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Tips and Ideas for Hostess Gifts

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Photo by Constança Cabral

It may seem like a small task, but bringing a hostess gift is often easier said than done. The token bottle of wine or bouquet of flowers can only be done so many times before it seems like a lazy excuse. In the midst of our busy lives, it is difficult to brainstorm creative and meaningful gifts for the gracious hosts of parties, brunch, overnight stays, etc. Here are a few tips and ideas to help you bring a gift that your hostess will appreciate.

Encourage pampering. Attending a gathering that is sure to leave your hostess exhausted the next morning? A hostess gift that allows for a little rest and relaxation the next day is a perfect idea. This DIY Spa Basket, for example, gives your hostess the pampering needed after slaving away preparing for the event. Or a simple breakfast basket with a bag of strong coffee, fresh baked croissants from the nearest bakery and a jar of jam help make the morning after a relaxing treat.

A small token. If you have been invited to view a sporting event or have a casual dinner with friends, you may feel silly showing up with a gift basket. Instead, keep it small and simple. In these cases it is appropriate to bring something like a bottle of wine, a small potted plant, or a small bottle of nice hand lotion. These small tokens of your appreciation help your hostess feel special.

Keep it interesting. Hostess gifts are more meaningful when they are thoughtful. Find out what your hostess is interested in. Foodie? Movie buff? Gardener? Music lover? There are endless possibilities for simple gifts and gift baskets that any hostess would love to receive. These gift baskets offer some great inspiration. Gift certificates to restaurants, movie theaters, stores, etc, are a fantastic way to show your appreciation.

Have a stash. For last-minute dinner parties or other unexpected gatherings, have a stash of gifts that are ready to go in a pinch. Make large batches of homemade vanilla extract, lemon curd, or jam and store them in sealed jars or bottles. If you would rather not DIY, purchase a few nice candles, bath salts, teas or coffee that can be dressed up with a ribbon or placed in a gift bag as you walk out the door.

Better late than never. If you forget to bring your hostess gift with you, don’t be afraid to send it in the mail later. We all get busy thinking about other things and find ourselves needing a little extra time, even in the gift-giving department. Just because you forget to bring something with you to the event itself doesn’t mean you can’t make up for it later. Simply send the gift and a thank-you card the old-fashioned way. Your post office — and your host — will thank you.

The age-old advice of never arriving empty-handed is worth following. Hosts put so much time and effort into entertaining and deserve a kind thank you. Without their hard work, we wouldn’t have the opportunity to create wonderful memories and sustain meaningful friendships while enjoying good food, drinks, and conversation.

If you are still searching for ideas, Pinterest is a great place to look for inspiration. Check out my Pinterest board, Gift Ideas, for more.


Rachael White is the author of the blogs Set the Table and Tokyo Terrace. After four years of living, eating, and entertaining in Tokyo, Japan, she and her family have relocated to Denver, Colorado. Rachael is constantly searching for new ways to make entertaining easier and more interesting for guests in a variety of environments and situations. In addition to food blogging, her recipes have been published in cookbooks including Foodista Best of Food Blogs and Peko Peko: A Charity Cookbook for Japan and in Japan’s Daily Yomiuri newspaper. Originally from Minnesota, Rachael strives to recreate recipes and settings that reflect Midwestern comfort with a modern twist.