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I have really missed sharing with you all this week! Sorry I’ve  been AWOL but I have been so swamped producing my first event at my new job that I barely had time to return emails! (If you are one of the people I owe a response to – be patient, I am still digging out) I’m hoping that you will forgive me for my distractedness though when you see what I have in store for you today!

After such a long, hard week I was so worn out from preparing and delivering the event, that last night I was very thankful for such a loving husband who was so sweet as to give me a pass from going to his work holiday party this year. What a doll, right?!

I totally pampered myself. I ordered Chinese food (so I could still feed the rest of the family but without having to shop or cook), had my teenage son build me a fire in the fireplace, and while my mother-in-law and the boys entertained themselves, I caught up on a couple episodes of The Real Housewives  (Shhh! That I am addicted to this show will be our little secret 😉 ) and then took a long, hot jetted bath with a glass of wine and a good book. Ahhhh! Some time for myself!

But, even though I didn’t go to the party, I made sure that I sent the hubby along with a nice little hostess gift. I always take a little something for the hostess, whether I’m going to a BBQ, a party, a holiday celebration, or dinner at someone’s home – sometimes it’s just a bottle of wine, but this time of year I tend to get a little more creative. There are just so many fun ideas out there for the holiday shopper!

Last week as I was planning to go to the West Elm Handmade Holiday Workshop event (but didn’t end making it because I got so sick. Did you go? How was it?) I perused their website and was struck by such fabulous choices for hostess gifts. I had a hard time narrowing it down, but wanted to share a few really great suggestions (in every price range) for you to take to the hostess of your next holiday party:

Bird Dessert Stands  – These cute glass, dome-covered, bird-topped cake or candy stands come in two sizes – medium and large. They are elevated so that one can lift their desserts up to where they belong (above everything else!) or get some height on a buffet table – food always looks better at varying heights. (Of course they could also always be filled with a variety of small decorations such as greens or glass ornaments at the holidays or a bird’s nest with colorful mini eggs at Easter!) You could deliver one of these beauties with a nice home-made cake!

Sparrow Salt and Pepper Shakers – These little ceramic birds would look so adorable on a New Years Table all decked out in black and white. The white one holds salt and the black one holds pepper. Ingenious! A very nice gift all on its own, or packaged with some of your favorite special flavored salts!

And staying on the bird theme…owls are all the rage these days, don’t ya know.

Owl Measuring Cups This simple set of four, retro-looking owl, stoneware nesting measuring cups stack neatly and are available in five different colors – I like the yellow for my kitchen in case anyone is taking notes 🙂 What a special gift these would make along with a batch of your signature holiday treats (don’t forget to include the recipe!)

Scandinavian Tree Apron –  Being Scandinavian and having a rather large apron collection, I would be remiss if I didn’t include this fun kitchen apron on my list. This Scandinavian inspired apron is 100% cotton and has a great big, handy pocket in front. And you can even personalize it – it’s monogram-able for a little extra charge!

Egg Crate – From the very first time that I visited the West Elm website, I have been smitten with this beautifully simple kitchen accessory. How popular would you be if you showed up at the door with this oak wood egg crate in a natural finish filled with a dozen farm fresh eggs and tied with a big red ribbon?

Modern Santa Collection – THIS is so sweet! I just LOVE this collection! These white stoneware, smooth surface Santa pieces really pop against an ever-classic, holiday-red background and would look so sweet in anybody’s kitchen. What a cute way this would be to leave cookies and hot cocoa for Santa. The collection includes the cookie jar, pitcher, cups and salt & pepper shaker, all sold separately.

Footed Mercury Hurricanes – Candle light is a necessity to light up this dark time of year! And these mercury hurricane candle holders have just the right amount of shimmer to add to holiday displays. These lovelies come in two sizes. I adore this look for winter!

Slate + Wood Boards – This gift is perfect for every hostess (or host!) on your holiday social calendar! It comes in small, medium or large and is just the right piece for serving cheeses at a cocktail party. With a removable slate slab, the wood block does double duty as a cutting board.

I am always looking for something to serve a good selection of cheeses on – one of my favorite, easy appetizers for a planned gathering, but I also tend to keep some good cheeses and crackers on hand during the holidays for last-minute, drop-in guests or a quick snack for the family after a long day of shopping.

Here’s the best part! When the folks at West Elm heard that I was doing a post featuring great hostess gift ideas from their store, they agreed to let me give away one of these items! So, this week, one of you will win a complete set of the entire Modern Santa Collection!

You can enter from now through this Wednesday – To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment here on the blog telling me about your favorite hostess gift to give or receive.

Extra entries –  You can earn one each for:

Good luck! 🙂

Entries will be accepted until midnight (PST) Wednesday December 14th. Winner will be announced on Thursday, December 15th before 9am (PST). Winning post number will be generated by Random.org