Knowing the dos and don'ts of giving a hostess gift can be overwhelming. You want to show gratitude for making the shortlist at the same time how are you supposed to know what's appropriate to bring. To help relieve the stress, here are a few tips and answers to common questions on hostess 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.
1. 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. If you want to show your gratitude, but you aren't financially able to right now, send them a note after the event. Make it heartfelt, and that's enough.
2. 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.
3. Should you bring a hostess gift to a potluck?
I touched on this being a no in question 2, but let's get into the why. At this point, you are bringing something to help entertain in a way you are 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.
4. What do I give as a hostess gift?
Beauty products such as handmade soaps and bath salts, candles, small household items such as 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.
Guidelines up for debate:
Wine is not okay.
Wine is said to be a no-no because they 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 mostly 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.
Steer away from homemade items, just to be safe, but there's nothing wrong with some store-bought treats such as chocolates or cookies.
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 say thank you, even if it's not a hosting item.
5. 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 under $15 in my Hostess gift guide. Need a gift in a pinch? Stop at a local grocery store and find a small potted plant in the floral department. I've done it, it works.
6. 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 flying out. Some subtle options that would help the gift feel complete would be a ribbon, a bow, or twine.
7. Do I have to bring it to the party?
If you're giving an actual gift, it might be best to. However, if you see them often, it's not wrong to bring one after, I would make sure it's promptly after preferably within a week from the event.
8. 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 them aside. Some people may not have brought a gift, and the hostess wouldn't want them to feel bad.
9. Should they open it in front of me?
Don't expect them to open it in front of you. They are in host mode.
10. Should they use it that night?
This depends on what you give them, but for the most part no. It's a gift just for them, so they should use it at their leisure.
11. 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, however, they may love it and want to acknowledge it 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 gift. For more specific gift ideas, visit my Gift Guide for the Hostess post. Until next time, happy gifting!
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