Perfect Gift Ideas for the Holiday Party Host

Perfect Gift Ideas for the Holiday Party Host

Have you ever thrown a Christmas party, a New Year’s Eve soiree or any kind of holiday get-together? If so, you probably know how much work it requires just to have a little fun. It’s certainly not as simple as putting out some cheese and crackers. Days (and sometimes months!) in advance, party planners decide on the invite list, the menu, the drinks, the decorations, the activities and so much more. We have more than a few helpful blog posts about entertaining, of course, but what about being one of the guests? It’s important to let the host know how much you appreciate all the thought and planning that went into this great gathering. That’s why you’re probably familiar with the old adage, “don’t show up to a party empty-handed!“. Show your gratitude by bringing something special! Here are a few perfect gift ideas for the holiday party host. Memorable Wine Gifts Classically timeless and rarely regarded as a misstep, bottles of wine are a standard gift to present to the host. GiftTree’s selection of wine gifts is chock full of great bottles of wine – some can even be engraved with your very own personal gift message!   Festive Bouquets to Deck the Halls Bringing a floral arrangement is a wonderful idea for the party host. They can place it wherever they like (don’t pick the place for them) and be reminded of your nice gesture all evening long.   Generous Offerings for the Home Bringing something for the hosts’ home is a wonderful gesture. GiftTree’s personalized gifts make no exception! They’re always great conversation starters, and serve...
Your Labor Day Weekend Party Menu Is Here

Your Labor Day Weekend Party Menu Is Here

Ah, Labor Day weekend. The last hurrah before the school year really gets into full swing and everyone is back to work until the holidays. We’re milking these very last days of summer for all they’re worth with one more backyard barbecue! It’s the perfect time of year to take advantage of all the delicious in-season produce like tomatoes, peaches, pineapple and watermelon in every dish. Here is your Labor Day weekend party menu. Onward!   Menu Item #1: A Hearty (But Healthy) Salad What ever will we do with ALL those bazillions of late-summer tomatoes from the garden? Panzanella, of course! The crispy hearty bread pairs perfectly with juicy tomatoes and the zing of bright basil. You could literally use any tomato you can get your hands on, from Roma to Heirloom to Grape or Cherry – even those big ol’ Beefsteaks will do. There are many variations on Panzanella, but we got this particular recipe from Delish (added a few green chilies) and it’s absolutely wonderful.   Menu Item #2: Bring on the Grilled Meats! We’ve probably filled our bread quota with the baguettes in the Panzanella, so let’s skip it and instead of burgers or BLTs, let’s make these Hawaiian grilled pork kebabs! They’re easy to make and fun to eat – who doesn’t enjoy food on a stick? Our favorite recipe comes from Bobbi’s Kozy Kitchen – we went a little easier on the BBQ sauce though. The result? Sticky, sweet, garlicky, salty and just perfect for a late-summer backyard party. The guests will be licking their fingers and going for seconds.   Menu Item #3:...
Why We Gift Wednesday (Patio Edition)

Why We Gift Wednesday (Patio Edition)

Welcome to Why We Gift Wednesday! Each week, we celebrate one of the thousands of reasons that we truly love giving. Whether it’s honoring the relationships that we have, feeling grateful for an occasion or a special time of year, or relishing life’s simple joys, Why We Gift Wednesday is all about giving and generosity – the expression of appreciation for life’s many happy moments. Hasn’t this summer been absolutely gorgeous? Here in the Pacific Northwest we really lucked out with not-too-hot temperatures, not too many bugs and enough rain to keep everything nice and green. It’s the perfect time of year to spend most of our time outdoors. As you drive through the streets of Portland and Seattle in the evenings, don’t be surprised if you see lots and lots of people hanging out on their front lawns and porches, and even more so on their back patios and in backyards. Grilling season is here and the deck furniture is primed for seating. It’s time to invite your friends and family to come over for dinner on the back patio! We think one of the most important things to remember when entertaining is to keep it simple. Preventing everything  (the menu, the decor, the guest list, etc) from getting too over-complicated is what’s going to make for a really successful patio dinner party! Check out our blog about party hosting and this one about summer entertaining – both of the blogs are chock full of great tips to make your dinner parties easy and breezy. Looking for the perfect gift to bring to a dinner party host? Find wine crates, flowers,...
The Ultimate Camping Checklist

