DENVER — As 2019 nears its end, we have officially entered the season of holiday parties. Often party guests like to show gratitude to their hosts by bringing a small gift to the party. 

While there is nothing wrong with the traditional bottle of wine or bouquet of cut flowers, why not give the hostess something a little different? You only need to take a quick trip to your local garden center to find the perfect host/hostess gift. 

If you like the idea of flowers, why not give the party host a living plant that will last all season? 

Poinsettias are easy to find this time of year and come in a wide variety of colors and sizes. If poinsettias aren’t their style, a small arrangement that features a tiny pine tree, such as a Norfolk Island Pine is a cute way to mimic a Christmas tree and will be a fun addition to your host’s potted plant collection. 

You can even pair it with other brightly colored plants to add a pop of color.

For another alternative to cut flowers that will last a little longer, try creating an arrangement with evergreen branches. You can cut branches from your landscape, or purchase a bunch from a garden center. 

Find a cute container or even a fun coffee mug and fill it with floral foam soaked in water. Simply cut the branches to a good size for the container and stick them in the floral foam until you have a nice, full arrangement. 

To keep them from drying out and to make them last longer, spray the needles with a natural Christmas tree preservative spray, such as Wilt Stop. Dress up your arrangement with pinecones or decorative birds on floral picks.

Finally, for the host who loves to cook, thank them for their hospitality with potted herbs in cute pots. Many nurseries sell herbs already started in pots this time of year. 

Purchase a trio of different herbs and re-pot them in inexpensive clay pots. Label the herbs with chalkboard stickers affixed to the pots. If you cannot find herbs already started, give your host a pot filled with soil and a packet of herb seeds, so they can start their own. 

Another alternative is to look for rosemary plants that have been shaped to look like small Christmas trees or topiaries. Herbs smell so fresh and festive inside and your hosts will think of you every time they take a cutting to use in their cooking.

One thing to keep in mind with living plants, such as poinsettias and many herbs, is they don’t like freezing temperatures. They will need to be protected from the cold while transporting them to the party. While transporting them to and from the car, carry them in paper bags or enclosed in a box for a little extra protection.

Next time you are invited to a holiday party, don’t show up empty-handed or with the same gifts all the other guests are bringing. Instead, give your hosts natural gifts that will last all season long and beyond!

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