Host and hostess gift giving

— Photo by Katryn Yerdon

The holiday season is in full swing, which means there will be ample opportunities to be invited to various parties and events.

Some festivities will require that you bring a hostess/host gift as thanks for being included. According to the Emily Post Institute, which some consider the end-all and be-all of etiquette, there are some events when a gift is mandatory. Here are some popular examples gleaned from Ms. Post.

A cocktail party might be optional for host gift giving, but in the holiday spirit a bottle of wine, an ornament, or a baked good is suggested. A gift for a dinner party is a must, but keep it under $25. A casual get-together like game night is optional, though bringing a shareable dish for the meal would do the trick. For overnight stays, a gift is mandatory, and the level should be based upon the length of your stay, from flowers, for instance, or a special little something for a one-night stay to a larger gift certificate to a favorite restaurant for a multiple night stay.

Here are some suggestions on how to put your perfect gift or basket together from some favorite Island stores.

For the simple but invariably welcomed gift of wine or spirits, you will find that most liquor store choices carry a wide variety of wines, beers, and spirits.

A unique and newly popular liquor is the Patron XO Café (coffee-flavored tequila), which is great for sipping or in your after-dinner coffee, and it comes in a great colorful box.

Edgartown has two specialty stores: Edgartown Meat & Fish and Soigné, which carry fine selections of wines and champagnes, along with prepared foods that could be paired with wine to make a great gift basket.

Edgartown Meat & Fish, in the Post Office Square parking lot at the Triangle, carries a large selection of pre-packaged Boar’s Head cured meats, along with lots of specialty cheeses, olives, spreads, and crackers to help you make a gift basket.

Soigné, on Upper Main Street, has a welcoming staff to help you design a gift basket with such wines as La Crema or Grgich and a host of specialty food items.

In Oak Bluffs and looking for some spirited gifts? Fret not. Jim’s Package Store and Our Market are both found on the harbor, along with Vineyard Wine & Cheese Shop on Circuit Avenue.

If you are inclined to give flowers, you may use some of our great floral shops — Morrice Florist on State Road in Vineyard Haven, Donaroma’s Floral Shop on Upper Main Street in Edgartown, or use the online delivery service of MV Florist & Gifts ( — there are some other options too. Cronig’s Market on State Road in Vineyard Haven has a large floral department in the front of the store. Here you may choose from pre-made arrangements, bouquets, or plants, or make your own bouquet from their flower cooler. Jardin-Mahoney’s, like many of the garden centers, carries a large selection of the season’s favorite poinsettia plants in various sizes. They have also added a counter with holiday decorations and a wide variety of gift possibilities including decorated boxwood trees.

For the unusual or unique gift, a Christmas tree ornament could be your choice gift. A specialty shop, the Christmas Cottage, found in the shopping plaza of Circuit Avenue Extension by the harbor, has tons of ornaments and decorations to choose from. Along with the numerous ornaments, the store carries some of the most popular holiday collectable lines, like Department 56, Byers Choice, and Jim Shore figurines.

Another great line is the Cat’s Meow Village, which features unique wooden keepsakes that are shaped for us in the form of many Island landmarks. New this year are the Tabernacle and the Hi-Line Cruises. If you know your host or hostess well, you can choose the landmark that will mean the most to them. The Christmas Cottage is open on Saturday’s from 11 am to 4 pm or by appointment anytime. For an appointment, call owner Claudia Bradford at 508-693-6731, and she will pop right down to meet you. Trust that it is definitely worth the trip, though along with a gift for your hostess, you find some must-haves for yourself.