Hosting can be so much fun, and it can be a lot of work. A great deal of planning and preparation goes into hosting a party, let alone a holiday party, and not to mention the DIY bed & breakfast for those out-of-towners. Whatever the occasion, big or small, we are grateful to those willing to open their home to us.
Knowing the dos and don'ts of giving a hostess gift can be overwhelming. You want to show gratitude but may not know what's appropriate to bring. To help relieve the stress, here are a few tips and answers to common questions on hosting gifts. Just remember they're your friends, and as long as it's a genuine gift, they'll appreciate it, so don't add too many gray hairs over this one.
Do I Have to Bring a Hostess Gift?
No one has to do anything, and if your heart isn't in it, then don't do it. It should be a genuine act of kindness to say thank you, not an obligation gift. For tighter budgets, sending a heartfelt note to your friends or family after the event is a low-cost and substantial option for the occasion.
When Should You Not Bring a Hostess Gift?
When you are bringing something for the party, such as an appetizer, a dessert, or a potluck dish, you do not need to bring a hostess gift. If you want to thank them for letting everyone over at their house, a handwritten thank you note after the party can go a long way. If the situation is questionable, whether or not to bring a gift, such as monthly friend hang-outs, take a bottle of wine.
When you are attending an event that you are already expected to bring a gift for, such as a wedding or baby shower, you do not need to bring a hostess gift. It is the guest of honor that would get a thank you gift for their loved one throwing them the shower.
Should You Bring a Hostess Gift to a Potluck?
I touched on this being a no in the above question but let's get into the reason why. At this point, you are bringing something to help in the production of the party, essentially making you a co-host. Bringing something to the party and giving them one less thing to worry about is your way of saying thank you for hosting it at their place.
What Do I Give as a Hostess Gift?
Beauty products such as handmade soaps and bath salts, candles, small household items in the realm of tea towels and pot holders are all great options. Tea towels are one of my favorite gifts. They're personalized, everyone needs them, and it's the perfect small token of appreciation. The hostess loves to entertain, so anything she can use to host is a go, such as serving trays, novelty or embroidered napkins, coasters, and games. Games are a great way to keep the party lively. Need a gift in a pinch? Stop at a local grocery store and find a small potted plant in the floral department.
Guidelines up for debate:
Wine is not okay.
Wine is said to be a no-no because the hosts may feel obligated to serve it at dinner, and their menu is already planned.
In my opinion, no one ever got upset because someone brought a bottle of wine. If you're concerned about making the host feel they have to deviate from their plans, put it in a wine or a gift bag. When you give it to them you can say, 'This is one of our favorites, and we thought you'd enjoy it on your next date-night in.' This makes it obvious it's meant for them alone.
Flowers are a no-go unless it's after the party.
The reason for this guideline is bringing flowers to the party will distract her from hosting as she has to stop and cut the flowers, put them in a vase, and find a home for them. I love flowers, I've never been upset about having to put flowers in a vase when I'm hosting, and I'm a high-strung person. It can also be said that sending flowers before the party could clash with her decor or her current flower arrangements, and she would feel obligated to have yours out. Sending flowers after the party allows her to put them wherever she wants.
There are a few ways around this. You could bring a potted plant. Yes, it could still clash with her decor, but she can always find a permanent home and move it later. I don't think there's anything wrong with having some flowers delivered the day before the party. You don't have to worry about pulling her aside to give her the gift, and she can use it as a centerpiece for the party. If she already has a centerpiece, there are plenty of places in a home to put flowers that are still considered 'on display.'
No food items.
This rule is generally for homemade items because it could make the host feel that it needs to be served at the party. You then risk your thank you gift overshadowing what they had planned for dessert.
To be safe, steer away from homemade items, but there's nothing wrong with some store-bought treats such as chocolates or cookies. Again, make it obvious it's not for the party by saying something, like 'Here's a sweet treat for the two of you this week.'
Hostess gifts are only meant to be hosting items.
Well, a hostess gift is a thank you gift, and anything can say thank you. Something for them to enjoy for themselves is a great way to show appreciation, even if it's not a hosting item.
What is a Good Inexpensive Hostess Gift?
This is a good question because hostess gifts are meant to be a small token of appreciation. No one expects you to break the bank, although no one's stopping you if you want to.
When I'm looking for inexpensive options, the best finds I come across are tea towels, candles, recipe books, and soaps. I have several examples that are budget-friendly listed below.
1. Novelty Dish Towel, $12+ at Do Take It Personally
Pick one from a wide selection of fun and useful hand towels.
2. Scented Sachet Freshener, $13 at The North Bee Shop
This beeswax ornament makes for a lovely and unique option.
3. Conversation Card Game, $9 at Amazon
This scenario game will help break the ice for any group of guests.
4. Cocktail Recipes Book, $13 at Amazon
They'll be able to mix up their parties with this recipe book.
5. Personalized Pot Holder (Similar Style), $6 at Mayi and Jay Designs
They can put this holder to good use or on display.
6. Wine Glass Charms, $11 at Amazon
Their guests will be able to keep track of their drinks with these witty charms.
7. Hand Repair Gift Set, $14 at Amazon
This is a thoughtful self-care gift for the hostess.
8. Dip Mix Set, $10 at Seasoning Solutions
This tasty set of dips can be used for their next night in or hosting events.
