You should always arrive at a party with a gift for the hostess. Tradition says that you should bring something small, such as a bottle of wine. However, if everyone brings a bottle of wine, then it might seem like overkill. Go a different route by bringing a small thank you gift that shows your hostess you appreciate her taking the time to host you at her space. She’ll definitely remember your gift for its out-of-the-box-ness!
About Hostess Gift Etiquette
Before we talk about what gifts to give your hostess, let’s talk about hostess gift etiquette. While the tradition has been around for years, not every hostess will feel offended if you do not show up with a gift. In fact, many now see it as an addition or a surprise. It makes the gift feel even more special because it isn’t given often anymore. However, there are some things you should consider when getting a hostess gift.
- Avoid Food: You can bring a specialty packaged food item, sure, but you should never expect to have it added to the night’s menu, especially if the event is a dinner. Chances are the hostess already planned out the dinner menu, and adding a new dish can overwhelm the meal. Make sure you specify to the hostess if you bring food (or wine) that it’s for her to enjoy in the future.
- Casual vs. Formal: Not every event requires a hostess gift. Birthday, bachelorette and engagement parties won’t require you to bring a gift for the hostess; however, you can send a thank you card to her after. Very formal dinner parties that had both a mailed invitation and required RSVP should most likely include a hostess gift on your part. Gauging how formal the event is prior to arriving will help you figure out whether or not you should bring something.
- Consider Closeness: If you’re just attending a Super Bowl or Bachelorette finale viewing party at your best friend’s house (who’s really your sister since you’ve been friends for so long), then you probably don’t need to bring a gift. If anything, she’d probably just roll her eyes at you and laugh for being so formal. A great “gift” in that situation is to offer to help clean up after or go pick up additional food in the middle of the party. However, if you do decide to get your close friends hostess gifts, be sure to pick from one of our unique personalized gifts. You know them so well and it will really speak to the closeness of your friendship.
- Discretion Is Key: Remember when we said most people don’t give hostess gifts anymore? To avoid any awkward tension between yourself and the guests who didn’t bring hostess gifts, discreetly give the hostess your gift after greeting her at the door. Make sure you say hello and ask a couple of small-talk questions, plus thank her for inviting you, prior to handing her the gift.
- Wrap the Gift: This will help with discretion, too! Wrapping the gift also heightens the quality of it–plus, it shows you actually cared about getting the hostess a gift. You can also put it in a small gift bag if your gift-wrapping skills aren’t the best. Either way, wrapping the hostess gift is definitely something you should consider.
- Consider the Cultures: Not every culture does hostess gifts like America does. In a country as diverse as ours, there’s a very high chance you’ll encounter a hostess who is from a different culture that has its own nuances. Consider different cultures and how they might approach hostess gifts. For example, many European cultures require you to give an odd number of flowers to the hostess if that’s your gift of choice, but you should avoid flowers that are associated with funerals or the unlucky number 13.
With these etiquette tips in mind, now we can talk about the best part–what gifts you should give your hostess!
For the Reader
If your hostess is an avid reader, here are some great hostess gift ideas for her.
- Bookends: She probably has lots of books lined and stacked on bookshelves, overflowing to the ceiling. Purchase her a set of unique bookends in her favorite color (or yours!) to show that you appreciate her love for reading.
- Set of Bookmarks: Some readers feel it is a cardinal sin to dog-ear the pages of a book. They use bookmarks or other mostly-flat items to mark their current pages. Consider getting her a set of unique bookmarks to use when she has to pause her reading. You could also create your own bookmarks! There are many different tutorials featuring different colors, patterns and materials you can use to create unique, one-of-a-kind bookmarks to give as a hostess gift.
- Your Favorite Book: Maybe she’s already read it, but that doesn’t matter! She’ll still love that you recognized her affinity for reading and thought to bring a little of yourself with you to give to her. Plus, reading your favorite book will give her an inside look as to what you like and who you are.
- A Literary Quote Canvas: Many artists create custom paintings or prints featuring quotes from different books. You can find a canvas with a literary quote printed on it to give as a hostess gift. She can put it up as part of her home decor or in her office.
For the Writer
If your hostess is a writer, either by trade or hobby, here are some gift ideas she can use to fuel her stories.
- A Fountain Pen: Many writers also enjoy calligraphy, so a fountain pen is a great gift choice. Small, inconspicuous and practical, she can use it to pen letters, invitations for future parties or just for fun. You could even go a step further and have it monogrammed to make it more personalized.
