The recent post on innovative goody bags elicited some wonderful ideas from readers about gifts to send home with guests. Here’s ‘the improvised life’ contributor Lydia Will’s surprising variation on the theme:

“Your post on Page Goolrick’s ingenious goody bags really hit home: It shifts the whole idea of a hostess gift and says to your guests ‘Here’s something for making my night so wonderful’, while sending them off into the night with their own trick-or-treat bag to rifle through when they get home. The pleasures of the evening don’t end with that night: the gifts are an ever-present reminder of a great time, now a memory…the host’s secret pleasure is the joy of giving again.

It reminded me of my wedding – we had a very small wedding at a back yard garden with a home-cooked dinner after. And when dinner was over, we pulled out the presents. Not for my husband and me: we had a for real No Present policy. Instead, my mother and I spent many hours searching for the right gift for each guest, something that said to them: “you are the reason this day is special; it only has meaning because you’re witnessing it”… And finding just the right gift for someone, the gift that really gets them and what they’re about, that’s the trick, and there’s nothing better when you pull it off.

For Hal…a gift certificate for his most feared bugaboo that he has always wanted to stare down: sky diving lessons…

divermasterking2000/via Flickr*

For Daniel , we found a set of hard-to-find Richard Ginori espresso cups that matched his dinnerware.


And the biggest hit of the evening: four tickets to see Al Green at the Apollo theater for my mother-in-law and us, an evening out together, which brought first a huge whooping hurray, and then tears.


The marriage didn’t last, but the gifts have, for everyone. It was, by far, my most cherished memory of that day. That ephemeral marriage lives on in the gifts, which are a constant reminder of the joy we all shared.

Related post: Dinner Party Good Bags

*photo via Creative Commons License

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