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what's a foolproof hostess gift for parents holding a children's party.

In my Italian leaning family (we're a bunch of mutts) the usual is a tray of cannoli or a bottle of wine, for the adults to munch on. I'm not sure if either of those would be appropriate. I'm going to a child's brithday party at the home of an acquaintance. They are very nice and I'd like to bring them a hostess gift in addition to the gift for the child. Any suggestions?

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  1. How about flowers? They probably won't have used flowers to decorate for a children's party, but they will appreciate some brightness on a dreary winter's day.


    1. Gourmet jarred/packaged items--sauces, jams, etc etc. The options are endless. They require no immediate attention and can be savored at their leisure.

      1. I agree on the flowers. I would have then sent tho' ahead of time. The hostess of a children's party probably has enough on her hands then to go off and get a vase.

        1. If they are inviting adults to a kids' party and you have a gift for the kid, I think wine is fine. They may not be serving alcohol at the party but they can put it away, you can just say "a little something for you to enjoy when it's all over!" or something like that so they understand you are not expecting to drink it then & there.

          1 Reply
          1. re: julesrules

            May I suggest that before you take wine as a gift it would be good to know the recipients well enough to know that they do, in fact, drink alcohol. Some people don't.

          2. Cannolis? May I invite you to my daughter's party in March? I love/hate this idea of a hostess gift. It doesn't seem to be done in my child's circle. On one hand, it seems to me that if the party is really for the kids, it's not the host's responsibility to feed the parents, too. We're just there for transportation. Certainly if the party is not at home but at a "party place" I can't even imagine bringing a hostess gift.

            On the other hand, I know how much work I'm putting into my daughter's party and a little "we appreciate what you've done" could be nice.

            I'm pretty ambivalent about the whole idea (as I am about most of these over the top parties in general) but I'm thinking I'm not going to be the one to introduce this idea to the other parents around here.

            1. When a child's birthday is hosted outside of the home I only bring a gift for the child. But when the parents give the party at home I always bring a hostess gift, just as I do for any party a friend hosts. I've given some of my son's birthdays at home and some out at special locations and while I always feed the adults, even if we're out at a kids' venue, it is certainly a lot more work to hire the entertainment and give the party at home! A hostess gifts is definitely in order.

              However, I would not bring food to this kind of event. It is FAR too busy to deal with a food gift like cannolis when you've got a houseful of small children and their parents to entertain.

              My usual gifts are a basket of handmade bath items (salts, scrubs, butters) for the host so that she can pamper herself after the event. I also have made herb baskets with three or four different plants, labels, and a ribbon. I think that both of these choices work well because they're nice (I make ultra-high quality bath products) but they are something I've made so it feels less formal than a more typical hostess gift.

              1. I agree with Kater... My go-to gift for people with small kids is a bag of Bath & Body Works scented antibacterial soaps and lotions (sometimes even the antibacterial hand sanitizer gels, too). I received this from a friend once and thought it was perfect. In fact, I bought about 40 bottles online this Christmas and gave them to everyone, including my kids' preschool and kindergarten teachers! They smell nicer than your average anti-bacterial products!

                  1. re: Bookwich

                    hehe...I was going to say valium.

                  2. A little clarification, since in my circle all children's parties are in private homes. So the idea behind the hostess gift is, you are invited into their house, they are entertaining your child. Usually us parents hang around in another room while the kid festivities are going on, since the kids party usually lasts 1.5 or 2 hours only.

                    1. Since there is a reference to an Italian background, how about homemade biscotti? With one recipe I normally make two different types. Faves in my family are vanilla almond, and cranberry orange. But I also make almond chocolate chip and chocolate-dipped. I'm not a fan of anise, so that is one classic I avoid. Packed in a nice little basket with a selecion of teas makes a nice gift and an easy thing for the host/hostess to use at the event.

                      1. Sending flowers seems over the top, bringing flowers is a burden, I dont like baskets of anything given to me with any of that stuff its just more stuff you cant use not to mention can be really allergic to - the biscotti I think is a good idea - and since the parents are stashed away why not bring a bottle of wine to to share with them. But I think the best thing you can do is after, and is to enclose your child's handwritten thank you note inside yours, expressing gratitude for a great time had by all.

                        1. I would love to receive a really nice bottle of olive oil