We leave for California tomorrow morning and we hope to catch up with our friends while we're in the neighborhood. I like to bring a hostess gift when I visit someone and usually make something myself, like homemade bread. Time and health has not complied but that doesn't mean I can't still bring something from the heart.
Some of my favorite hostess gifts are gourmet food (salsa, jams, jellies, sauces), ice cream and sundae sauce, candles, soap, tea towels, wine or flowers. An important rule of thumb is to not offer something your hostess feels inclined to make use of immediately or something they have to fuss with. For example, cut flowers are gorgeous but they require your host to find a vase, arrange them etc.
To make our gifts personal I decorated my own gift bags. You can find a pack of thirteen large kraft colored gift bags at stores like Michael's for around six dollars. With those ever-present 40% off coupons it amounts to about thirty cents a bag. What a deal. These are the ones I use:
I rounded up my paper scraps and decorated the fronts and have a nice gift. Here's how they turned out:
Note: If you are like me and use partial sheets of paper you will probably have two different sides. Most people don't notice and those who do usually think it's a good thing. So no worries.