You’re going to a Hanukkah party and want to show the hostess how much you appreciate the invitation, but you might find yourself wondering what kind of hostess gift to bring.
Here are plenty of ideas – enough that you could use a different one each day of the eight-day-long celebration if necessary.
Set the Table
What hostess wouldn’t appreciate the gift of a holiday-themed serving platter? Hanukkah serving dishes, cutting boards, utensils and even kitchen towels or pot holders make excellent gifts that can be used year after year. Buy a Hanukkah candy dish and fill it with chocolates, or bring a cheese board and silver Hanukkah spreader to the party.
Flowers are another great option this time of year, as no hostess can ever have too many decorative floral bouquets. Many florists offer pre-made, Hanukkah-themed arrangements, or you can make your own by filling a vase with pretty blue and white blossoms.
Candles can brighten the party, too; it’s the Festival of Lights after all. It might be hard to find candles to fit someone else’s family menorah, though. Bring winter- or holiday-themed candles or some blue votive candles in white glass holders to be scattered throughout the house instead. A CD loaded with Hanukkah music is another thoughtful way to liven up a party.
Bring a Bottle…Or Bag, or Jar
Wine is always a welcome gift around the holidays. Even if the family you’re celebrating with keeps kosher, there are several appropriate wines to choose from this time of year, including some from Israel. Olive oil from Israel is also a nice way to celebrate Jewish heritage, and it’s a gift the hostess can use even after the Hanukkah festivities are over.
Similarly, holiday blends of premium coffees also make a great gift to be shared at the party or savored afterwards by the hostess. If you prefer to bring something homemade, ask the hostess if you can supply some applesauce to go with the traditional latkes, or potato pancakes, and put it in a festively decorated jar with the recipe thoughtfully attached.
Satisfy a Sweet Tooth
No party is complete without treats, of course. Surprise your hostess with some Hanukkah favorites like traditional Hanukkah sufganiot, or doughnuts, and rugelach, a traditional crescent-shaped, filled pastry. Find some at a local bakery, or research recipes online and bake your own. Chocolate-covered coins, or gelt, are another fun Hanukkah tradition that translates nicely to a hostess gift, especially if the host family has children. Buy it in most holiday aisles, or create your own by pouring melted chocolate into gelt molds.
Wrap It Up
Any gift becomes a Hanukkah-party hostess gift when it’s wrapped in tissue, cellophane and ribbons in the traditional Hanukkah colors of blue, white and silver. Attach a Hanukkah greeting card with warm holiday wishes for a special touch, and include some candy or little dreidels for families with children. Note that if you purchase kosher food from a store or certified bakery, it’s thoughtful to present it in its original, sealed packaging so that the hostess who receives it feels confident serving it at an all-kosher table.
No matter which holidays you celebrate, a hostess gift should always convey the same message, thanking the hostess for the invitation and wishing her and her family a wonderful holiday.