If you don't keep a case of wine in your car's trunk, hostess gifts are among the biggest challenges of the holiday season. It is likely your host will be overrun with festive baked goods, so your plate of homemade cookies might go unnoticed. And even a bottle of bubbles or a sweet-smelling candle will probably end up being redundant.
But you need to hand something to your gracious host — something that is festive, simple, and practical. This token is a physical manifestation of your appreciation, and a little thoughtfulness goes a long way. Which brings me to my go-to gift that I've already given out a handful of times this year.
These TRYGG glass bowls from IKEA — for just $2.50 each! — look absolutely stunning when they're stacked up with some deep burgundy pomegranates and bright green apples. Depending on the size of your fruit, I've found that you can usually stack four of each into the bowl. If you can't find pomegranates, a few oranges or just green and red apples will also do the trick. The fruit should cost you another $2.50, which will bring your grand total to just $5. That's $5 for a simple-yet-classy hostess gift — which your host will actually use!
Buy: TRYGG Bowls, $2.50 each at IKEA
The process is simple. Bring the bowl home and give it a good wash so it sparkles and shines, then layer the fruit into the bowl in a way that gives off a casual look. Important notes: If you can find green apples with the stems still on, they look even more elegant; and make sure you pick the brightest fruit in the market — this is a time to use your most discerning eye when it comes to picking out produce. A quick wipe with a clean cloth adds even more shine to your apples. These little details make the gift look extra special versus a hobbled-together mess.
Your hostess can use the festive fruit bowl as a centerpiece on her table, or just leave it on the counter. In the days after the party, when she's cleaned and gotten the house back to working order for her day-to-day life, she'll reach for an apple and think of you. When she pulls the bowl out to use this summer for a quick green salad, or to hold some homemade popcorn for movie night, she'll think of you again and how thoughtful you were.
Do you have a go-to hostess gift? What is it? And does it cost less than $5?