Tag Archives: games

Thanksgiving Host & Hostess Gifts

For many people, Thanksgiving is their favorite holiday. I love holidays, so it’s hard for me to have just one favorite, but Thanksgiving is a great choice. Whether your gathering is large or small, family or friends (or both!), it’s a time to be loved, be thankful and hopefully enjoy really, really great food.

From the turkey, to the stuffing, the cranberry sauce and all the trimmings, getting ready to entertain at Thanksgiving should probably be an Olympic sport! So in honor of your host or hostess, these are my favorite gifts this Thanksgiving.

8 Thanksgiving Host & Hostess Gifts

1. Fresh Seasonal Wreath

Magnolia Woodsy Wreath

A fresh seasonal wreath is a beautiful and unexpected twist on the traditional gift of flowers. Plus, there’s the added bonus that a well-made wreath should last through the December holidays.

Many local florists will create and customize a fresh seasonal wreath, or you can order a handmade artisanal wreath like this one, available from Creekside Farms: Magnolia Woodsy Wreath

2. Donate a Wreath

Wreaths Across America

I have a special place in my heart for the Wreaths Across America organization. In 2014, they placed a fresh wreath on all 226,525 graves at Arlington National Cemetery and a total of 700,000 wreaths at locations worldwide.

You can sponsor a single wreath for as little as $15. Wreaths can be sponsored in honor of/memory of a servicemember, or simply sponsor a wreath in thanks for the freedom to spend this Thanksgiving day with your loved ones.

Don’t forget to express this thanks, and share your sponsorship of a wreath, in a handwritten note to your host or hostess.

Available from Wreaths Across America: Sponsor a Wreath

3. Bring the Sauce

Wigle Whiskey

Create a little gift basket with the makings of a signature cocktail. And don’t forget to include the recipe! Thanks to Miss Martha Stewart, you can put the sauce in ‘cranberry sauce’ with her Cranberry Old Fashioned.

I always advocate using craft spirits and in Pittsburgh we have the very popular Wigle Whiskey.

Available from Wigle Whiskey: Organic Pennsylvania Bourbon

I love the combination of orange and cranberry and Wigle’s orange bitters should really enhance the orange zest in Martha’s recipe!

Available from Wigle Whiskey: Organic Pomander Orange Bitters

4. Fabulous Hand Soap

Lemon Verbena Hand Wash from Maison Apothecare

If your host or hostess has been spending a lot of time in the kitchen preparing the nosh and nibbles, a gentle and great smelling hand wash is a perfect choice. I recently purchased this lemon verbena hand soap and I LOVE it!! It smells amazing and it doesn’t dry out your hands.

Available from Maison Apothecare: Lemon Verbena Hand Wash

5. Honeyed Walnuts

Honeyed Walnuts

There is just something about a honey bear!

This little guy is filled with whole walnuts soaked in 100% natural Amish honey. A special treat delicious on cheese, ice cream or fresh fruit…and I’m pretty sure even eating them right out of the jar is fabulous.

Available from Alex’s Meats: Honey Bear Walnuts

6. Bring the Conversation

Table Topics from UncommonGoods

Whether you’re attending a family Thanksgiving or a gathering of friends, it’s always good to have some conversation starters in your back pocket. And ok, so this cube likely won’t actually fit in your back pocket, but it does come in a variety of themes (Foodies, Family and Happiness, just to name a few) and each cube contains 135 conversation starters.

Available from UncommonGoods: Table Topics

7. Exotic Sea Salt

Breakaway Matcha Tea Sea Salt

A fun treat to spice up their kitchen pantry. Matcha tea is definitely one of the ‘it beverages’ right now. Put an unexpected twist on it with this hand-blended combination of matcha tea and French sea salt. Even the packaging is extraordinary with the use of a beautiful violet-black glass jar.

Available from Breakaway Matcha: Breakaway Matcha Salt

8. Herbal Tea

Tea: Red Rooibos Chai Masala

Give your host or hostess a gift to enjoy after the guests have gone home and they can sit back and revel in the beautiful gathering they created. This unexpected twist on Chai is made with red rooibos tea instead of black tea with the addition of vanilla for a hint of natural sweetness.

Available from Miss Tea Organics: Red Rooibos Chai Masala

Margaritas and Pool Toys – A Gift List

For anyone who follows my Instagram feed, you may have noticed my recent trip to Oklahoma to do some dog sitting for my cousin Andrea and her fiance Mark. This was a team effort with my Aunt Randy and my other cousin Paula. We took very good care of the puppies – in fact we’ve been accused of spoiling them.

photo of a spoiled Tucker

Now, while we took our duties seriously, we also seriously enjoyed the backyard pool and perfecting our margarita recipe 🙂

So as I sit here back in Pittsburgh, missing my time lounging by the pool with a margarita in hand – I’m inspired to create this latest gift list. I might even share our margarita recipe with you 😉

Margaritas and Pool Toys – A Gift List

1. Bocce Splash

bocce splash pool game

If you love lawn bocce (and who doesn’t?!), you’ll love Bocce Splash. In this aquatic version of the backyard classic, the ‘jack’ or target is floating on the surface of the pool and players skip their bocce disks across the surface of the water attempting to land them on the floating target. I was admittedly pretty bad at this game, but that didn’t diminish the fun factor!

Available from Creative Kidstuff: Bocce Splash

2. Cornhole – The Pool Version

Chuck-O Splash - a pool game

Cornhole? Yes, that’s what I called it. If, like I once was, you are unfamiliar with this oft used term from the tailgating lexicon – it’s your basic bean bag toss. The pool floating version is a lot of fun – and I was pretty good at this one 🙂 It’s actually much harder than your traditional backyard or tailgating version, as the target likes to float away, especially when hit with projectile bean bags.

