Find a Gift Your Thanksgiving Host Will Adore

November has arrived, which means it’s the perfect time to bond with your family and friends and spend time remembering all the things in your life for which you are most grateful. If you’ve been invited to celebrate Thanksgiving Day or Friendsgiving at someone else’s home this year, be sure to extend your gratitude to your host with a thoughtful gift. At VanderSalm’s Flower Shop and Garden Center, serving Kalamazoo and the surrounding areas, we’ve put together an extensive list of creative, thoughtful, and fun ideas for host and hostess gifts.

Why It’s Important to Bring a Hostess Gift

Bringing a gift is the traditional and politest way to thank your host for their hospitality. You should always bring a token of your appreciation when invited to someone’s home for a nice meal or other event. Bring a gift even if you’re attending a potluck-style meal because it still takes a lot of work to organize and prepare one’s home for guests.

Perfect Gift Ideas for Any Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving Host

1. Friendsgiving


Similar to Thanksgiving, but strictly reserved for friends, Friendsgiving is a great way to spend time with your closest pals. It’s usually scheduled for the Wednesday before or after Thanksgiving Day to make sure everyone’s available. Less formal than Thanksgiving, fun is always on the table. Feel free to choose a playful gift for your host.

  1. A game to play after dinner
  2. Fuzzy, festive socks to keep your friend’s toes cozy all season
  3. A candle that smells like the best part of the season – pumpkin pie!
  4. An assortment of comical fridge magnets
  5. A fresh yoga matt to encourage a healthy holiday season
  6. Bath bombs to help your friend unwind after hosting
  7. A kitschy pair of oven mitts

2. Thanksgiving with Your In-Laws

Harvest Moon

You should never arrive empty-handed at your in-laws’ house. If you’ll be meeting your partner’s parents for the first time at Thanksgiving or have known them for ages, you should still bring a gift. They’re inviting you into their home, family, and holiday traditions. Show your gratitude with a thoughtfully selected hostess gift.

  1. A stunning arrangement of autumn flowers to brighten up any corner of the room
  2. A stylish cheeseboard with knives and cheese markers
  3. Whiskey stones and a bottle of locally distilled spirits
  4. High-quality serving utensils since everyone needs extras at Thanksgiving dinner
  5. A sleek essential oil diffuser with a pleasant holiday scent
  6. A pretty box of gourmet macarons or chocolates
  7. An expensive bottle of wine with a new opener, aerator, or a set of wine glass charms

3. Thanksgiving with Your Family

Amber Waves

If you plan to spend the Thanksgiving holiday at home, you should still bring a gift to show how much you appreciate your family. Choose an item your parents or grandparents will appreciate or bring something that’ll help everyone make happy memories on Thanksgiving Day.

  1. New toys to occupy the resident fur-friends
  2. A sunny arrangement of pretty autumn flowers
  3. A children’s game or craft project
  4. Hydrating hand wash so no one gets sick
  5. A set of decorative kitchen towels
  6. Specialty coffee to brew with dessert
  7. Festive coasters to protect your mom’s or grandma’s furniture

Fail-Proof Flowers Win Every Time

If you’re still not sure what sort of gift to get for your Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving host, then choose flowers, a potted plant, or a centerpiece. Nature never goes out of style, and these gifts are appropriate for any host. If you decide to bring flowers, be sure to purchase an arrangement that’s ready to go. Freshly cut flowers need to be trimmed and arranged, tasks that your host won’t have time to worry about while entertaining guests.

We welcome you to stop by VanderSalm’s Flower Shop and Garden Center for a personalized recommendation and assistance with finding a gift for your Thanksgiving host or hostess.

5 Quick and Easy Front Porch Decorating Ideas for Autumn

One of the best ways to participate in the fun of fall is to decorate your front porch, steps, and door with a seasonal display. Outdoor autumn displays add to the season’s beauty and give your Kalamazoo home a warm, welcoming, and cheerful look. With these simple tips from our design experts at VanderSalm’s Flowershop and Garden Center, you’ll instantly increase your curb appeal, impressing your neighbors, friends, and family with your home’s festive exterior.

1. Fall Flowers

Mums and Pumpkins

Chrysanthemums are fall’s favorite flowers. They grow in several variations of blooms — from buttons to spider chrysanthemums — and they bloom in just about every color of the rainbow, including all of autumn’s favorites like yellow, gold, bronze, orange, copper, and red! Potted chrysanthemums are perfect for this time of year. Since they’re in season in the fall, they’ll bloom abundantly until winter. Just be sure to bring yours inside before any frosty weather. To create a visually interesting floral display, consider mixing potted mums with other potted flowers and plants like goldenrod, sunflowers, marigolds, lantana, leafy croton plants, and purple-green potted kale.

