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Ask Jess: Holiday Edition Vol 1

hostess gift ideas

Happy Thursday!

Where has this week gone!? HOW is it December 5th!?

I went to Liz’s Hello Adams Family reader holiday party last night and met SO MANY OF YOU! It made me so incredibly happy! I love that so many of you follow both of us! It was so fun that I didn’t take a single photo or video. ????But if you came up to say hi–thank you! Meeting you guys in person always makes my entire day!

Anyway, it’s been a minute since we did an Ask Jess!! I got so many holiday-related questions from you guys over Black Friday/Cyber Monday that I thought it would be great to pick some of the most common ones to answer in today’s post. Let’s go!

Gift ideas on what to get a new boyfriend that I just started dating? Something nice but isn’t too much–I don’t want to be weird! 

Neal ALWAYS recommends a good bottle of his favorite spirit––whiskey is always a foolproof one. He loves Basil Haydens. If he doesn’t have nice whiskey glasses already–Waterford tumblers would be an AMAZING pairing alongside it. Or, for a more budget-friendly version, we have these from Crate & Barrel and love them!

You could also do an experience gift––has he dropped any bits of knowledge that might make for a good gift? Did he mention that he’s always wanted to play guitar? Or that thinks that boxing sounds fun? Get him a couple private lessons! Or is there a restaurant he’s always wanted to go to? Make a reso there!

Or, you could just plan a fun day or night where everything is your treat! Something like a show and dinner, or if he’s more into adventure, you could do something like a class at a local climbing gym followed by brunch. If you live in Chicago, a trip to the Aire Ancient Baths would be super cool!

What was that care package box company you posted on stories the other day!? I thought it would make a good out of the box gift! 

Small Packages!! I was first introduced to the company last year when she launched and we partnered together for a giveaway, but I fell in love with the concept and the owner, Julie, and I totally hit it off! She makes curated gift boxes (each at three price points–$35, $50, $100) for all occasions (good and bad). All the goodies in her gift boxes are from small (mostly women-owned) businesses. I can’t recommend them enough as a gift! (More on that below!)

Favorite gifts that give back? 

I really wanted to get a whole “gives back” gift guide up but alas, time has gotten away from me! Off the top of my head, two big standouts, both were featured in my Jess’ Favorite Things gift guide!

Lotto Love:  The cutest concept: They’re “lottery style” scratch where you win for charity! The cutest stocking stuffer!

Small Packages Social Justice box: A care package that starts at $35 and contains an amazing selection of goodies curated from a small business with a social mission–from chocolate that builds health centers to notebooks that resettle refugees. (Lotto Love is actually one of the goodies included!) 10% of proceeds are donated to RAICES. You can get 15% off your first order with code JESSKEYS!

Random, but do you have any favorite bottles of wine that are relatively budget-friendly (but like, socially acceptable?) to bring to holiday parties? I’d love to stock up on several bottles!! 

Find a local wine shop: So, my first suggestion would actually be to find a local mom and pop wine shop and go in and tell them your budget, what kind of wine you usually like to drink, and have them suggest something. This is our favorite thing to do, we’ve never had a bad suggestion––so much better than guessing (AKA picking wine by the label, haha!) and also, since they’re more obscure, smaller label wines, nobody will know it was that cheap!! ????Our favorite wine shops in Chicago are Joe’s Wine Cellar, Madison Vine Wines, and also Foxtrot always has a great selection of wines for every budget!

“In a pinch” wine you can find everywhere: Meomi Pinot Noir,  Mark West Pinot Noir, La Marca Prosecco, Chloe Prosecco, Josh Cabernet, and Kim Crawford Sav Blanc are all bottles I grab at the grocery store! For Chardonnay, Clos du Bois is always a good one, or my MIL (the real Chardonnay expert) says always to snag a bottle Cambria if it’s on sale, and she also loves Fitvine, it’s a clean wine!

Wine from Trader Joe’s: Any red made by MoonX or TJ’s Reserve is decent. As is Villa Cerrina’s Montepulciano. (I find that it’s hard to mess up a Montepulciano–it’s one of my favorites.) If you like white wine, I always recommend grabbing a Vino Verdhe–they have a great selection at TJ’s. It’s a really great (super affordable!) white wine from Portugal that is super drinkable and goes with everything. Plus, you’ll look way cooler showing up with a bottle of this than a bottle of two buck chuck Chardonnay. ????But always, when in doubt, grab a TJ’s employee (they usually always have someone who is knowledgeable about wine working!) and ask their advice!

That’s all for now–hope you have the best day today! Have more questions? Feel free to DM me on Instagram anytime!

Want more ask Jess? Read ALL my Ask Jess posts right here