There's no more avoiding the obvious: the last weekend of summer is looming. Hopefully the past few months held long, languorous days devoted to soaking up the sun in good company. If a trip away for Labour Day weekend is in the cards, bringing along something nice for your host could keep you as a guest in good standing.
Flowers or a great bottle of wine are always good, safe bets, but if you're jockeying to be top of mind for the first long weekend invite for next spring, it might be time to stock some other gifts.
Nothing says unabashed relaxation more than being horizontal with a book. If you know your host well enough, you could pick up a display-worthy coffee table book on a topic they are into. If you know them intimately and think they share your taste in literature, you could pick up copies of some of your favourite reads.
Magazines For The Year
Magazine subscriptions are the gift that keeps on giving. If you have a sense of what they read and subscribe to, you could bring the latest issue of a magazine with a note explaining that you've arranged for year's subscription.
Foods that can be lazily grazed on are perfect because they don't impede your host's planned menu or cramp their kitchen. Bring along fresh baked goods to add to tomorrow's breakfast table, or visit a great patisserie for treats -- like fresh marshmallows and macaroons -- that will last for a few days. Buy twice the amount and you'll even have excellent snacks for the drive....
Not to knock the ubiquitous bottle of wine, but there are boundless options when it comes to boozy gifts. Bring along the ingredients for a classic cocktail (Negronis are my favourite) and a classic shaker, or find a gorgeous pitcher and whip up a few batches of sangria. Just ensure you've brought all the ingredients to keep out of your host's hair.
Coffee and tea
Put together a basket of some freshly ground high-end coffee and some gorgeous teas. It could also be packaged prettily into a teapot or a French press -- salvation for a die-hard coffee drinker should they find themselves a guest in the home of a non-coffee drinking host.