The calendar is filling up with holiday commitments, parties and festive get-togethers! Will you be ready to hand a small token of appreciation to each hostess on your list? If you’re like me and wait until the last minute (a.k.a…the day of), you’ll appreciate many of these quick, easy and inexpensive gifts I found online and around the Triad. Last year I shared my favorite Last-Minute Neighborly Gifts and many of these also make great hostess gifts as well. As for this year, here is what I suggest…


Always a great gift for the hostess to keep for herself or share with the guests. And our friends at RayLen Vineyards have created two holiday specials to make everyone on your list happy, even if they’ve been a little naughty this year.Toast the Host is a two-bottle sampler of Shiraz and Chardonnay at a 25% discount. It’s a simple, elegant way to say “Happy Holidays” with the gift of wine. Shipping is $10 in-state and $12 out-of-state. Three Cheers is a three-bottle sampler of RayLen’s most popular wines: Category 5, Carolinius, and Pinot Grigio. At a 25% discount, you can give a sampling of RayLen’s finest wines for the fine wine drinker.

To top off the bottles (or instead of bottles), I always like to add a festive wine stopper, pull or pourer, bottle ornament or glass charms, and Pottery Barn always has the best selection of these.


Yummy treats are sure-to-please gifts, and Whole Foods shares an easy way to think outside-the-box with this gift idea: Fill up a jar! They suggest you stock up on glass jars (pretty ones that you don’t have to wrap), fill with your favorite delights or recipe ingredients, and secure the lid with a ribbon and cute gift tag or recipe instructions. After the hosts enjoy their gift, they can continue to use the jars as storage containers, drinking glasses or bud vases. Some filler ideas that Whole Foods suggest include spiced nuts, granola or snack mix; cookie or quickbread mix; jam or preserves; BBQ sauce or mustard; flavoured oils or marinated olives; soup or pancake mix; flavored salts; or even bath salts. For more filler ideas, click here.

And don’t forget the new Trader Joes store offers plenty more delicious and creative food ideas. Tasty Table Jenny Stauffer offers her favorite Trader Joes finds at the bottom of this month’s feature.

For a fun idea in which your kids can help, consider making handmade cake pops. You can find a variety of these at Target, or you can order fancy handmade swizzled chocolate cake pops here.

For the Cook and Entertainer

Cloverdale Ace and North Greensboro Ace Hardware Stores both carry a full line of houseware products and other whimsical ideas in its Bee’s Nest shops. Fun gifts include Root tapered candles, Wild Hare dishtowels and aprons, bamboo salad bowls and cutting boards, china tea pots, and brie bakers. Click here for our recent holiday gift guide from our local Ace Hardware stores.

One of my favorite gifts can be found at Pier One: Chalk Note Glassware. The drinkware is painted with chalkboard surface and includes chalk so you will always know which glass is yours and what’s in the carafe! The carafe is only $10, and each tumbler or stemless wine glass is just $3. Or if you’re feeling super crafty, you can easily create this gift yourself with chalkboard paint and plain glassware.

For the Home

Starting today, you can shop for the perfect gift and home accent piece at Sawtooth’s annual Deck the Halls sale event. This sale features affordable crafts, fine art, pottery, jewelry, baskets, paintings, ornaments, sculptures, wreaths, quilts, pillows, soaps, plus much more – all made by a local or regional artist. The gift gallery for Sawtooth is located in the Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts at 251 N. Spruce Street in downtown Winston-Salem. Deck the Halls runs through December 22. For more information, visit Sawtooth’s web site here.

Rachel shared a great idea with me: personalized wind chimes. She has one of these quality – and affordable – windchimes from Whimsical Winds, and is giving one as a gift. You can add a message or monogram on windchimes or windbells. Click their link to see more than 800 available styles!

One of our favorite gift shops, Hang Ups in High Point, has a million ideas under its roof. Affordable ideas could include Frazier Fir candles, diffusers and potpourri (think Christmas smell!), flame-free Habersham scented candles, stationery or a frame.

Finally, a simple copy of Savor Magazine (available at locations all around the Triad) wrapped in ribbon, or Brenner’s latest coffee table/children’s book “Winston-Salem A to Z” (the colorful illustrations are creations by Brenner patients, and the book’s author is a local student)  are both easy and thoughtful gifts for any host on your list.

Additional Ideas from Years Past:

20 Gifts Under $20
Gift Idea: Cap-A-Cooz