Giving the Gift of Wine, Part 1: Host Gifts

For many of us, the holidays are that time of year when your social calendar goes from being populated mostly by Dancing With The Stars (maybe that’s just us) with the occasional birthday get-together to so packed just looking at it induces panic.  Whether you’re going for cookies and carols at the neighbor’s house or to a family holiday dinner hosted by your sister-in-law, it never feels good to arrive at someone’s house empty-handed.  Here are some ideas and tips that will make you a hit with any host.

Plan Ahead.  Make your life easy and buy a few host gifts at a time.  Have them wrapped and at the ready, tucked away someplace near where you get ready to leave your house.  You’ll thank yourself when you’re rushing to get out the door to a party and realize you forgot a gift!  Everything will be right there.  Keep a pen and a few cards in there, too for good measure.

Another benefit to having your gift bottle wrapped and at the ready is that it avoids the host thinking you expect the bottle you brought to be opened that night.  Usually people have what they want to serve planned out already, and you don’t want them to feel pressured to include your gift.  So, make it clear you intend your bottle as a gift, and bring it wrapped in a box or nice gift bag.

Don’t Overthink It.  On the other hand, at a more casual gathering, an extra bottle to throw into the mix will be appreciated and opened.  So, as much as we love to geek out around here, a neighborhood holiday party where you don’t know the host very well isn’t the time to haul out an older Rioja or that obscure bottle you took home from Greece.  This is the time for a crowd pleaser.  Think Prosecco or Champagne, a fruit-forward Pinot Noir or a bold New-World Cabernet.

Why Reinvent the Wheel?  If you have a lot of gatherings on your calendar, consider choosing one wine that you’ll give as a host gift this year.  Holiday party season is by nature a little raucous and frenetic – we promise the gesture will be appreciated just as much as if you agonized over each party.  Save the agonizing for your best friend, significant other, or close family members.

Think Outside the Bottle.  Though we love wine (OK, maybe we’re a little obsessed …), there are lots of other things you can give as a host gift that are a little more interesting than another scented candle. Cold weather is the time of year when many people enjoy heavier, bolder brews, so consider bringing along one of our Holiday Six-Packs if you know someone in the house loves beer.  And if you’re not sure alcohol will be appreciated, we sell all sorts of edible goodies, like handmade olive oil and a wonderful selection of gourmet spreads, jams, salts and cheeses and more that you can pick up while you’re wine shopping.

We hope these tips help you breeze through stocking up on host gifts so you can focus on the more important aspects of the holiday season, like what Champagne you’ll drink on New Years, or how you can get out of wearing that awful holiday sweater your cousin got you last year.

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