You’ve been invited to a nice winter gathering and want to bring something special to thank your hosts.
Grocery-store flowers are lame. You’ve eaten all of those delicious cookies you made a few days ago. What to do? Here are some creative tips from Boulder County shops that will make you look good.
Timbalier, Lafayette, Spike Ritter, co-owner
“We sell a lot of Robin Chocolates, from a Longmont chocolatier; handcrafted fused-glass cheese plates by Glass Fire Jewelry; and assorted tea towels, especially the very popular ones by Mary Lake Thompson. Many gift shops are very oriented toward women, so if you’re shopping for a husband and wife, be mindful of choosing something that’s appropriate for both of them and their home.”
McGuckin Hardware, Louise Garrels, marketing manager
“Two sections of the store would be great for host and hostess gifts: Earl’s Pearls, where a 42-year employee pulls together all kinds of odd items, like onion-slicing glasses, ‘shot’ glasses with bullets in them, and Freakers turtlenecks for your beer bottle; and the Buffalo Corral, stocked with buffalo linens, paper goods, ornaments, etc. Anything with buffaloes just flies off the shelves. Also, wild and cozy socks; Boulder County–made candles, teas, and organic papering products for skin or bath; and the teeny-tiny clay pots that say, ‘A little pot from Colorado.’”
Noble Treasures, Lafayette, Jeannine Erlhoff, owner
“Vintage things are inexpensive and nostalgic— they remind people of their childhood or their parents and grandparents. We have vintage kitchen tools, hankies, aprons, salt and pepper shakers, cookie cutters and Christmas-tree ornaments. And in this digital age, old books are very nice.”
1Sweet Ruckus, Tania Petrulis, owner
“If you’re just going for dinner, you need a token of appreciation that says “I’m really happy to be here.” What does a token of appreciation cost? A $50 gift is over the top, and people see that. A gift for your hosts is different from a wedding present, housewarming, birthday or anniversary gift, when you’re looking at the occasion more deeply. Personally, I’m more likely to spend more on a nice bottle of wine than on a gift. There’s more perceived value in a $30 bottle of wine than a $30 candle.
“As presents for a host or hostess, people choose Mary Lake Thompson dish towels, because there are so many super-fun images that can be on them; Michel Design Works nice hand soaps, like foaming liquid hand soaps; and Rosy Rings small candles in a tin or jar—they’re good because you don’t have to know the recipient’s style.”
2Boulder Arts & Crafts Gallery, Adrienne Arnst, manager and buyer
“One of the most popular things we sell is a flower frog—not the ones with spikes, but a ceramic piece with seven holes. It fits on top of a Mason jar, and each hole holds one or two flowers upright. They’re handmade by various artists. We’ve sold hundreds if not thousands of these. Who knew that everyone on the planet needs one, but apparently we all do!
“We sell a lot of wood paté boards, cheese or butter boards, cutting boards, and decorative wooden spoons, all by MoonSpoon in Pennsylvania, from a 3-inch salt spoon to a 12-inch salad paddle set. “We also have a great selection of beautiful handcrafted Christmas ornaments, a timely gift in December.”
3Adorn, Longmont, Sharald Church, owner
“Frasier fir candles and room fresheners by Thymes; Colorado flour-sack towels; Corkcicle water bottles, canteens and tumblers; Longmont highball and pint glasses from
Vital Industries in Denver; candles and recipe boxes from Rifle Paper Co.”
4Sturtz & Copeland, Carol Riggs, owner
“Every year around Christmastime, we sell a set of two 10-inch bayberry tapers from Colonial Candles that are supposed to bring good luck.
“We have miniature plants, especially cyclamen, with little heart-shaped leaves and flowers that look like butterflies; people buy five or six at a time.
At 3 by-2 inches, these plants can sit on a kitchen or bathroom counter. Tiny pots and vases are sold separately, and we’re selling them like mad. Air plants and tilandsia love hanging glass vases. They can also live in round glass Christmas ornaments with round openings, as long as you take the plants out and spray them occasionally.”
5Hazel’s Beverage World, Tarah Wolf, operations manager and general merchandise buyer
“Bachelor-party, Gentlemen’s Hardware–style camping cutlery that’s almost like a Swiss Army Knife; bottle stoppers; liquor chocolates with Baileys or Jack Daniel’s
inside; and cheese and meat serving platters made of stone and wood—marble, slate, rosewood and acacia.”
6The Rustic Moose, Nederland, Melissa Snyder, manager
“Moose-head and bear-claw pasta servers/salad tossers; Colorado soaps and tea towels; hummingbird Christmas ornaments, animal-shaped kitchen scrubbers; and little pottery dishes to hold jewelry or soy sauce. Those are good for party favors, too—if you use them for a sushi dinner, your guests can each take one home.”