Thoughtful Hostess Gifts are something that you should start considering as soon as you receive an invitation.
Wine and flowers, while they may be appreciated, are not thoughtful gifts. You want your gift to say that you really appreciate their effort and that you put some thought into choosing a special gift for them.
In the world of entertaining and giving hostess gifts, we have to turn to the OG of etiquette, Emily Post.
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When is it appropriate to bring a hostess gift?
Any time you receive an invitation from someone who will be spending time and effort on hosting you, it is always lovely to take them something to show your appreciation for their effort.
If someone has invited you to their home and prepared a meal for you, you know that they put in some effort to host you. They have probably spent time cleaning their home in preparation as well as purchasing and preparing food.
Showing up with a gift for the hostess, no matter how small, is a great way to say, “Thank You”. It lets them know that you acknowledge and appreciate their effort.
What is Hostess Gift Etiquette?
Unfortunately, the practice of bringing a gift for the hostess is not as common as it used to be.
My copy of Emily Post’s Etiquette is about 30 years old and I have refrained from updating it because I prefer the traditional etiquette of long ago.
If a hostess is throwing a party in your honor, it is very nice to send the hostess flowers before the party. This way they can be set out during the party for everyone to enjoy. It is not necessary for the other guests of the party to bring the hostess a gift. Although a phone call the next day to say what a great time was had, is always appreciated.
It is not recommended to take food to a party unless requested by the hostess. It could be seen as awkward if he/she feels obligated to serve it when they already had something else planned.
Wine is acceptable but be prepared for it to not be served. Quite often, the hostess already has wine chosen and chilled.
Emily Post recommends not bringing a gift at all to a large party. It could be awkward if the other guests didn’t bring anything.
This is where I disagree with her a bit. I typically try to bring something to large parties. I know how much effort and preparation it takes to host a party with a large guest list. Showing my appreciation with a gift is important to me.
What makes the perfect hostess gift?
The perfect hostess gift is something that you have thoughtfully chosen for her/him based on their interests and needs. Of course, no one has ever turned down the typical flowers and wine. But taking a little time to get something that your hostess will enjoy shows that you took the time to think about them when choosing their gift.
While the internet is littered with lists of the perfect hostess gifts, there is no one size fits all gift if you want it to be something meaningful to them.
When choosing a gift for your host/hostess, take a second to reflect on them as a person. Think about the sort of things they enjoy doing. How do they spend their time? What are the important things to them?
For example, if someone invites you to dinner, it’s a pretty safe bet that they enjoy entertaining. You could get them one (or a collection) of the latest kitchen gadgets. This would be something they could use and enjoy. Check out my Ultimate Kitchen Guide for more ideas.
If your neighbor invites you to a Christmas luncheon, you could bring something to add to their Christmas decor, such as a poinsettia. Or maybe she enjoys gardening. You could get her a gift that gardeners love.
Inexpensive Hostess Gift Ideas
You don’t have to spend a lot of money on a thoughtful hostess gift. Just something small will let your host/hostess know that you appreciate them. It really is the thought that counts when it comes to Thoughtful Hostess Gifts.
Ideas for Hostess Gifts Under $10
- seasonal dish towels
- nice spice or fancy vanilla
- candy – Godiva
- vodka gummies – homemade
- truffle oil
- chocolate spoon stirrers
- elegant paper cocktail napkins
- gourmet popcorn
- nice cheese wedge
- Flowers from Trader Joe’s – They have the best prices on amazing flowers and plants.
- any of Trader Joe’s seasonal baking mixes.
- homemade marshmallows from Williams Sonoma. – theses are a tiny bit more but oh so worth it!
- mulling Spices
- cozy socks
Ideas for Homemade Hostess Gifts
- homemade vanilla
- homemade chili oil
- homemade limoncello
- homemade jam or jelly
- homemade caramel sauce
- homemade marshmallows
- cowboy candy – if you haven’t tried this, you really need to! it’s amazing served over cream cheese with crackers.
- a bundle of herbs from your garden
Last-Minute Hostess Gift Ideas
If you are looking for a last-minute gift, whether because it slipped your mind or you received a last-minute invitation, you still have some options.
Depending on how last minute it actually is, you probably don’t have time to get to the mall or order something online. So, at this point, your best bet is probably going to be the grocery store.
