9 Fantastic Last-Minute Hostess Gifts!

Picture this. You’re in the car, wearing something sparkly, and on your way to one of your many December events. A party, a potluck, a gathering. You get to a red light and gasp: You forgot to pick up a hostess gift!

This happens to me every year. And I’ll bet it happens to you too. So I made a little video featuring a collection of fantastic gifts you can find at any 24-hour supermarket. These aren’t boring or predictable — no cheap box of chocolates with a fake bow printed across the top. They’re memorable, beautiful, and even thoughtful! No one would ever guess you bought the gift on the way to the party.

Watch the video and click through below for my top picks from the housewares department and the food department.

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  • A Ball Of Twine 1 of 9
    A Ball Of Twine
    Pick cotton, sisal or hemp. Repackage and voila! A hipster gift that looks like you ordered it from an old-school hardware store in Brooklyn.
  • A Good Looking Tool 2 of 9
    A Good Looking Tool
    Find something made of wood or metal. A vegetable scrubber or dustpan. This brush was about $3. It's gorgeous! Add a bow and buy one for everyone in the neighborhood.
  • Natural Sponge 3 of 9
    Natural Sponge
    You'll probably find this near the car-cleaning supplies. Don't buy synthetic. Get something natural. Put it in cellophane and give the most useful gift your host will receive.
  • Pretty Cleaning Supplies 4 of 9
    Pretty Cleaning Supplies
    Look for a product line with great packaging. This one is French and tres handsome, but when I'm in America, my grocery store favorites are Method, Watkins, and Mrs. Meyers. Pick the scent you swear by and add a bow.
  • A Whole Pineapple 5 of 9
    A Whole Pineapple
    They're fun to give and fun to receive, and they're the sort of food item the average consumer rarely buys. We gave these out as party favors one year to gasps of delight.
  • Cheese 6 of 9
    Cheese
    Look for anything in a round, wood package. Camembert is a safe choice if you're a cheese novice. Stack two, add a ribbon and it will feel absolutely luxe.
  • Spices 7 of 9
    Spices
    Find a pretty bottle, and pick something unusual and exotic (skip the basil and oregano and cinnamon). Put it in cellophane and it will be glamorous.
  • Candy 8 of 9
    Candy
    Pick 3 BIG boxes of movie candy -- like Junior Mints and Milk Duds and Hot Tamales, Or pick out multi-packs of popular candy bars. Stack the candy, and add a ribbon. It doesn't sound like much. But the big boxes don't make most people's grocery lists, so they feel special and unusual.
  • Magazine Subscription 9 of 9
    Magazine Subscription
    Lastly, for a really thoughtful, almost personalized, gift on the go, I recommend a magazine subscription. Walk by the magazine racks and pick up a title you know they'll love. Pull out a subscription card that you'll send in the next day. Roll the issue up and add a bow. It's a gift they'll appreciate all year long — and the average subscription is about $10. Not bad!

Happy Holidays Friends! Here’s to being stylish — even at the last minute.

P.S. — If you want to be a pro at last-minute gifts, you’ll need to keep 4 specific items in your glovebox: cellophane bags, a spool of ribbon, gift tags and a small pair of scissors. Those 4 things will transform the most ordinary items into capital letters Fabulous Gifts.

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Read more from Gabrielle Blair at Design Mom.
See all the videos in the Celebrations Series here.
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