Gifts for Hosts with the Most

There’s no worse faux pas than arriving empty handed to a party or other event held at someone’s home. A host or hostess gift need not be expensive or extravagant, but rather should sufficiently convey your appreciation for the invitation. Here’s a random assortment of host apropos gift ideas that have crossed my desk this season.

Tortuga Rum Cake Company 4oz Rum Cakes and Tortuga Chocolate Rum Turtles with Sea Salt ( - $66.95 (2 4oz. six packs)/$23.95 (Rum Turtles)

Founded in 1984, Tortuga Rum Company has grown to become the largest duty-free liquor business in theCayman Islands. A husband and wife duo started the company while they were both employed by the islands national airline, Cayman Airways. The Tortuga Rum Cake story officially began in 1987. It was at this time that Carlene started baking rum cakes at home, using a family recipe that had been handed down through generations. She of course used Tortuga Rum as the main ingredient. Encouraged by rave reviews she received while baking the cakes for friends, Carlene began testing local demand. The Tortuga Rum Cake made its first "public" appearance on the dessert menu of a local restaurant, and was an instant hit. The demand for the rum cakes became so great that in 1990 a 1,700 square-foot commercial bakery was established. The trademark ingredient is a generous amount of premium five-year old, oak barrel aged Tortuga Gold Rum, not available to the public. Each cake is individually hand-glazed with this rum before packaging. The vacuum-sealing process ensures a shelf life of six months and will keep indefinitely if refrigerated or frozen. The mini-cakes make great gifts for friends, colleagues, and loved ones. The company’s newest items are the Tortuga Chocolate Rum Turtles with Sea Salt. Enjoy this tropical twist to a classic confection.

The Gingerbread Construction Company Gingerbread House ( - $38.99

Whether you're a child or a nostalgic adult with a sweet tooth, few things signal the holiday season like a homemade gingerbread house. The Gingerbread Construction Company, a Massachusetts-based family owned bakery, hand crafts the quintessential holiday treats year-round, as well as gourmet muffins, muffin loaves, cookies and brownies. The gourmet gingerbread houses make the perfect holiday gift for kids…and kids at heart. They are baked fresh throughout the day with the highest quality natural ingredients, and are available to sweet lovers nationwide through the bakery's online store. The houses arrive assembled and ready to decorate or already meticulously hand decorated, ready to display and devour. The Christmas House version features a royal icing base along with such goodies as chocolate nonpareils, gumdrops, Hershey’s kisses and candy canes, which are placed on each house by hand. This delicious holiday treat is finished off with a keepsake ornament.

WINETIME Bar ( - $29.90 (ten bars) - $89.70 (Family 40-bar pack)

How about a new type of nutritional chocolate bar that combines the indulgence of chocolate with the health benefits of red wine?  It's the WINETIME Bar. Let’s just say it’s a gift of and for the heart that's a true "healthy indulgence." And, it’s a gift that will definitely appeal to wine-loving chocoholics. The WINETIME Bar is the first gourmet nutrition bar to contain resveratrol, the antioxidant in red wine acclaimed for its heart-healthy and life-extending prowess, which has been featured on Oprah, 60 Minutes, Dr. Oz, and a Barbara Walters special. Each bar contains more resveratrol than 50 glasses of red wine - without any of the alcohol. It’s also Gluten free, dairy free, vegan, natural, low in calories and high in fiber. There are two "sinfully delicious" flavors, including Chocolate, Dates & Almonds and Chocolate Raspberry.

Personalized Mingling Plates ( - $12.95-$16.95

Encourage mingling and impress guests at your next cocktail party with personalized Wine & Dine Plates. Made for simultaneous eating, drinking and conversation, these clever plates hold plenty of food as well as a drink glass (stemmed, or many non-stemmed glasses fit in the specially grooved space). Each plate is custom personalized with your choice of block, script or curly initial monogram artfully laser engraved for a look all your own. The party plates are handcrafted of pressed bamboo with a natural finish, giving each one an individual look. The plates measure nine inches in diameter and are 5/8 inch thick. This makes an impressive gift for the hostess with the “mostest” this holiday season. Please note that the plates are available in various quantities, starting with a set of two.  The personalization must be the same to receive quantity discounts, which can bring the price down the more you order.  

Botskis Bottle Ties ( - $9.99

Botskis are adorable miniature neckties for bottles made of premium rich fabrics adorned with fun and festive designs to add a little pizzazz to any occasion.  Whether you are toasting with sparkling water, festive juices, wine, or even a fabulous champagne, Botskis fit perfectly on any bottle gift, adding a chic and fashionable touch.  There are over 30 trendy designs to choose from, and they each come packaged individually in a clear gift box.  Botskis ships anywhere in theUSwithin 24 hours to accommodate even last-minute shoppers and entertainers!

VZWraps Reusable Fabric Gift Bags ( - $3.25-$12

Many arrive at an affair with a bottled host or hostess gift in hand, but why not make the gesture an even better stand out with a VZWrap fabric gift bag? VZWraps are stylish, easy to use, and eco-friendly, and there's no trash left behind when your gift is unwrapped. VZWraps are created in theUSAand use recycled materials as much as possible. The bags can be reused countless times, and the ribbons are attached so they won’t get lost. Your host can use it the next time they go to a BYOB or for wrapping something entirely different.  They are just the right size to hold a DVD, scarf, gloves, cosmetics, or a tin of gourmet brownies or fancy olive oils.  VZWraps are available in five sizes, ranging from gift card holders to bags large enough to hold a video game console.

***Some or all of the accommodations(s), experience(s), item(s) and/or service(s) detailed above were provided at no cost to accommodate this review, but all opinions expressed are entirely those of Merilee Kern and have not been influenced in any way.***

Merilee Kern

Branding, consumer product trends, leisure and lifestyle expert Merilee A. Kern is a good life connoisseur who keeps her finger on the pulse of the marketplace in search of new and innovative must-haves and exemplary experiences at all price points, from the affordable to the extreme. The best of the best across all product, service and travel categories–as well as noteworthy marketplace change ...(Read More)

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