The Ultimate Camping Checklist

Ahh, how we love the summer camping trip! Honestly, can you think of anything more delightful than sleeping under the stars? What’s better than days filled with swimming holes and hiking trails? It’s probably the most fun to help the kids toast marshmallows and roast hot dogs over an open fire? And even more enjoyable, imagine being in a place where you wake up and sip coffee on a cool morning in the middle of nowhere. If you love camping like we do here in the Pacific Northwest, you know that a successful camping trip takes a whole heap of planning and prep work. Therefore, we decided to write the ultimate camping checklist – a helpful guide to enable you to camp smarter, not harder. Above all, a successful camping trip is a well-planned camping trip. Feel free to print this out and tailor it to your own family’s needs. Onward!   Information and Safety are the key to camping success! Let’s start with the most important ESSENTIALS. Printed Campground Reservations and Phone Numbers Paper Maps of the Area Field Guides, Guidebooks to the Area Fishing Licenses Emergency Phone Numbers Written Down Emergency Roadside / Outdoor  Survival Kit First Aid Kit Magnetic Compass Sunblock & SPF Lip Balm Insect Repellent   Shelter is the first and foremost order of business, so let’s go over the CAMPING GEAR. Tent Tent Poles & Stakes Tarp (for Ground Cover) +1 Extra Tarp Mallet or Hammer (for Driving the Stakes) Sleeping Bag for Every Camper Sleeping Pad or Air Mattress for Every Camper Patch Kit & Air Pump for Mattress Pillows Extra Blankets...
Get Ready for World Cup Finals

Get Ready for World Cup Finals

Who’s been keeping up with the World Cup this year? There are only 7 games left until the final match, set to play on Sunday July 15th. Who do you think will take it? Will it be a European team, like Croatia, England, Belgium or France, the last remaining Nordic team, Sweden, one of the South American teams Uruguay or Brazil, or the host country, Russia? There is a lot of speculation going on these days, and a lot of people who have seen their teams eliminated (I’m still a little sad about Denmark) have moved on to rooting for one still standing (Heja Sverige! Go Sweden!). No matter who you’re rooting for, these next few weeks are going to be pretty darn exciting. If you’re hosting a Fifa World Cup Finals party, we’ve got some entertaining ideas and recipes (because let’s face it – it’s all about the FOOD!) to make your viewing party especially fun. To help you get ready for World Cup Finals, here are a few tips and recipes. IDEA #1: Charcuterie, Chocolate, Cheese Boards, Fruits and Vegetables — make big, shareable platters ahead of time! They’re easy to assemble, easy to pick at, carry lots of variety for your guests and aren’t totally distracting to eat. We recently saw an amazing idea on BBC’s Good Food Blog – the components on the platters created the flags of the competing countries. How cool is that? IDEA #2: Match the menu to the teams playing! A simple and cute idea is to match the regional cuisine of the teams playing to the food you serve. France? Warm...
Throw the Perfect Outdoor Party

Throw the Perfect Outdoor Party

As the weather warms up and spring turns into summer, those balmy, breezy, perfect summer evenings just beg for get-togethers in backyards and on patios all over the country. Whether you’re firing up the grill, mixing cocktails, putting together the perfect salad or just relaxing with friends in the lounge chairs, it doesn’t take much to throw the perfect outdoor party. Here are a few of our best tips and ideas for making your next patio party one for the record books. 1. Let your guests know what to expect! The best parties are the ones that are the most prepared-for. Write your invitations in a way that makes it clear what your guests can look forward to. “The grill will be firing from 5 – 6pm!” “We’ll supply the food – bring whatever you’d like to drink!” “Flip flops and sunglasses welcome!” All of these cutesy little phrases let your guests know what to expect – that the food will be served at 5pm, it’s BYOB, and flip flops and sunglasses mean it’s a casual dress code. There are tons of examples online for backyard party invitations – find what works for you and tailor it to your own details. 2. Anticipate mosquitoes, bugs and flies. It’s just that time of year! Swatting mosquitoes and batting flies away from our food is a part of summertime life, but there are ways you can make it easier on you and your guests. One of the most important things you can do to your backyard (and this stands whether you’re having a party or not) is to ensure there is never any standing water...