By Dani Frank
From poinsettias to picking out candles and stacking a cheese plate high for visitors to enjoy, hosting a fete is no easy feat! Winter is the season to entertain; why mope over the sudden drop in temperature alone when you can commiserate with other Connecticut residents? Snack on some crudités, but remember that this relaxing evening is courtesy of your lovely hostess or host. Show some appreciation for the invitation into their home with a parting gift. The key is to keep it low in cost and high in consideration; anyone can pick up a frame, but why not look at the bigger picture? These four gifts will win you an invitation back and place you as the star of your social circle.
Give Local Wine
Taylor Brooke Winery
848 Route 171
Woodstock, CT 06281
Hours: Friday: 11 to 6; Saturday & Sunday: 11 to 5
451 Sport Hill Road
Easton, CT 06612
Hours: Monday – Friday: 9 to 5 pm
Unbeknownst to many, Connecticut hosts a thriving collection of vineyards. The Connecticut Wine Trail covers the region’s 24 wineries, from the delectable peach wine at Branford’s Bishop’s Orchards to the winter pomegranate found in Woodstock’s Taylor Brooke Winery. Pick up a bottle from a locale that may be a little out of the way for your host, giving them a flavorful experience they may have otherwise never known. For the party planner who doesn’t imbibe, a delicious Connecticut cider will do the trick. Easton’s Silverman’s Farm is renowned for their apple sippers, as well as gallons of the good stuff.
Give Local Homemade Goods
12 Good Hill Road
Hours: Saturdays: 10 am to 2 pm, from December 4 to April 18
The fertile land found in the Nutmeg State is more than just a depository for succulent grapes yielding wine; think sweet and spicy hot sauce, crisp apples and locally made, all natural cupcakes as far as the tongue can taste. Purchasing a food that is known to be a favorite of the host or hostess is a great way to show you care. After the stress of setting up the party for weeks, the host will be happy to know your relationship with them is what brought you there, rather than to see and be seen. Connecticut’s collection of winter farmers markets makes edibles readily accessible. Stop in to the Norfield Grange and find the freshest produce up for grabs.
Make a Charitable Donation
Bike Walk Connecticut
P.O. Box 270149
West Hartford, CT 06127-0149
Advocacy is a goal that a lot of people have, but find they don’t have the time or effort to follow through with. Pledging to spend time at a local animal shelter caring for strays is often easier said than done, factoring in the time constraints of everyday life. Acting as a do-gooder in someone else’s honor is a valiant way to give a gift and to give back at the same time. Bike Walk Connecticut is working to spread the word about alternative transportation becoming the main mode, championing bike shares and bike paths. An individual membership is $35, and the proceeds fund Bike Walk CT’s efforts. Donating to the cause, or an equally noble cause of your choice, will be an act sure to make the day of your host, and the worthy recipient of your hard-earned cash or time.
Give a Workout Gift Card
13 Stony Hill Road
Bethel, CT 06801
Hours: Mon-Fri 5 am -10 pm; Sat – Sun 6:30 am – 6 pm
The holidays can be a time of chestnuts roasting on an open fire, but they can also be a source of much strife for those organizing them. Provide your host with a release, and purchase a yoga session for the two of you to enjoy. The meditation, soothing instruction of the class yogi and deep stretches will have the anxiety alleviating faster than you can say “om!” If the opposite is true of your party planner and they prefer to keep it high energy, investigate a kick boxing class, pilates session or more to enjoy together. While the activity will be a welcome distraction from the pressures of the holidays, the time spent together will serve as the perfect way to stay in touch when times get busy.
Dani Frank is a fashion, travel and culture enthusiast and writer living in Easton, Connecticut. A recent graduate of Hofstra University, she is most happy when traversing the East Coast and beyond and documenting it all for curious readers. Read her further work at http://offmanhattan.com/author/danielle-frank/