- A Journal: A journal is a great gift for a writer. She’ll love getting to write down all her ideas on paper. Writers can never have enough notebooks! You can find many different journals with various paper weights, lines and patterns. While it might seem overwhelming, consider practicality, especially if your hostess is more of an acquaintance rather than a close friend.
- Writing Books: Writing is a constant learning process. Every writer needs a little guidance now and then. You can find many books that focus on making writers better at their work. Try to find one that appears both funny and informative! She’ll be glad that you appreciate all that goes into her craft.
For the Herbalist
We all know that one person who has lots of salt lamps around, always has the essential oil diffuser plugged in and only uses natural medicine. If she’s hosting a party or get together, here are some hostess gift ideas that show her you pay close attention to her affinity for the natural.
- A Unique Candle: Chances are she loves out-of-the-box things, so a candle with a unique scent combination is perfect for her. Do your research on what different herbs and scents mean. You don’t want to bring a candle that doesn’t promote health or positivity into her home.
- Bath Salts: She probably loves taking refreshing, healing baths. A set of unique, fragrant bath salts is a perfect hostess gift for her. Focus on finding bath salts made with only natural ingredients, such as lavender, which is known to produce a calming effect.
- Natural Soaps: Similar to the bath salts, a special set of natural soaps is a perfect hostess gift. She can put them in her kitchen or anywhere else that guests might use them in the future.
For the Wine Lover
If she’s always visiting vineyards and attending wine tastings, then she deserves a special hostess gift. Here are some ideas for the wine lover.
- A Wine Stopper: Wine stoppers these days are not just standard metal. Many now have designs, monograms and are made of mixed materials. Our favorites include wine stoppers made with marbled designs, copper and even those shaped like flowers! You can find many of them in sets, so she can use matching ones for her wine bottles to have a cohesive collection.
- A Wine Glass: She’ll need something to drink her wine out of! Give her a personalized wine glass to show some gratitude for her hosting you, but also show that you pay attention to her likes and dislikes. Our selection has a variety of patterns and colors. Some even have funny quotes printed on them!
- A Bottle of Wine: This one speaks for itself. Be sure to remember that she might not open the bottle of wine that night, and that some of the other guests might have brought bottles of wine as well. If you want to be known for giving a unique hostess gift, then this might not be the way to go; however, you could also bring it along with another small gift.
For the Chef
Just because she’s hosting the party doesn’t always mean she likes to cook. However, if your hostess does enjoy spending time in the kitchen, here are some unique hostess gift ideas for her.
- A Cutting Board: Whether decorative or practical, cooks can never get enough cutting boards! We have a variety of fun, personalized cutting boards that you can give as a perfect hostess gift. From monogrammed options to those featuring state outlines, we have something your hostess is sure to love.
- A Cookbook: She probably already has a lot of cookbooks, but if she truly loves cooking, then she wouldn’t say no to another! Cooks love to create new recipes or put twists on the ones other chefs create. Cooks and bakers typically have different skill sets and preferences, so get a couple that focus specifically on each–just in case she prefers one over the other.
- Dish Towels: Cooking can get pretty messy. Give her a set of dish towels that she can use either for decoration or to keep her hands and prep spaces clean while cooking. Browse her social media beforehand to see if you can find any pictures from her kitchen that show the color scheme. That way, you can be sure to give her dish towels she can use throughout the year. Otherwise, find some that are specific to a holiday so the colors don’t openly clash with the colors in her kitchen.
Other Gifts to Consider
There are some other hostess gifts you can consider when determining what you’d like to give your hostess.
- Fresh Flowers: Purchase a bouquet of fresh flowers to give your hostess. Make sure to pick flowers that symbolize welcoming, as each flower means something or sends a different message. Go the extra mile by putting them in a vase and adding water to them. That way, your hostess doesn’t have to arrange them or find a vase to put them in. You could also send them to her after the event along with a thank you note instead of bringing them to her home.
- Something for the Kids: You should consider getting her a gift or two for her children if she has them. We have a variety of personalized gifts for kids you can choose from! She’ll be very appreciative that you thought of her children when considering a hostess gift to give her.
- Thank You Note: No matter if you just spend an evening or a few days at her home, it’s always important to send a thank you note after your visit. Consider adding a gift card to a local restaurant or store for her to use.
While hostess gifts aren’t always given anymore, you can still keep the tradition going by giving your hostess a gift that shows you appreciate her hosting you in her home! Focus on something small and personal, and she’ll be very glad that she invited you to her event.