Cropped shot of pale blue parcel with twine and white gift tag.

Holiday Hostess Gift Guide

Before panic sets in, know that your days of scrambling to shop for everyone are over. 

It may be only mid-November, but the holiday party season will soon be in full swing. Before you know it, your schedule will be outta control with visits to multiple houses – friends, family, neighbours, colleagues- which means, multiple host/hostess gifts. Before panic sets in, know that your days of scrambling to shop for everyone are over. Whether your heading out to an intimate dinner party or large cocktail fête, we’ve got you sorted for the very best presents that show you care – all without having to pick up a glue gun or spend all day in the kitchen.

Close up of woman touching leaf in pink and white floral bouquet.

Petal Power

FLOWERS ARE ALWAYS A GOOD IDEA. There aren’t many one-size-fits all solutions when it comes gift-giving, but it’s hard to beat a beautiful floral arrangement. Not only do they spread joy, they add a touch of elegance to your surroundings and décor, and you can customize them to each host by type and colour. Choose long lasting ones such as gladiolas, chrysanthemums, and lilies. Overwhelmed by the selection? Our floral department can help you narrow it down. There are no holiday selection on the Floral Page.

And flowers aren’t the only option. Potted plants are a lovely gift that last long after the soirée. Choose from air purifying li’l wonders to on-trend succulents to show your appreciation this holiday season. Don’t forget the rosemary trees for extra holiday flare.

Pro Tip: Whatever variety of flowers you choose, all etiquette experts agree – present them in a vase or container, so that your host doesn’t have to go in search of one.


“Dream: Spending the afternoon baking pies, cookies and other sweet treats for friends and fam. Reality: A schedule that barely allows time to fit in laundry and a meal that you sit down for – and not in front of the computer. Sigh. Life is hectic.”


Mid-shot of man and woman standing at kitchen marble island with wine and cheese.


Dream: Spending the afternoon baking pies, cookies and other sweet treats for friends and fam. Reality: A schedule that barely allows time to fit in laundry and a meal that you sit down for – and not in front of the computer. Sigh. Life is hectic. But just because you don’t have time to make something from scratch doesn’t mean you can’t gift something homemade.

The store’s talented chefs have created something for everyone – from holiday classic shortbread, gingerbread, cookies and cakes, not to mention our very famous Christmas Fruit Cake, to more modern selections of macrons, pavlovas, panna cottas that taste as good as homemade. Gifting someone dietary restrictions and allergies? Pick up our Belgian Sparkle chocolate flourless cookies. And vegan, grain-free, nut butter based cookies by Porter & Co come in the cutest packaging – no gift wrap required. Christmas magic indeed.

Pro Tip: To make your gift truly special, tuck cookies in a jar or tin, present your cake on a stand, pie in a pan, etc. Even a humble baguette looks spectacular when wrapped it in a dish towel and finished with a bow.

Overhead view of table spread with wine, wine glasses and cheese selection.

Get Lit

A luxe candle is one of the best gifts you can give. Suitable for any room in the house, it adds flourish to your surroundings, in addition to a heavenly scent, and warm glow that delivers all kinds of cozy feels. We can’t get enough of just arrived in-store Lothantique Candles. Featuring a cotton wick, these clean burning beauts last forever. Or at least it seems like it – each one burns approx. 30 hours.

Select a scent to suit your host:
– For deep relaxation, it’s Lavender all the way.
– In need of energizing? Recharge and renew with Grapefuit and Verbena recharge and renew.
– Lait is nourishing and creamy, making it ideal for any occasion, any time of year.

Pro Tip: Pair it with a sweet card or gift tag from our stationery section (found next to the floral boutique) to make your gift complete.

Man in tuxedo pouring a glass of Champagne for woman in fancy dress.

Say Cheese

Whether your heading out to an intimate dinner party or large cocktail fete, one thing’s for certain – a cheese platter elicits the most “oohs” and “ahhs” of any presents. Bonus: there’s almost never any leftovers to clean up afterwards. Anyone can put together a cheese board, but take it to the next level with our award-winning cheeses and accoutrement. Choose from cow, goat, sheep, and plant-based varieties, add in lush olives and spreads, a box or two of crackers and crisps, and you’ve got yourself a winning combination. And before you start stressing that it has to be perfect, gigantic, etc., just know that a few quality ingredients placed on a pretty tray or platter is mighty impressive.

Pro Tip: Using cheeses from different milks offers a variety of flavours. And be sure to offer various textures as well (i.e. soft, semi-firm, firm, hard, etc.).


Close up of black and gold holiday gift bag

Fab Foodie Finds

Heading to a food-lover’s homestead? Don’t sweat, we’ve got a ton of exciting choices. To start:

1. SHM Truffle Popcorn and brand name Truffle Salt. Because t-r-u-f-f-l-e-s.

2. Seedlip. The world’s first non-alcoholic spirits are deelish, thanks to a heap of macerated herbs and botanicals, and the packaging is stunning.

3. Pfft. A box of chocolates is sooo 2009. Instead, grab a stack of superlative chocolate bars from our wide selection and tie up ‘em with string. You won’t believe how good it looks.

4. Good quality olive oil. Not only will it get used, it lasts way longer than a bottle of wine, and doesn’t require wrapping – a simple bow will do.

Pro Tip: Pairing two small items can make a big impact. i.e. An elegant tea with gourmet jam can create a “high tea” experience at home. Olive oil and balsamic vinegar are a natural fit. And so on.

What’s on your holiday list this year? Which ones have you stumped? Post your pics on our FB, IG and Twitter pages with the hashtag #summerhillgiftguide and we’ll help you select the perfect hostess gift.

Stephanie Dickison

Stephanie Dickison

A journalist with over 20 years experience, specializing in restaurants, chefs, food and drink. In addition to daily articles and features, profiling top chefs and interviewing celebs, as editor and feature writer for Toronto Restaurants, her Open/Closed column is a must-read every Thursday morning for the newest openings, and latest news + events. 

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