Hostess gifts are one of those holiday expenses we rarely budget for, but these creative and budget-friendly gift ideas from our editors and financial expert and coupon master Jeanette Pavini won't break the bank.
Bake your favorite recipe (or choose from our top holiday flavors) and deliver the batch on a pretty platter. You can find seasonal or year-round designs for around $10 at Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, and other retailers. Attach a handwritten recipe card so your host can enjoy the treats again and again.
Create a custom blend from your favorite loose leaf teas and pour into pretty glass jars, like Wal-Mart's vintage-style Ball Quilted Crystal Jelly Jars ($7.50, Wal-Mart). Attach a vintage silver spoon for the finishing touch (make this DIY honey spoon for extra pizzazz).
Assemble the necessities for a night of family fun—including popcorn kernels ($3.59, Target), a card game ($4.59, Target) or credit toward DVD rentals ($5.00, RedBox.com). Place everything in a large serving bowl ($1.79, K-Mart) that your host's crew can then use for snacking.
Low-maintenance succulents and herbs only cost a couple of dollars and will last indoors all winter long. Transfer the plants into chalkboard clay pots ($5.49; Michael's) and personalize with your hostess's name.
Turn an accent tile into a trendy trivet. Buy a square decorative tile from a home improvement store ($1.98, Home Depot), then glue felt to the bottom to keep it from scratching counters or tabletops. Pair with a color-coordinating kitchen glove ($5.99, Target; $3.59, K-Mart) to make an inexpensive and useful gift for the home cook.
Gift the scents of the season with DIY potpourri. In Mason jars, mix sprigs of fresh herbs, wintergreen, dried spices, cinnamon sticks, cranberries or citrus from your local market, craft stores, import stores or even your backyard. Present with a pretty bright bow or tie a sprig of rosemary with rustic twine.
Shop antique stores, thrift stores or your local Goodwill or Salvation Army for a antique picture frame. Fill with pretty patterned paper as a placeholder or insert a sentimental photo of your host and her family. From now until Christmas, you can save 25% on Snapfish.com orders, available for pick-up at Walgreens or CVS.
Pack extra flavor into this kitchen staple for a quick and easy DIY gift. With these three easy varieties from Luci's Morsels, you'll likely already have the ingredients on hand. Package in a glass bottle ($3.49, The Container Store) and deliver with a fresh baguette so your host can taste test right away.
Toast your host with a mimosa for one. Pair a mini-bottle of her top-choice champagne or prosecco with a small container of her favorite juice. You can find single-serving, 187 mL bottles of Stella Rosa, J. Rogét Brut, Freixenet Cava, Korbel or La Marca Prosecco from about $3 to $6 each.
These may be summer fruits, but this mouthwatering spread (Apricot Orange Jam $10; BonniesJams.com) is tasty all year long. Perfect for glazing on turkey or pairing with peanut butter, this gift just keeps on giving.
Say goodbye to your average holiday hangers-on. These pretty photo frames ($3.95 each; ParksidePapers.com) let you put a unique touch on to your tree for less than $5 a pop.
This clever gift is a timeless problem solver. Simply placing this useful goodie (Cupcakes and Cartwheels Pie Bird, $6; PoshChicago.com) in the middle of your pie will result in a mess-free pastry.
Jeanette Pavini, Coupons.com Savings Expert, is an Emmy Award-winning consumer reporter and advocate who has spent two decades helping people save time and money.