For the bridge player, a playing card themed tip towel and coordinating cocktail napkins. 

The H in holiday has unfortunately come to stand for hurried and hassled. Picking out hostess gifts and presenting them with pride should be fun.

The key to choosing a gift is to get back to basics. You can be stylish and practical at the same time. With a little effort and thought, and not a lot of money, you can find a memorable gift that will be sure to advance your name to the top of the party list year after year.

As an example, a friend of mine recently turned seventy years young. She loves the color orange, so I bought her seven gifts, all in orange hues (cocktail napkins, a key chain, a change purse, a notebook, a travel coffee cup, a candle, and a bracelet). They reflected her personality and style, which was the goal.

Here are some tips for choosing holiday hostess gifts:

1. Dedicate a closet or shelf in your home for gifts year-round so you’re not searching for a gift at the eleventh hour. Whenever you see something that reflects that catches your eye or that reminds you of someone in your social circle, buy it and hold on to it for the holidays. This leaves only the fun part: wrapping the gift elegantly and imaginatively will be the icing on the cake.

2. Coco Chanel once said, “Fashions fade, but style remains eternal.” Those words still ring true today. Trendy gifts come and go, but it’s more important for you to do your homework about the hostess and give a standout gift that will set you apart from other guests. Your gift will be unique and make a lasting impression if it’s based on your personal knowledge of the recipient.

3. Any décor item that the hostess may not wish to showcase in her home is a no-no—even if you know her tastes. There just may not be room for one more thing in her home.

4. Food is always a nice alternative to wine or candles; your friend may already have a closet full of those being saved for re-gifts. Anything homemade—such as preserves or pickles—is perfect because it’s a gift for the entire family.

5. It really is the thought that counts. Gifts need not be expensive, just thoughtful. If you know the hostess well, be observant about her favorite colors, objects, and collectibles. Does she love to garden? Does she write or paint? Does she travel? If need be, ask someone who knows her well to help you select a special gift.

6. If giving to a long-time friend, a gift that memorializes your friendship is ideal. If you traveled together or attended a special event, a book or other reminder of that time is always welcome.

7. Holidays present the perfect opportunity to be thematic in your gift choice. Think decorative place cards, boxed thank-you notes, cocktail napkins—with holiday motifs.