2. Cozy Textiles

Fall Textiles

If you have outdoor furniture on your front porch, now’s the time to switch out your summery pillows and cushions for ones featuring autumn-style prints and fabrics. Look pillows and cushions in plaid printed flannel and wool featuring autumn colors like apple red, dark green, gold, and navy. Add a few warm blankets to the pile, so you can snuggle up with a mug of hot apple cider on a chilly day and enjoy a pretty autumn day!

3. Pile on the Pumpkins

Fall Porch

Fall wouldn’t be fall without pumpkins — lots of them! Don’t be afraid to go a little crazy when it comes to adding pumpkins and gourds to your autumn decorations. You really can’t have too many (unless they’re blocking your doorway). Select several in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and textures to add visual dynamic to your design.

Although carving pumpkins is popular for Halloween, we recommend leaving them intact to ensure they last throughout the fall season. Instead of hollowing them out, you can spray them in metallic silver or gold or paint them with fun designs, using festive seasonal stencils. If you’re hosting a party or dinner, stack a few and paint them with your house number to help your guests find your home with ease.

4. Front Door Fun

Fall Porch with Apples

Don’t forget your front door. To create a welcoming display, this should always be the focal point of your design. You can do playful decorations, like this basket of sweet hospitality or hang a more traditional wreath featuring autumn flowers, miniature pumpkins, pinecones, and fall ribbons. If your door’s design can’t accommodate a wreath, then you can highlight it by draping a garland of flowers or foliage around the frame.

5. Be Abundant

Festive Fall Porch

Harvest, a favorite theme of fall, is all about abundance. So, why not decorate abundantly too? You can create a cornucopia look on your front porch by mixing all sorts of different autumn decorations like flowers, other potted plants, pumpkins, and autumn accents like cornstalks, hay bales, and scarecrows. To keep everything looking put-together and balanced, go for an arrangement that maintains a line of symmetry around the focal point of your design, which is probably the front door.

Decorate with Fall Flowers Indoors, Too!

There’s no reason the festive fun has to stop at the front door! You can celebrate the season with fall floral arrangements designed especially for your home. You can bring the beauty of an autumn stroll to the center of your dining room table with our beloved Sugar Maples arrangement. This bouquet features chrysanthemums in all the favorite colors of fall (yellow, bronze, and green) accented with orange roses, sunflowers, hypericum berries, and eucalyptus. This bouquet feels just like walking through a forest of changing leaves!

To view our complete selection of autumn floral designs, we welcome you to stop by VanderSalm’s Flowershop and Garden Center or browse our selection online!

Terrifically Terrifying Flowers for October

At VanderSalm’s Flower Shop and Garden Center of Kalamazoo, we welcome October and the heart of Autumn with great enthusiasm! While our florists are excited to celebrate the season with scary movies, changing leaves, and caramel apples, we love celebrating every season and holiday with flowers. So, this October, we’re getting into the Halloween spirit by sharing some of the creepiest and weirdest flowers from around the world. Keep reading, if you dare!

Top 3 Flowers of Terror

1. Titan Arum

Sumatran corpse flower – Titan Arum

This beast of a flower is native to the island of Sumatra and gets its name from the Greek word for giant because it’s a truly enormous flower. When in full bloom, this colossal plant can reach heights of up to 20 feet and can grow up to 16 feet wide! The impressive size of this carrion flower, however, isn’t its only claim to fame. It also emits a stench to rival its girth. Designed to attract pollinators usually drawn to dead animals, like flies and beetles, the titan arum puts out an aroma said to smell like decaying fish, feces, Limburger cheese, sweaty socks, chloraseptic, and something slightly sweet. 

2. Stinking Corpse Lily

Stinking Corpse Lily

Another Sumatran carrion flower, the stinking corpse lily gets its name from its odor which unpleasantly resembles that of rotting flesh. In spite of its strong stench, you might see it before you smell it. This bright red, yellow-spotted specimen is the largest type of single flower in the world. Some individual blooms have measured at almost three-and-a-half feet wide. Looking like something from an alien planet, the stinking corpse lily has no roots, leaves, or stems, like other flowers. Instead, this flower lives in and feeds off nutrients from host vines, like a parasite.

3. Hydnora Africana


Another parasitic chiller, the hydnora africana is native to southern Africa and lives its life almost entirely underground. This plant has no chlorophyll and, instead, eats the roots of plants innocently growing nearby. When the plant’s ready to reproduce it’s monster-like flowers burst through the soil. They give off a foul smell, which attracts creepy pollinators like dung beetles and flies. When these insects land on the flower’s flesh, its jaw-like petals close in, trapping the unsuspecting bugs. 

This plant is so terrifying that it’s believed to have inspired many scary characters throughout the ages. These include the monsters from “Tremors” and Netflix’s “Stranger Things,” in addition to the plant character from “Little Shop of Horrors.”

Popular Flowers for Fall and Halloween

You don’t need a bouquet of carrion flowers to decorate for Halloween. In fact, it’s probably best if you skip the bad smells and head straight for more popular October choices. 

