With the economy in a slump, many folks are opting to stay home this summer and entertain a bit more, which means there'll likely be a few more summer soirees than usual on your calendar.
Of course, you won't want to show up empty-handed, so Early Show contributor Katie Lee Joel offered some great ideas for "in," and inexpensive, gifts for party hostesses.
Joel loves hosting friends and family, so she knows how much effort goes into planning -- all the more reason to show your appreciation by bringing a little something.
You can even make some of these yourself!
Know Your Hostess: Show your hostess you put thought behind your gift by giving her something that compliments her interests and hobbies:
Voluspa Japonica Candle Gift Set: A classy set of beautifully wrapped candles that have lovely and unique scents. $30; www.anthropologie.com
Eco Tote Bag: For the environment-conscious hostess, this eco-friendly bag can serve multi-purposes for food shopping or as a beach bag. $10; www.katespaperie.com
Kate's Paperie Recipe Box: A recipe box is a great culinary keepsake for any cook. This one comes with 50 traditional recipes and 50 blank recipe cards. For a personal touch, add in some of your own favorites. $16.95; www.katespaperie.com
Satisfy Your Hostess: Everyone loves food gifts, but remember to be creative. These are some of Katie's all-time favorite indulgences.
Homemade Granola: Fill a mason jar with homemade granola and tie recipe around the neck of the jar with raffia ribbon. This is an excellent gift for a hostess, because it can be served for breakfast.
Sugar-Spiced Nuts: Fill a cellophane bag and attach recipe with a beautiful ribbon. Buy a chic snack bowl, so the hostess can serve them during cocktail hour.
Chocolate Chip and Dried Cherry Cookie Mix: In a jar, layer homemade cookie mix with the recipe attached to it, and instructions for how to use it.
SEE PAGE 2 FOR RECIPES FOR THOSE ITEMS
Garrett Popcorn: It's the BEST popcorn and can be mail-ordered online. You can customize the kind of tin you like and the kinds of popcorn you'd like to fill it with. Flavors range from caramel crisp, cheese, cashew caramel crisp, pecan caramel, etc. The Joel household always has a tin of Garrett's in the pantry. $28-$185; www.garrettpopcorn.com
Graeter's Ice Cream: Located in Cincinnati, Graeter's is the BEST ice cream you'll ever eat, anywhere in the world. Joel went to college in the area and now orders it online for herself and sends it as gifts all the time. You choose the flavors, such as blackberry chocolate chip, mint chocolate chip, toffee chip, etc., and it's packaged in dry ice in a Styrofoam container and shipped anywhere in the continental U.S. $80 for 6 pints; www.graeters.com
Jacques Torres Chocolates: Joel loves the chocolate-covered cheerios (4oz bag, $5), cornflakes (4 oz bag, $5), graham crackers (2.5oz bag, $4.50), and macadamia nuts (1/4 pound bag, $7.50 to 11oz. cylinder, $20). They also offer a Chocolate Heaven Gift that sends chocolates once a month for three months for $120 -- a gift that keeps on giving! www.mrchocolate.com
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