For me, this always happens at the last minute. Everyone is finally packed, the car is completely loaded (like… completely), and the kids are belted in for our multi-hour road trip to a fun destination when we realize I haven’t yet purchased a thank you gift for our host and hostess. While stopping for a bottle of wine is usually a doable fallback, after spending two weeks of vacation at our family vacation home in Maine, I created a new list of gifts to help me be a bit more creative the next time I need a housewarming gift, based on things we’ve been needing (and using) over the years in our vacation home. In fact, many of these items we brought to our vacation this year.
5 Gifts for the Best Host or Hostess
Single Cup Coffee Maker
The coffee maker at our home was still from the stone ages so one of our first purchases this year was a single-cup coffee maker. We made sure we bought one that uses K-Cups (not the maker linked here, but similar) so that everyone could bring their favorite flavors from home in future years. In years past, we either made a pot of coffee that no one really liked, or we went out every morning for a cup at a local cafe. Buying the coffee maker for about $35 (sale price!!) saved us money already this year and will for future years to come. (Plus, there’s nothing as great as sitting out on the porch with your coffee first thing in the morning.)
Insect Repellent Lantern
We received ThermaCell’s camp lantern as a sample this summer. It’s an aesthetically pleasing repellent that keeps mosquitoes, black flies, and other biting pests at bay, clearing a 15×15 foot area in just minutes. I love this as its dual purpose: a light and a repellent. Dropping in 2 batteries and the repellent pad at the top of the lantern will be heated to evenly and effectively vaporize and disseminate a repellent in the air that biting bugs hate! I’m buying a second lantern for next year in Maine, where the bugs are unbelievable at night.
Towels and Dish Towels
Dish towels and towels are the kind of thing that no one ever wants to spend money on, but once you do, you know it’s something you desperately need. And after spending most of the year in closets, new bath towels, pool or beach towels, or dish towels, liven up a room and your routine.
I try to keep my eyes open for sales on towel-type accessories year-round. These referral and affiliate links take you to Nordstrom’s Hautelook and One Kings Lane are always great places to scoop up well-priced linens for vacation homes.
Board Games and Puzzles
Family vacation means family time; sometimes, it means, what will we do next? By gathering a few new games and puzzles each season, we’re certain to find some fun things to do with our family. A few of our favorite games include: Telestrations, Snake Oil, and Monopoly. And our absolute favorite puzzle to recommend is the 4D New York City Skyline Time Puzzle. (You’ll need a puzzle table for this one. It takes the whole vacation week.)
Just like towels, blankets need to be replaced every few years, and no one really likes to do it. Cozy blankets are a necessity for summer vacation homes because everyone likes to cozy up with a book, movie, or loved one. Here’s an ever-trendy Chevron throw for under $20 and a micro-plush blanket for less than $30. Of course, continue to keep your eyes peeled over at Hautelook and Gilt for blankets. Or grab a blanket featured in this image at Overstock (currently less than $30.)