Black Roses

Black Rose

Black roses are a favorite for creating both macabre and festive floral arrangements for Halloween. All-black bouquets look eerie and elegant at Halloween dinners or costume parties. They also make an impact when used for a bridal bouquet at a Halloween wedding ceremony. Mixed with yellow and orange flowers, black roses take on a fun, festive look and can be embellished with Halloween ribbons or flower picks featuring glittery spiders, ghosts, or pumpkins. 


Orange Mums

Flowers for fall don’t have to be spooky, dark, or scary; they can be bright and happy, too! In fact, one of the most popular types of flowers for fall traditionally symbolizes cheerfulness, the chrysanthemum. Usually displayed as potted plants in decorative, autumn-themed planters, chrysanthemums feature copious amounts of blooms. Available in almost every color you can imagine, it’s easy to find them in the perfect colors for October, such as orange, yellow, gold, and burgundy. Chrysanthemums look beautiful adorning a front door, porch, or entryway. They create a warm, welcoming look that will attract trick-or-treaters and your favorite guests! To keep them healthy all season long, be sure to bring them indoors before any frosty weather. 

Decorate Your October with These Autumn Favorites

Could your October use a little more pizzazz? Flowers are the way to get it! At VanderSalm’s Flower Shop and Garden Center, we have everything you need to create a cozily happy or frightfully spooky October with unique autumn floral arrangements.

Trendy Autumn

Our expert florists can help you select the perfect floral designs to decorate your fall, October, or Halloween. We welcome you to stop by our floral shop or order online today!

A Guide to Choosing and Sending The Perfect Get-Well Blooms

Sending thoughtful wishes for a speedy recovery is always a great idea when someone you know and love is in the hospital. Sending flowers can make a difference in how quickly they recover. Flowers are known to increase positivity and speed up recovery time for patients. When people feel happy, they heal more quickly. But how do you know which flowers to send and what they will mean?

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Decorate with Mums!

Summer is almost over, so it is time to start thinking about the fall blooms! Chrysanthemums are the quintessential autumn flower. Traditional colors of bronze, orange and yellow complement the fall holiday displays for Halloween and Thanksgiving. In contrast, some varieties of mums enhance your home décor with bright pinks and reds and purples. Mums come in many different sizes and textures to make fall decorating effortless. The floral experts at VanderSalm’s Flowershop & Garden Center are waiting to show you our favorite Chrysanthemum arrangements and potted plants.

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Fun Fall Flowers

Fall is a wonderful time to enjoy change. The temperature drops to something cooler and more comfortable, the leaves on trees change their colors and children return to school. What a perfect time to see amazing fall colors everywhere you look. While we often think of spring and summer as flower-friendly months, fall should not be overlooked. The deep, bold colors and rich textures of fall flowers are second to none. The floral designers at VanderSalm’s Flowershop are excited about our beautiful fall collection and want to share our beautiful floral designs and blooming plants with you throughout the Kalamazoo area. This season, take a look at our amazing line and find something that emulates fall to you.

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4 Ways To Honor Grandparents

As summer comes to a close, and September arrives, it’s almost time to remember how truly special our grandparents are. The second Sunday after Labor Day in September is Grandparents Day. Since 1979, we’ve been honoring the love and devotion of the special people in our lives. With our professional delivery services, VanderSalm’s Flowershop & Garden Center can make sure your grandparents in a hospital room, nursing home or assisted living facility anywhere in the greater Kalamazoo area are well taken care of. And, of course, we also deliver to residences as well. The experts at VanderSalm’s Flowershop & Garden Center have created a list of four ways to honor grandparents.

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What To Include In Back-To-School Care Packages

As college students return to campus in the fall, we want to help you send them on their way successfully. Sometimes students don’t realize what they need until they get back to school. With a little help from the designers at VanderSalm’s Flowershop & Garden Center, you can send a great back-to-school gift care package that includes fun practical, items for your student.

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Unearth New Items

Discovering something new and intriguing is always an exciting adventure. When you unearth a new item that can bring joy and delight to someone special, it’s like striking gold. At VanderSalm’s Flowershop & Garden Center, we have some amazingly unique finds that you’re sure to love. Beyond our lovely floral designs and garden treasures, our shop features some intriguing gifts and items for your home that will be your next favorite discovery. 

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Celebrate Summer and 4th of July

With the start of the summer season, there are so many ways to celebrate the warm days! 4th of July brings friends, family, fireworks and fun! The symbolic colors of red, white and blue are familiar at this time of year. We also love bright flowers and cool green plants that offer the ability to add color to our outdoor spaces. The 4th of July holiday is a great time to spruce up the backyard, deck or patio for the summer festivities. Let VanderSalm’s Flowershop & Garden Center be your go to place for all your gardening and decorating needs. 

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