9. Tea Bath (Similar Style), $15 at Unwind Lavender Co
This gift box will give them a relaxing evening after their party.
10. Cookie Sampler, $15 at Amazon
These cookies will be a tasty treat to enjoy.
Shop Hostess Gifts Under $15
"A party without cake is just a meeting"
— Julia Child
1. Custom Apron, $23+ at Mod Party
This fun hosting apron comes with or without the polka dot pockets.
2. Towel and Spoon Set, $20 at Aprons N Bows
A simple and practical gift for the host that enjoys cooking.
3. I Should Have Known That! Party Game, $20 at Uncommon Goods
Find out how much everyone knows without the help of the internet.
4. Floral Soap Sampler, $22 at Bath By Terra
A beautiful gift they can keep for themselves or put on display in their guest bathroom.
5. Ladies Who Drink, $18 at Amazon
They'll get to explore cocktail recipes and small-bite pairings with this book.
6. Apple Cider Caramels, $19 at Amazon
These organic caramels make a delightful treat.
7. Wine Bottle Puzzles, $23 at Amazon
This puzzle makes for a great brain teaser.
8. Self-Care Box, $18 at Grace Bloom Co
Pamper the hostess with this small gift set.
9. Monogram Cheese Board, $21 at Amazon
A thoughtful and useful hostess gift.
10. Cocktail Infused Ice Cubes, $20 at Uncommon Goods
These ice cubes offer an easy elevation to their cocktail offering.
Shop Hostess Gifts Under $25
"That's what life is all about: Let's have a party. Let's have it tonight."
— Lilly Pulitzer
1. Personalized Iron Trivet, $38 at Melbe Creations
A special keepsake they can put to use at each dinner party.
2. Personalized Recipe Journal, $38 at Wood Cook Studio
They can keep their guest's favorite recipes and notes in this book.
3. Dipping Spices & Olive Oil Gift Set, $36 at Amazon
A gourmet set they can use for their next special occasion.
4. Gourmet Brownies, $41 at Amazon
A decadent treat they can enjoy with their family or for themselves.
5. Foodie Dice, $32 at Amazon
Mix up their dinner routine with these dice.
6. Cake Server (Similar Style), $30 at The Talking Teaspoon
A vintage hand-stamped piece to add to their collection.
7. Chocolate Box, $44 at Amazon
An easy and delicious hostess gift.
8. Engraved Cutting Board, $41+ at The Green Woodworker
They'll be excited to prep with this personalized board.
9. Wine-Infused Salts, $39 at Uncommon Goods
They can mix up their recipes with these finishing salts.
10. Card Player Snack Set, $48 at Uncommon Goods
A snack set for the game night enthusiast.
Shop Hostess Gifts Under $50
"Soup is to the meal, what the hostesses smile of welcome is to the party.
A prelude to the goodness to come."
—Louis Pullig De Gouy
1. Monogram Soap and Towel, $72 at Williams Sonoma
A luxurious and personal gift for their home.
2. Personalized Rustic Serving Tray, $50 at Uncommon Goods
Celebrate their home being the gathering spot with this zip code tray.
3. Custom Serving Bowl, $70+ at Laura Lynn Pottery
A personalized handmade piece of art for their table.
4. Tea Gift Set (Similar Style), $62 at Joy Gift Box
For the hostess that loves a cuppa.
5. Gourmet Olive Oil, $59 at Art Meets Oil
This unique jar and oil are made in Italy.
6. Infused Honey Gift Set, $62 at Bee Lovely Botanicals
A natural and tasty foodie gift.
7. Giving Plate, $70+ at Prairie Hills Pottery
For the baker that likes to share their treats.
8. Batter Bowl Set, $55 at Amazon
For the breakfast enthusiast.
9. Essential Oils Deluxe Set, $83 at Williams Sonoma
Relaxing and clean scents for any home.
10. Grilling Rub Library, $90 at Williams Sonoma
For the grill master host.
Shop Hostess Gifts Under $100
Do You Wrap a Hostess Gift?
Unless it's wine, flowers, or a small plant, you should always wrap a gift. It doesn't have to be a big bag with tissue paper; some subtle options that would help the gift feel complete would be a ribbon, a bow, or twine.
Do I Have to Bring It to the Party?
If you're giving an actual gift, it might be best to bring it to the event. However, if you see the host often, it's not wrong to give it after the party. Do make sure it's promptly after, preferably within a week from the event.
Should I Pull Them Aside to Give Them the Gift?
If they greet you at the door, you can give it to them then. Otherwise, pull the host aside when you see an opportunity. Some people may not have brought a gift, and the hostess wouldn't want them to feel bad.
Should They Open it in Front of Me?
Don't expect them to open it in front of you. They are in host mode.
Should They Use it That Night?
It depends on what you give them and what they have planned for the evening, but for the most part, no. It's a gift just for them and should be used at their leisure.
Should I Get a Thank You Note for My Hostess Gift?
Your gift to the hostess is a thank you gift. No one's interested in a game of tag. You won't receive a formal note in the mail. They may love it and decide to acknowledge your gift in a text or the next time they call you. You're best off not expecting one at all.
I hope you found this helpful and productive in finding the perfect hostess gift to show your appreciation for their hospitality. Be sure to share your favorites in the comments below.
Until next time,
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