With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I’ve had the holiday season on my mind and all the festivities that go with it — which makes me think of hostess gifts.

While sitting at home one day, I realized this will be the first time in a while that my mother won’t be in Michigan for Thanksgiving and I was wondering what we would do this time. Having spent the last several years eating turkey dinners in local restaurants, some better than others, I was ready for a change.

Though I don’t mind spending some quiet time at home with my family on this holiday, it’s enjoyable for our daughter to witness the chaos that often comes with the annual meal that has to be choreographed like a theater production.

Besides, she loves the lively atmosphere of a crowded house.

As if someone had tapped into my thoughts, a friend texted me at that exact moment to invite us to her home for Thanksgiving. She is known as a consummate host who often takes in strays despite the fact that she has a large brood of her own.

Having been there before on this particular day, we know we’re in for a real treat.

So, in my spare time, I’ve been stocking up on holiday hostess gifts for the home. Some are chosen with a particular person in mind, while others are more generic for those spontaneous gatherings that happen around this time of year.

Based on my prior experience, if I set out to find these items I’d have no luck. It’s only when I’m not searching for them that I spot something special. Often they appear at unexpected locations like the Live Well Shoppe at Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital. While stopping by before a doctor’s appointment, I found a few unique pieces for a friend who loves to entertain.

Later that week, I visited The Vines Flower & Garden Shop in downtown Farmington with another friend. We simply couldn’t resist picking up a few of their Christmas signs that had sayings like “Naughty is the New Nice” and “This is as Merry as We Get.”

We also went to TJ Maxx and Tuesday Morning, where we discovered more fun finds such as cocktail napkins that feature deer sharing a toast with a quote that says “Cheers My Deers” and some cute little seasonal boxes for gift cards.

Holiday celebration destinations can also deliver the goods. During a recent trip to Greenfield Village for their Halloween event, one of their gift shops had a unique selection of seasonal pieces that would make great hostess gifts or stocking stuffers. Since I’m already kicking myself for not buying some that night, I plan to return in the near future.

The next time I’m out and about I also plan to stock up on some holiday gift bags for these small tokens of appreciation. That way I’ll have a variety of sizes on hand when it’s time to celebrate with friends and show some gratitude.

Jeanine Matlow is a Metro Detroit interior decorator turned freelance writer specializing in stories about interior design. You can reach her at

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