Recently, I was a guest at a dinner party hosted by architect Page Goolrick. She not only designs beautiful spaces, but lighting (for Nessen) and cool desk accessories (for MOMA), and shawls (for Takashimaya).
At the end of an evening being wonderfully fed and welcomed by Page, each guest received a goody bag filled with treasures she had curated. Traditionally, goody bags are shopping bags of samples or gifts that PR people give out at the end of an event to promote something, whether a new food item, or a movie, or a fashion line. Page took the notion and turned it on its ear. She gave her guests little things she loves: a bag full of surprises that was like opening a Christmas stocking – for grownups! Here’s what was in it:
-sweet olive-oil tortas (cookies) from Spain (that Page had served for dessert)
-bright orange industrial rubber gloves
-a white tennis ball, that Page says is great for rolling your feet or back around on, to work out kinks and tension
-a pair of black steel Japanese ikebana scissors, like a useful little sculpture
-a handy plastic air/water-tight container for traveling
-a set of pencils she designed for MOMA
-a packet of sculptural skewar/spears made of bamboo (Page uses them as handles for hors d’oeuvres)
Page’s charming goody bag got me thinking about the many possibilities for giving something unexpected for guests to take home. It doesn’t have to be a whole bag: one cool thing’s plenty. (“I’ve got enough to do giving a dinner party” you might think, but for a special occasion or very special people, it can be well worth the effort.) I think of how swell it is when a restaurant sends me home with a little baked sweet bread for breakfast, and imagine…
…a little package of anything home-made that you might have served for dessert, say chocolates or cookies, or dried apricots-in-cardamom syrup packed into teeny canning jars (just a midnight snack’s worth)…
…or something bought that you find really delicious and rare, repacked in smallish amounts, like the fragrant candied yuzu peel they sell at Minamoto Kitchoan, the amazing Japanese pastry store (can buy bags at Papermart or at your local bakery).
…or a few crocus bulbs for sprouting in winter (with instructions)…
…or a print-out of What Matters Now, the amazing free e-book Seth Godin master-minded…
…or Dollar Store selections…(where you can buy great looking shopping bags to put the stuff in)
…or…What’s your good idea?
*photo of fruit peel courtesy of Mokeneco via Flickr and Creative Commons License