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Delicious Hostess Gifts (That Aren't Wine)

Warm weather means party season – our summers are always full of barbecues and other get-togethers. And while there’s nothing wrong with bringing a bottle of wine to a party, I sometimes like to bring something different – sometimes because the host or hostess is pregnant or otherwise not drinking, and sometimes just to be creative and memorable. I tend to lean toward edible gifts, which are always well-received and easy to package in vintage glass jars and bottles from the thrift shop or dollar store. Homemade jams, syrups and flavoured sugars are personal, and can also be inexpensive to make yourself – and a fun project to do with the kids on summer vacation. When it comes to party gifts, here are a few of my favourite things.



  • Homemade bacon jam 1 of 11
    Homemade bacon jam
    Could there be a more well-received gift? Mix up a big batch of bacon jam and keep a stash of jars in the fridge to grab and go when you need a little something to make someone happy.
    Make bacon jam
  • Real vanilla extract 2 of 11
    Real vanilla extract
    Making your own is easy - and looks great with whole vanilla beans in glass jars. It takes just minutes to make - start now and have a shelf of jars ready to go by summer.
    Make vanilla extract
  • Homemade strawberry jam 3 of 11
    Homemade strawberry jam
    When berries are in season, there's nothing better than freshly made jam. Mix up a jar (or more) and pick up a loaf of bread from a good bakery. To really fancy it up, wrap them in a nice tea towel, and/or tuck them into a nice breadbox, basket or bowl.
    Make small-batch skillet jam
  • Homemade pickles 4 of 11
    Homemade pickles
    It's easy to make a quick batch of refrigerator pickles using whatever is in season or in your fridge.
    Make homemade pickles
  • A bowl of cherries 5 of 11
    A bowl of cherries
    Pick up a pretty bowl and fill it with cherries, berries, or whatever is beautiful, juicy and in season.
  • A bottle or jar of lemonade concentrate 6 of 11
    A bottle or jar of lemonade concentrate
    Bring equal parts lemon juice and sugar to a simmer; cool and pour into a pretty bottle or jar. To make: stir into a cold glass of still or sparkling water to taste.
  • Heirloom tomatoes 7 of 11
    Heirloom tomatoes
    When they're in season, a beautiful "bouquet" of colourful heirloom tomatoes make the perfect hostess gift.
  • A jar of vanilla sugar 8 of 11
    A jar of vanilla sugar
    Homemade flavored sugars couldn't be easier - tuck a vanilla bean, a few strips of citrus rind, or some lavender into a vintage jar of sugar - the sugar will quickly become infused with flavour. Perfect for sweetening whipped cream, tea, sliced fruit - use your imagination!
  • A bouquet from your garden 9 of 11
    A bouquet from your garden
    Even a few sprigs of apple blossoms and fresh herbs, tucked into an apothecary jar from the second hand shop or dollar store, is a beautiful, thoughtful gift.
  • A pound of locally roasted coffee 10 of 11
    A pound of locally roasted coffee
    Coffee lovers will appreciate a fresh bag of beans - especially the morning after the party.
  • Potted fresh herbs 11 of 11
    Potted fresh herbs
    A small pot of fresh dill, rosemary, parsley or thyme makes a great gift - or plant them all in a larger pot to keep on the patio.

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