Most grocery stores these days have a lot to offer in the way of thoughtful hostess gifts. Our grocery store has a florist department with beautiful flower arrangements as well as a well-stocked wine section. So, we have the tried and true wine and flowers covered.
But if you look a little more, you can find something a little more unique. You could get a nice cutting board or cheese board and a wedge of cheese.
Grab a basket and fill it with gourmet spices and sauces. The possibilities really are endless.
One way to avoid the last-minute gift dilemma is to stock up on several of these gifts and keep them on hand – especially during the holiday season.
Luxury Hostess Gifts
Sometimes you need a thoughtful gift with a little bit of a wow factor. And that’s when you are going to be spending a little bit more money.
My absolute favorite hostess gift to receive was a bottle of Veuve. It was from one of my best friends who came to dinner one evening with her husband. She totally didn’t even need to bring anything at all and she showed up with a bottle of Veuve.
I was so happy! First off it’s my favorite champagne of course. But the best part was, she told me that she didn’t want us to drink it that night. She wanted me to drink it with my daughter when she came home for the Christmas holidays. She wanted us to celebrate her completing her first semester of law school.
So, not only did I get a gift of my favorite champagne but I also got the memory of sharing it with my daughter and toasting her achievements.
Ideas for Luxury Hostess Gifts
- A nice bottle of Champagne – Dom, Veuve, Cristal
- Custom Monogrammed tea towels or dish towels
- Anything Waterford – candlesticks, vase, photo frame
- Mackenzie Child Tea Kettle – Or anything from the Mackenzie Child store
- Customized/Personalized Cutting Board – you can find these on Etsy.
- Silk Scarves
- Gift basket of charcuterie necessities
Hostess Gifts for the Vacation Hostess
If someone is hosting you for a vacation, you definitely want to show them your appreciation. This is one of those times when you may want to spend a little more money and consider a luxury Hostess Gift. Any of the above-listed luxury gifts would be a great option.
I’m sure any token of your appreciation will be welcome. You just want to make sure that they know that you put some thought into their gift.
We have had several occasions where friends stayed at our beach house and one of them sent us a large gift card to the nicest steakhouse in town. And our other friend sent us frozen steaks from a mail-order steakhouse. Both gifts were completely unexpected yet very appreciated.
As a guest, I always want to show up with a hostess gift. But as a hostess, I never expect any sort of gift. The thought literally never enters my mind. I think that’s why I’m always so delighted when I get one.
Hostess Gifts for an Overnight Stay
As an overnight guest, you will want to have a thoughtful gift to offer our hostess. This can be anything from an inexpensive gift to a luxury gift. It will all depend on your budget.
When choosing a thoughtful hostess gift, the most important thing to consider is your hostess’ interests and hobbies. Try to choose a gift that is reflective of their personality.
Ideas for Hostess Gifts for an Overnight Stay
- blue Capri Candle – this is always a favorite!
- wine and Flowers
- charcuterie board and knife set
- marble cheese board
- Godiva Assorted Truffles
- house Plant
- premium Olive Oil or Balsamic Vinegar
- truffle Salt or oil
- humorous Dish Towels
- personalized wine stopper
- book by their favorite author
- a coffee table book
Hostess Gifts that Travel Well
My mother-in-law is the queen of giving thoughtful hostess gifts. She never goes anywhere without taking a gift for the hosts.
She lives in Europe and even though she has to fly to get here, she still shows up with gifts for everyone. We typically joke that she has to check an entire bag just for all of her hostess gifts.
Thru the years there isn’t much she hasn’t attempted to bring. From perfume to bottles of vodka, she has traveled across the world with it.
Through the years, some things have proven to travel more easily than others.
Ideas for hostess gifts that travel well
- gourmet coffee
When should you not bring a hostess gift?
If you are attending a large party where you aren’t acquainted with the hostess, you don’t need to bring a hostess gift.
This post was all about the best thoughtful hostess gifts.
Though giving thoughtful hostess gifts is an important part of the etiquette of being a guest, you really don’t need to stress about it. Chances are, your hostess has extended an invitation to you with no thoughts of receiving any gift at all.
So, at the end of the day, if you show up with a nice bottle of wine and flowers, it’s safe to say, she will be a happy hostess.