sugar cookie or spiced vanilla. Can't commit to a $20 beauty gift? Mix and match to create mini holiday gift sets so you can rest assured that if your friend doesn't end up liking the product, they won't have a lot left to use up.
Chances are, your fabulous Thanksgiving hostess will soon be baking away for the upcoming holiday season. Make her Christmas cooking duties more enjoyable with a gourmet kitchen gift that will make her job easier, or simply more fun. For the avid baker, give holiday cookie cutters or gourmet sprinkles.
If you'd rather not remind your hostess of the work ahead, select a gourmet food gift your hostess can use to make her leftovers special. Give an assortment of sauces, spreads and dips to add an extra kick to turkey sandwiches, or stay sweet with a candy or baked goods gift. If you're lucky, your thoughtful gourmet food gift will get you invited to her Christmas party!
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