Host and hostess gift ideas
that say "Thank you for inviting me!"
How nice! You've been invited to dinner or a party. Or maybe a weekend visit with a former classmate, or (lucky you!) a week or two with your neighbors at their lakeside cabin. You will want to bring a host or hostess gift, or send one immediately following the occasion.
What sort of gift? A relatively small gift is appropriate for a dinner or party invitation; something more substantial would do for a longer visit. For example, if your visit covers several days, you might take your host/hostess to dinner at a nice restaurant. Also consider:
- What can I bring? If you are bringing food or beverages for the guests, an additional hostess gift isn't usually necessary. Ask your hostess what, if anything, she would like you to bring. If you have a specialty that everyone loves, you might suggest that.
- How well do you know your host/hostess? You might wish to send a gift after you've gotten better acquainted and observed their style and interests. Our Thoughtful Gift Ideas page offers some strategies for finding well-chosen gift ideas.
- Is the occasion fairly formal (e.g., business associates), or a more casual gathering of friends who know each other well? Some hostess gift ideas, especially ones that are personal in nature, are more appropriate in an informal setting.
Thoughts on the Big 3
Flowers - bring them already arranged in a pretty vase, or have them delivered early in the day. That way, your hostess won't have to drop everything in order to arrange them while she's at her busiest, greeting her guests. Also note that fragrant flowers are wonderful, but really strong ones could trigger an allergy.
Bottle of wine - it doesn't have to be the most expensive wine in the store. Choose your hosts' favorite, or introduce them your favorite. If you know the menu, you can choose the wine accordingly (but no need to bring enough to serve everyone - it's a gift for your hostess, who might not even open it for this occasion).
Chocolates - a dinner invitation is a good occasion to buy some pricey gourmet candy that your hostess might not buy for herself. For something a little unusual, I can also personally recommend the fruit candies and other hostess gift ideas made by Liberty Orchards... Yum!
Ten more Hostess Gift Ideas
- Candles - popular among hostess gift ideas, tapers are especially appropriate when you're a dinner guest. Choose neutral or holiday colors that will coordinate with the decor. A pillar candle is a good choice, too - and here is a handsome silver candle stand that's reasonably priced.
- Cheese cutting board - this dandy marble cutting board has a wire cheese cutter. Diane gave one to me, and it's the greatest (it's also a perfect slicer for refrigerator-cookie dough!).
- Appetizer plates - they are especially helpful at a cocktail party when hot canapés or treats that need forks or toothpicks are being served. A dozen hors d'ouevres plates are reasonably priced at Crate and Barrel. Less formal are these "Oliver" plates with amusing stick figure patterns.
- Beverage coasters - one of the tried-and-true hostess gift ideas. A hostess can never have too many, so a set of 4 or 6 in a holder is sure to be appreciated. Thirstystone offers a huge selection of coasters in sandstone, cork and other materials.
- Napkin folding book - anyone who entertains often will be interested in some clever and dressy ways to fold a napkin. Here's one book of instructions available at Amazon, and you'll find links for others on the page.
- Conversation starter - to get a lively conversation going, try Table Topics. It's a series of provocative questions that are effective ice breakers and get people talking and laughing. Table Topics questions are printed on wine and party napkins, coasters, or a full cube with 135 questions on cards.
- Just for fun... and especially if the guests include kids, everyone will get a kick out of "Pick Your Nose" party cups. The cups are printed with people noses (some with mustaches) or animal noses. When guests take a drink, the nose on the cup appears to be their own nose.
- Sculpted bowls - this is a "more substantial" hostess gift idea, suitable for when you're staying for a few days or more. It's a nesting set of 4 bowls, sculpted to look like a rose when they're nested (they're also pretty individually). Nice for serving various-sized snacks at a party - inside or outdoors.
- Regional treats - a nice gift for a distant host or hostess, perhaps something not readily available in their home region. Here in New England, for example, popular treats include clam "chowda," maple syrup, and cranberry products like cranberry honey. You can order live Maine lobsters, shipped the day they're caught, for overnight delivery within the continental US. As one customer puts it, "What a classy gift!" Your region is sure to have specialties too.
- When the guests have gone - especially if your visit covered several days! - your host/hostess may be ready to unwind and enjoy some pampering. We suggest a gift basket of bath-and-beauty products (available for men, too). Or, you might give your host/hostess a gift certificate to a local spa.
Oh yeah, one more thing: the pineapple is a symbol of welcome and hospitality. Items with a pineapple theme (e.g., trivet, picture or wall plaque, serving dish motif, etc.) would be totally appropriate hostess gift ideas!
Hostess gift ideas that have to do
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Logo photo by Jane M. Sawyer, courtesy of morguefile.com;
party invitation courtesy of dreamstime.com;
flowers courtesy of morguefile.com; pineapple courtesy of microsoft;
dining table courtesy of stock.xchng.