Our son is getting married this summer. I would like to put a gift basket in the hotel rooms of our out of town guests. Does anyone have any suggestions for inexpensive items?
Jeanne from Oregon City, Oregon
Some times hotel toiletries can be skimpy and not all that great. Go to your local dollar store, and find some nice lotions and soaps. Maybe bubble bath and a small thing of mints - especially if they are staying at a hotel where they don't provide them. Small touches are nice. If you are really trying to save some bucks hit your local cosmetics counters and snag some samples, good basket stuffers. Or fruit and nuts are a good option too. If they have children you may want to provide some coloring books and crayons or maybe puzzles and magazines. you can also find them at a good dollar store. Good luck
The dollar store suggestion is great, & here's another one, my recipes for SUPER EASY, SUPER CHEAP homemade luxury bath products: Bath Salts, Bath Oil & Bath Fizzies
-----> Here's my personal recipe for bath salts: SUPER EASY & FAST!
* Epson salts or large rock salt (the kind you put on your sidewalk to melt ice)
* Food Coloring
* Paper plates
* Essential Oil (scented oil) I like grapefruit oil... use what you like. You can get this at a health food store
* Rubbing Alcohol
* Paper Towels
* Pretty Glass Containers or Baggies w/ Ribbon
---In a disposable cup or bowl mix together about 3 or so Tablespoons of alcohol.
To the alcohol add a few drops of the scented oil & about 8 or so drops of food coloring & stir well.
---Put the salt into a disposable bowl or cup & pour just enough of the scented & colored alcohol mixture over the salt to barely wet it.
--- Take about 6 paper plates & between each paper plate put 2 paper towels (ie: stack 1 P-plate, then 2 P towels, the a P plate, etc.)
--- Pour wet scented salt mixture on the stacked paper plates.
---Microwave the wet salt mixture for 1 to 2 minute, then stir, microwave for another minute, stir again.... Keep micro-waving until the alcohol is nearly evaporated from the salt.
--- When the scented salt mixture is TOTALLY cooled down, pour into your nice containers.
--- To use, add a bit to your bath when running the water.
( You could supply a small scoop & tie this onto the bath salts with a pretty ribbon)
***a few important notes: You can change up the recipe & add more scented oil or more color if you like. (Blue works well & looks cool in the bath water) When making this, do it AFTER dinner, as it will REALLY smell up the house & you'll want your microwave to air out for a few hours before using it for food. Do not make this in a house where people have allergies or asthma! You might need to open the windows & air the place out a bit or you could just take the microwave to the outside porch. The smell of the rubbing alcohol will totally go away after the salt has dried & cooled. (or you can use 100 proof Vodka to make this recipe) These handmade products should be kept out of the sun & in a dark cool place with tight caps. The recipe I gave you is for a small batch, just add more color, scent, alcohol & salt to make more. You can always add more food coloring& stir it into the wet salt mixture before it's microwaved if the color isn't dark enough for you, but before adding more oil, always mix it with a bit of alcohol.
MY RECIPE FOR EASY BATH OIL:
--- Mix together MINERAL OIL (it's located in the drug store or grocery store in the "Laxative" area)
--- Essential oil
---& coloring (the food coloring won't mix with the oil unless you first mix the food color with a few drops of alcohol) OR you can use liquid Icing coloring.
--- Pour into pretty bottles
* Recipes for BATH FIZZIES:
* Recipes for MORE bath products:
*** One thing I often forget when traveling is a nice sharp razor. Bic now makes a wonderful & cool looking disposable razor. It would be nice to pack a few of these in each basket too!
*** You might also add several hand towels or wash cloths in the basket. To make it fun, why not use colorful "dishtowels" instead of hand towels... Buy these at the Dollar store or in a 6 pack at Walmart.
*** About Dollar Stores, you may need to try out several because in my area one brand (Dollar Tree) carries shrink wrap for gift baskets & one does not. Wicker baskets are also available in most dollar stores.
---> As far as Scents go, they say that most people favor "Fruit" type of scents, ie; Grapefruit, Lemon & also Vanilla & food type of scents (gingerbread, etc). They say that one of the favorite scents for men is Vanilla (because it reminds them of their mom's baking!)
---> As far as expense goes. Citrus essential oils are the least expensive (Lemon, Lime, Orange, Grapefruit, Tangerine)... These are food grade & are okay for use on the skin. Do not use "perfume scents" when making Bath Products. Use ONLY pure essential oils. These have less chance of allergies & skin irritation because they are 100% natural. If you choose to make bath products in bulk, it's best to use only 1 or 2 scents & order them online, you can buy a 4 or 8 oz bottle for a very good price. If you have a friend that has a wholesale number, you may even get a lower price. If you are only making a few things, one small bottle of oil from your health food store will be enough.
