Super-cute-just-had-a-baby Laura writes: With Holiday Parties right around the corner, I need some ideas for great Hostess gifts. Any thoughts?

This question is on my mind as well, Laura. And before I launch out with another Design Mom list, I should mention there may be something that inspires you on the other gift discussion posts and accompanying comments: teachers gifts, party favors, & neighbor gifts.

But let’s talk hostess gifts in particular. Here are a few ideas I like — largely based on hostess gifts I’ve received over the years:

1) Bring a really good container of spice. Something you can’t get at the basic grocery store. Choose one of the holiday spices: cinnamon or ginger or nutmeg or cloves. Try Dean and Deluca or Whole Spice.

2) Similar to above, but I love a good container of mulling spices. As I was growing up, my mom kept a pot of these going on the stove through the holidays and it makes the whole house smell wonderful. I’ve continued the tradition. In reality, you don’t need mulling spices to pull this off, you can use whatever holiday spices are in the cupboard. But it’s nice to have a pretty container on the counter and save the real spices for baking.

3) A succulent. Jordan posted about them here. On trend. Unusual. Easy. Trader Joes currently has a great selection — complete with ceramic pots — and they only run about $4.

4) Holiday Books. Bring a holiday recipe book. Or a holiday craft book. Or Olive, the Other Reindeer.

5) I never sneeze at sugar. Peppermint bark, caramels, chocolates, boxes of Apple Jacks. Whatever.

6) A cute set of holiday-ish dishtowels that she can use past Christmas.

7) A holiday CD. Find some great suggestions in the comments here.

8) Be your own Harry & David. Bring a tray of perfectly ripened pears. Or some huge Fuji apples from Costco repackaged in a pretty basket and tied up with some ribbon would do the trick.

9) Winter’s coming. Your hostess will need some good handcream in her handbag. Lots of choices here.

There are a few ideas to get you started. I’m sure my trusty readers will lengthen the list, (please).