Shop Talk

Shop Talk – our 5 favourite host, hostess gift ideas for this season

Yes, chocolate is nice. Wine is nicer. But a thoughtful, unique gift is the nicest. It’s a bonus, too, if the gift doesn’t require too much crafting on your part either. Here, some of our faves for this giving and receiving season.

1) Everything you need for a Hot Toddy (photo above from Instructables.com by Paige Russell)
Skip the hot chocolate this year. Typically made with honey, tea or herbs, and liquor, the Hot Toddy is traditionally imbibed before retiring for the evening, or in wet, cold weather. Many believe that the drink is a quality cure for the common cold.

What you need: a tea cup – look for something different from a thrift store, local boutique or make your own, tea, honey (preferably local), cinnamon sticks, and some strong booze.

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2) Breakfast in bed
After slaving away in the kitchen the night before, your host will appreciate getting up to an easily prepared breakfast that can be eaten in bed.

What you need: instant coffee or lattes – Starbucks has a selection, or go with some pods if they have a Keurig-type coffee machine, fresh juice, pre-sliced fruit (because that’s the most annoying part), breakfast pastries from such favourites as Art Is In or Bread and Sons, a magazine, and a tray to put it all on.

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3) Flavoured vodka
Want to impress your friends? Show up to dinner with a bottle of a flavoured spirit rather than wine. The process of infusing alcohol takes about two weeks. If given just before Christmas, it should be ready in time for New Year’s Eve.

What you need: this recipe, vodka, fruit and fruit juices, a bottle.

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4) Heart-shaped sugar cubes
Or whatever shaped. Given how little a bag of sugar costs, imagine how many of these cute little heart-shaped sweets you could make. Now think about how fun it will be when your friend gives these out with coffee at the end of dinner and you get to take credit for having such a deliciously creative idea.

What you need: this recipe, sugar, water, food colouring, and an interesting ice cube tray or mold.

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Photo from idealistmom.com

5) A night in
After all the hullabaloo of the Holidays, anyone who has been entertaining throughout the season will appreciate a night in with some snacks, movies, and comforts.

What you need: packs of microwaveable popcorn, slippers, candy of course, and a couple of DVDs or Netflix, Shomi, etc. Do they have kids? If so, offer to babysit.