* Here's a few online essential oil sellers: but SHOP AROUND prices vary greatly!
IMPORTANT: Allergies... I am allergic to cinnamon oil. so, if you put a basket with cinnamon scented products in my room, my whole face would turn red, break out in hives & hurt... It may be a good idea to find out if anyone you know has allergies before using strong scents. I would recommend vanilla, or maybe making a blend of orange/vanilla (a cream-sicle scent). & keepthe scent light, not strong! But this is you party, so you decide what works for you.
---> You could do a "Theme"... say for example, the brides' bouquet flowers are Lilac's... you could use the lilac scent, or say the bridesmaids' dresses are Lavender in color, you could use the scent of lavender in the gift baskets. (Lavender is a good scent for men as well as women) ... say, for example, the wedding colors are Lemon or Tangerine. or Sage... Then maybe do the gift baskets in that theme or at least tie the top ribbons in the wedding colors. It's all about the packaging, not so much about what's actually IN the basket. Just make it LOOK pretty & everyone will go crazy!
* I don't know much about wedding "protocol" & this may be the Brides', mother's domain, but if want to do this & you haven't the time, you may get the bridesmaids to make the bath products or get a friend that would love to help put together the baskets... (Like me for example, I have more time than money & would just love to do something like this for a wedding gift instead of actually "Buying" a gift for the wedding couple)
---> One extra idea: Either take extra scented bath salts or buy cedar-shavings at the pet store & put the shavings in a glass jar with a tight lid & add scent to the cedar. Let sit for at least 1 week, so the cedar absorbs the scent. Then pour either the scented shavings or the bath salts into fancy envelopes that you have printed (or stamped) with a pretty design & a nice message. On the back, mention the scent & say something like: "this is a scented sachet, place it in your drawer or closet" ... Blah, blah, blah...anyway, you get the idea.
I hope I've helped in some small way... Send me a message on this site if you, or anyone else has any questions.
also you could add things like travel size shampoo or toothpaste in case they forgot to pack any. I have done that and had to run out and buy some.
I would go with snack ideas; maybe a bottle of wine, fruit, nuts, mints or whatever. Also include good written directions of the route from the hotel to the various sites of the wedding, reception, etc. And, top it off with a short handwritten note thanking them for sharing in the occasion.
I did this for my wedding. I was getting married in a rustic lodge, so we took lunch bags and sponge-stamped them with moose, sailboats, fish and turtles.
Then, we bought a bunch of snackies at Costco and filled up the bags with:
-Rice krispie treats (less than 10c each)
-2 Cans of pop (25c each)
-bags of single-serv pocorn and chips (17c each)
-mini chocolate bars (less then 5c each)
There were a couple additional things in there that I can't remember (it was over 2 years ago now), but the final bags were $2.50 each for 50 guests. We got lots of compliments on how cute they were!
Snackies are the best because after a night of drinking and dancing, EVERYONE is hungry. :-)
I would include large individually cello-wrapped cookies - a substantial snack with a cup of coffee or tea. Canned candy is ideal for travelling in a car or plane. Canned nuts are great with an alcoholic drink either in the hotel or on the plane. Cans are easier to keep sealed once opened when travelling. Have fun with your task !
Think of the times you have stayed in a hotel and wished you had something or other that you didn't bring along. Necessities like nail file, pantihose, mouthwash or floss, etc or luxuries like a fragranced candle, new magazine, snack item, flashlight or nitelite...
Maybe a packet of coupons to local eateries.
A listing of local attractions that they might enjoy during the times of no wedding related festivities.
A listing of places they might need (like a 24 hour pharmacy, locations of ATM's,
We did gift bags for our guests. I put popcorn, candy made locally, tea, hot choc packets, snacks, pen, note pad, tissues, directions, and a list of restaurants. It was a hit. Go simple but yet a nice surprise treat.
God Bless you on your marriage. Remember the wedding ends at the end of the reception but the marriage is for a life time. Put your value there, your baskets will be shortly forgotten.
For our daughter and son-in-law's wedding, I had a local bakery make big heart shaped frosted sugar cookies with their monogram piped on them. I put them in cellophane treat bags and tied them with curly ribbon. I then put them in gift bags (one cookie per person) with lots of tissue paper as protection. I threw a handful of chocolate kisses in each bag, as well. My husband and I wrote a personal note to tuck in each bag. The front desk of the hotel handed them out as each guest registered. This was also a very good way for us to keep track of when guests arrived -- all we had to do was check to see which bags remained.