Well, thank you! This is a pleasant surprise.
Howdy, pumpkin. Grab yourself a Harvest Highball and let’s talk hostess gifts for fall. Whether your autumn dance card is full of fancy cocktail soirées, cozy dinner parties, or a Leif Erikson Day bash, you’ll want to arrive at each fête armed with a seasonal treat sure to delight your generous host. Looking for inspiration? Feast your eyes on the cornucopia of goodies that The Salonniere team will be giving hosts and hostesses this season. It might just be time to spice up the gift closet.
Cindy Young Vanhoutte
This fall, my go-to hostess gift will be a pretty autumn-feeling punch bowl filled with freshly harvested autumn fruits. I’ll also include a handwritten copy of my favorite sangria recipe, which includes a warm and delicious blend of apples, pears, ginger, and cinnamon—perfect for fall!
And because nothing says fall like sitting by a crackling fire, I’ll also be gifting these elegant and delicious S’mores kits. Like so many people I know, I loved making S’mores as a kid. This kit, which includes vanilla bean marshmallows, Recchiuti Grahams, and bittersweet chocolate bars takes this childhood pastime to a new, nostalgic, and very grown-up level.
I like to think about making my host’s “morning after” as pleasant as possible, so I’ll be giving a bag of coffee from my favorite local roaster, Rose Park (their Vincent Thomas Bridge blend is amazing). I’ll top it off with a pair of high-quality, lightweight mugs from SNOWE. They come in sets of 4, so buy in “bulk” and you’ll always have a pair on hand for a last-minute invitation.
I’ll be saying “thank you for the million glasses of wine” by gifting three-month subscriptions to Helen’s Club. Helen’s is arguably the coolest wine shop in Los Angeles, nestled in Jon & Vinny’s Restaurant, with only the best (and not just the most expensive!) wines. Helen’s in-the-know wine club will send that lucky host a pair of hand-picked bottles each month.
Founder and Editor in Chief
For formal gatherings, I’ll be bringing truffles from Adam Turoni, an incredible artisan out of Savannah who was recently named one of the ten best chocolatiers in the country. For my fellow Francophiles, I’ll include some Versailles Pistachio Topiary Truffles (above), which are the most divine things you’ve ever seen. I’ll also include a few of his Roasted Fig & Cognac Truffles—perfect for fall—and his famous Savannah Honey Chocolate Bars, a dark chocolate treat filled with wildflower honey and finished with a decadent dusting of 24-karat gold.
For less formal parties, I’ll bring something a bit more quirky like Hermes tarot cards, which are nice to give as we get closer to the new year, or one of these exquisite paper flower creations to say that spring isn’t too far away. For baby showers and other casual gatherings with close friends, I’ll give custom-designed pints of ice cream. I’ll choose a yummy fall-themed ice cream flavor and create a personalized label that’s fun for the occasion.
So much of entertaining is creating the right mood, and scent is a big part of that. After all, renowned salonniere Natalie Clifford Barney filled her home with fragrant lilies and roses, which became the signature aroma of her soirées. This reed diffuser from Antica Farmacista delivers both the calmness of lavender and the invigorating smell of lime. What hostess could resist?
I’m a bit of a textiles fanatic, so I can’t help but gift these beautifully printed and hand-sewn cloth napkins designed by watercolor artist Yao Chen. I’m partial to the cheerful Funfetti and Lemon Drop prints, but I’ll be choosing a design that matches the hostess’s individual style.
Editor at Large
I’ll be gifting small flowering plants that I’ll put in attractive containers found in vintage shops or on Etsy or eBay. Flowering plants are much more environmentally sound than cut flowers because they are usually locally grown and are more likely to be pesticide-free. They also last longer so, if your host or hostess has a garden, they can live on for years.
I’m obsessed with the artisanal French company Mad et Lin so I’ll also be giving their scented products as host and hostess gifts this season. Their products come in chic, handmade black brushed steel containers that can be beautifully repurposed, and their candles are all hand-poured and made using organic ingredients grown in Grasse.
In general, I love to bring books—bonus points for those that are out of print. A few that I’ll be giving this fall are One Special Summer for stylish lovers of the Camelot era, Birds of Britain (above) for cheeky Anglomaniacs, and Life at the Dakota or The Bowery Boys Adventures in Old New York for New Yorkers.
Also, my thoughts haven’t been far from the Italian earthquake, so if I were visiting a fellow Italophile with whom I had a reasonably close relationship, I might break protocol and give them an evening at a great local restaurant that is participating in the Amatriciana relief movement. I would pair it with some iconic Italian novels—maybe by Elena Ferrante, which are easy to buy in a locally owned bookstore. I’m a great believer in supporting businesses in the community I’m visiting, whenever possible.
Generally speaking, I like to gift works of art, particularly ones that a host or hostess can use. Right now, I’m loving Austin artist Keith Kreeger’s Gramercy Bottle, which is his signature piece and makes a lovely vase. Simple and earthy, it’s a beautiful décor touch for fall.
I love putting drink stirrers—or swizzle sticks, as my grandparents called them—in my cocktails, so I’m always looking for great ones to give to my friends. This fall, I’ll be gifting these whimsical golden animal drink stirrers that will add dazzle to any drink. I’ll also include a bottle of my vodka of the moment, Hanson of Sonoma, which is a delicious small-batch organic vodka distilled from grapes.
I love giving picture frames as host gifts, and this fall I’ll be gifting sterling silver picture frames from Tiffany & Co. To personalize the frame, I’ll have it monogrammed or engraved and put a fun photo of the host inside. I’ll also be giving Le Labo scented candles. I always write a special note on the label for the host or hostess.
Fall Hostess Gifts Welcome Mashup
Welcome photo: Eve Arden
Welcome quote: Sleeping Beauty, 1959
Photo of Helen’s Club: Los Angeles Times