Available from Wayfair: Chuck-O Splash

3. Pool Jousting

Inflatable Pool Joust Set

Gladiators Ready!

I missed out on playing with this one, but it looks AWESOME 🙂 I’m making a return visit next year just so I can hit my cousin Paula in the head with an inflatable jousting stick while floating on a plastic log. Does family fun getting any better than that??

Available from Urban Outfitters: Joust Pool Game

4. Pool Darts


“The classic lawn game – now for the pool!” Based on the game of lawn darts or jarts, the darts are tossed underhand in an arching motion towards the floating target. My success at this pool game? Let’s just say that I won’t be going pro anytime soon – but it’s definitely a blast to play.

Available from Amazon: Jarts Splash

5. Margarita Drink Rimmer

Margarita drink rimmer

“Fab-u-lous!” is the word I would use to describe this little invention. Part of a margarita’s magic is that tart-salty combination of the lime juice in the margarita and a perfectly salted glass rim. This little dandy would be a welcomed addition to any margarita lover’s bar setup.

Available from Lime Tree Cove: The Barmaid Drink Rimmer

6. Margarita Glasses

margarita glasses from crate and barrel

Handcrafted, recycled and rustic, these classic margarita glasses give a new purpose to glass from recycled tequila bottles. And it doesn’t hurt that Crate and Barrel describe them as ‘generously sized’ 🙂 Time to whip up a batch of ‘ritas!

Available from Crate and Barrel: The Garcia Margarita Glass

7. The Margarita Recipe

A margarita recipe

Here it is, friends. There’s no denying that it’s a slightly unusual recipe, to begin with one of our party-goers isn’t a big tequila fan (so you could certainly swap out the vodka for more tequila). I encourage you to try it our way first, and let me know what you think!

If you saw something on this list that brings out the kid in you (the pool jousting kit, perhaps), don’t forget to update your giftbug registry. If you aren’t lucky enough to have a pool of your own but, say maybe your neighbors do, we think you’ll be more likely to get a return invite when you show up bearing fun pool toys like these!

Picnic Perfect Gifts

Fourth of July weekend has me thinking about checkered tablecloths, Adirondack Chairs, burgers and brats. One of the best things about summer is the chance to bring the parties outside where the sun is hot but the drinks are cold. And just like a dinner or cocktail party, you may find yourself looking for a small hostess or thank you gift. Here are a few ideas that are sure to be as hot the weather.

6 Picnic Perfect Gifts

1. A Serving Dish Full of Your Signature Salad

picnic gifts - serving bowl

Leave the tupperware at home and pick up a bright and cheerful bowl. After all, your famous pasta salad deserves a presentation worthy of it’s fabulousness. It’s guaranteed to stand out among the other pot luck contributions.

Tape a little note to the bottom of the bowl (and maybe a copy of your secret recipe!) letting your host or hostess know that the bowl is a gift for throwing another memorable shindig.

Available from West Elm: Modernist Serving Bowl

2. Sangria Pitcher

picnic gift - Sangria Pitcher

Okay, I’m slightly obsessed with this Sangria pitcher and always looking for the perfect opportunity to gift it.

And just like my grandma never gave a wallet as a gift without a coin in it, I think it might be bad luck to gift an empty Sangria pitcher! 😉 Fill it up with something yummy like this recipe for White Peach Sangria.

Available from La Tienda: Handmade Sangria Pitcher

3. Bucket of Beverages

Picnic Gifts - Beverage Tub

If you were put in charge of bringing the beverages, why not present them in a fun drink tub. Attach a chalkboard label to the side of the bucket and let your thirsty companions know what beer or soda options are chilling inside.

Available from Target: Beverage Tub

Available from Cherry Hill Designs: Chalkboard Labels

4. Music Mix

Picnic Gifts - Mix Tape USB

Bring the tunes and do it in a way sure to get everybody talking! It’s amazing that we can fit thousands of songs in our pocket thanks to the near limitless memory of USB sticks. This presentation allows us to revisit the ritual of the 80s when sharing music mixes was a very personal gift.

Available from Frology: Mix Tape USB Stick

5. Bocce

Picnic Gifts - Bocce Set

What’s a family or neighborhood gathering without a little friendly competition? With Bocce there is no need for nets, goals or even a very large area. If you have a small grassy area, you can Bocce.

Available from Hayneedle: Tournament Bocce Set

6. The Extreme S’mores Kit

If you’re lucky enough to be attending a picnic or barbecue ending with a bonfire, surprise the guests by bringing the Extreme S’more Kit. 

I hope you have all experienced the life bliss that is the s’more, but for anyone unfamiliar, it is the perfect ooey, gooey sandwich of graham crackers, chocolate squares and a fire-roasted marshmallow.

picnic gifts - s'mores

Here are a few ideas to take the basic s’more to another level!

  • One word –> Nutella!
  • Gourmet Marshmallows: check out your local farmer’s market or a site like Wondermade for flavors like bourbon or key lime pie.
  • Gourmet Chocolate: many large grocery stores now carry chocolate bars with ingredients from potato chips to bacon and Pop Rocks. Or, check out a company like Theo Chocolate that supports farmers in Eastern Congo.
  • Beyond Graham Crackers: for the hardcore sweet tooth, supplement the graham crackers with your favorite cookies or donut. If they can create a donut burger, you can imagine the donut s’more!
  • Peeps: throw in the leftover Easter Peeps, because yes, I think that would be hysterical roasting over the fire 🙂


Find something on this list that you love (the Sangria pitcher perhaps?!) Don’t forget to update your giftbug registry! Maybe add a new category like ‘Summertime Lovin’  or ‘Barbecue Bliss’.