10 cheap Cinco de Mayo party gifts

Cinco de Mayo celebrtationCinco de Mayo is on a Wednesday this year, which could lead to fewer parties during the middle of the week celebrating Mexican heritage, or a big bash on Ocho de Mayo.

Either way, here are a few cheap gifts to bring to a Cinco de Mayo party to save your wallet but s
still add to the festivities:

  1. Imported beer. It wouldn't be a Cinco de Mayo party without Mexican beer, so go to your local grocery store and grab a six-pack of a Mexican import such as Modelo, Dos XX's or Corona for about $6, although it's a lot cheaper in Mexico.
  2. Habanero sauce can be made at home inexpensively and most pantries should include all of the ingredients except for the habanero peppers. If you don't want to make it, a small bottle at a Mexican market should cost $2 or so.
  3. Margarita mixes are inexpensive, such as $6.85 for this bottle. Good tequila is also needed, if you want to bring a bottle of that also. There are all kinds of margarita recipes.
  4. Margarita glasses are a cheap gift, although a set of glasses can add up. Try to find one or two glasses to bring along.
  5. Cheap CDs of mariachior other Mexican-themed music. Amazon has some mariachi music for sale for $5.49 for a CD. Or better yet, make a CD yourself.
  6. Fresh produce from home. Bring a bag of limes, tomatoes or avocados from your garden, if you have them. There's nothing better than fresh salsa, so bringing these items with an onion and hot pepper will give you the chance to entertain the crowd while making some salsa.
  7. Sombrero. Party City sells a straw sombrero for $3.99. If you ever went to Chevys for your birthday and got a free sombrero, and were smart enough to keep it, now is the time to pull it out of the closet.
  8. A mini cactus should cost less than $3 and can be found at many stores. They make excellent gifts because they're difficult to kill.
  9. A beautiful Mexican blanket is an inexpensive gift, if you live near the Mexican border. They cost $3 to $10 and can be bought in the United States or Mexico. They can be bought for the same prices online, but minimum orders worth $100 are required at one site I found.
  10. Bring some cheap Mexican food. You can either cook some up at home, or for anywhere from $10 to $25 you can go to a local Mexican restaurant and buy some rice, beans, salsa, tortillas and some meat. Or go to El Pollo Loco, which can quickly pack up an order to go, or give your host a gift card so they can eat there later. And no matter how much you like Taco Bell, don't bring Taco Bell food to a Cinco de Mayo celebration. It might get you kicked out of the party.
Aaron Crowe is a freelance journalist in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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