Hostess Gifts

Many people enjoy entertaining friends in their homes. Some like to throw dinner parties because they love to cook. Others may invite you to a cocktail party or a special occasion such as someone’s birthday. Gracious guests usually spend time thinking of thoughtful hostess or host gifts to take along. These gifts can be large or small, depending on your budget, your relationship with the host and the formality of the occasion.

Hostess Gift Ideas

Food and drink are popular hostess gift ideas. If your hosts drink alcohol, give them a bottle of wine or other liquor. Place the bottle in a gift bag or tie a ribbon around it for a festive touch.

Baking mixes make great hostess gifts. You can place the dry ingredients for cookies, pancakes, biscuits, cakes, muffins or scones into a glass jar and decorate it with a ribbon. Be sure to attach the recipe. If you’re handy in the kitchen yourself, give homemade breads, jellies, jams or desserts.

Candles, plants and flowers are good hostess gift ideas. They’re attractive and they all give off a lovely fragrance. You can make a gift basket with items that the host enjoys, such as movie tickets, popcorn, baked goods or gourmet coffee.

If you don’t know the host well or can’t think of good host gifts, a gift card is appropriate. For a housewarming party, get a gift card to a home improvement store; for a dinner party, a gift card to a local gourmet market makes a great gift.

Hostess Gift Pitfalls

While food, wine and flowers are traditional hostess gifts, a guest can sometimes inadvertently cause a problem when giving them. Sometimes, the wine doesn’t go with the meal—for example, you may have given a light Riesling but the hostess plans to serve prime rib. Or perhaps your plan for dinner party gifts includes bringing a homemade dessert, but the hostess already has dessert prepared. Similarly, guests may bring flowers that clash with the table settings and decor.

The easiest way to avoid these pitfalls is to simply ask the hostess what you should bring. If she’s serving filet mignon and needs a full-bodied red wine to go with it, she can suggest that. If that’s too direct for your tastes, you can ask about the decor scheme or the menu and plan your gift accordingly. Finally, you can always bring a gift that isn’t intended to be used at the party. Embroidered kitchen towels make great hostess gifts, as do barware and upscale liquor.