If you were raised right, you know you never attend a party at someone’s home without bringing some sort of a gift with you.  Given the holiday season, there is a chance you will be attending at least one party in someone’s home.  Of course, you could bring the tried and true bottle of wine, but given the fact that most people attending the party will probably do the same, try something different, especially if you know your hostess well.  There are so many hostess gifts out there to choose from and in today’s post I am going to give you some ideas along with some do’s and don’ts on giving the perfect gift.

Bath and Beauty

hostess gifts

  1. Beth Brew Bath Soak 2. Skin Care Saviors Set 3. L’Occitane Bonne Mere Set of 4 Soaps & Soap Dish 4. Laura Mercier Almond Coconut Milk Honey Bath 5. Mini + Merry Hand Cream

Everyone loves luxurious bath and beauty products, especially during the holidays when things can get really stressful.  Consider some nice soaps as hostess gifts that she can put out at her next gathering, some hand creams, a lovely set of from her favorite beauty company or some unique bath products.

Gifts for the home

hostess gifts

  1. Cathy’s Concepts Monogram Glass Terrarium 2. Kate Spade glitter photo frame 3. Free People Glitter Ornament Ball Set 4. ‘Maison Holiday’ Travel Tin Candles 5. Philosophy Hands of Hope Ornament 6. Wax Botanic Candle

There are a few things you can always count on being good gifts, candles and picture frames.  Is it just me?  I feel like I am always in need of frames for my photos.  If I had them I might actually get some of the pictures stored on my iPhone printed.  If a candle or picture frame seems like a trite gift, try something unique that you know fits with the style of your hostess’ home.

You can also give an ornament for her tree.  Years ago, I used to throw a Christmas party in my home every year.  I was in my early twenties and had no ornaments for my tree.  Instead of just buying up ornaments that had no meaning, I asked everyone who attended to bring one.  I held this Christmas party for five years and built up a collection of incredibly meaningful ornaments that remind me of my early twenties and being out on my own for the first time.  Even if your hostess doesn’t specify that it is a tree trimming party, if you are close with her, you can buy a thoughtful ornament that will always make her think of you.


hostess gifts

  1. Sugarfina 8-Piece Vice Collection Box 2. Free People Flower Ice Mold Kit 3.  Agate Cheese Board 4. Apps in Judgement Appetizer Ideabook 5. Organic Vegan Hot Cocoa Mix 6. Neiman Marcus NM Chocolate Peppermint Bark

Another thing to consider is bringing food.  You can bring small, unique snack gifts that your hostess can put out during the party (just don’t get offended if she doesn’t), if she is a cook, an appetizer recipe book.   If you don’t want to bring food try a pretty cheese tray or serving platter.  This is a particularly thoughtful gift if your hostess is newly married or in her first home.

Alcohol and Serving Accouterments

hostess gifts

  1. Jack Rudy Elderflower Tonic 2. Highlands Cheese Knives 3. Hammered Mini Cocktail Shaker 4. Life of the Nutty Glass Marker Set 5. Copper Moscow Mule Mug Set 6. Brass-Dotted Barware 7. Brookstone Automatic Wine Opener

If you are going to bring alcohol, try something different and unique, not just some bottle of wine that looks like you ran into the liquor store on your way.  Instead of alcohol, you can also consider accouterments for the alcohol she is serving, like a pretty bottle and wine opener, a fancy martini shaker, cheese knives, drinking glasses or stemware for her favorite drink or a glass marker set to keep everyone’s glasses elegantly marked.

Some final tips on hostess gifts

I checked in with my good friend, etiquette and protocol consultant, Mellisa Leonard, to offer some additional tips on giving hostess gifts.

  • Don’t bring flowers to a party. Flowers can be a nice gesture but don’t arrive with them.  Doing so will give your hostess something extra to do by having to cut them and find a vase.  Send the flowers earlier in the day or bring the flowers already cut and in a vase that you don’t want back.
  • Don’t expect the hostess to serve your wine. If your hostess is throwing a dinner party, don’t expect her to open your bottle of wine as it may not complement the meal.  If you do want to bring wine to a dinner party you can be thoughtful and ask what is being served to ensure the wine you want to bring pairs well.
  • Don’t expect your hostess to open your gift at the party.Doing so can make others feel bad about their faux pas.
  • A gift isn’t necessary at pot-luck parties.  If you were asked to contribute food to the party a gift isn’t necessary but a small token is always nice.
  • Never ask about the gift.  Don’t put your hostess in an awkward position.  While she will appreciate the gesture, there is a chance that your hostess gift will be re-gifted or never used.  If you notice that she never uses your gift, doesn’t mention it, or you don’t see your gift in her home, don’t ask, and certainly try not to take it personally.   It’s just uncomfortable for everyone.
  • Don’t be offended if your hostess doesn’t display your food at the party. If you gave some thoughtful snacks or treats that you think would make a great addition to the party you are attending, don’t force your hostess to put them out or suggest she does.  She may have a specific plan for the food being served or may want to use your gift at a future party she is throwing.
  • Avoid gag gifts.  Although you may find a gag or political or borderline inappropriate gift funny, it may not go over so well with mixed company especially if they have other guests whose personalities you don’t know
  • Don’t regift a gift you received from a local vendor.  If you received a gift from an establishment you frequent, like a bottle of champagne from your dry cleaner, don’t use it as a gift if your hostess lives in the same community as she may frequent the same establishment.
  • Avoid monogramming your gift. As tempting as it can be to add a little personal touch to your hostess gift, avoid having anything monogrammed.  Not only will the hostess not be able to return it if it isn’t something she likes but she also won’t be able to re-gift it.
  • Label gifts you want to re-gift.  If you are a hostess who received a gift you plan on re-gifting in the future, label who gave it to you so you don’t run into an awkward situation where you re-gift it back to the original gifter.

Regardless of what hostess gifts you choose to bring to your upcoming parties, don’t forget what is most important, spending time with those in your life who you cherish.  The holidays are the perfect time to reconnect with those you haven’t seen in some time and I hope this holiday season is filled with warm encounters, lots of laughter, love and joy.