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December 20, 2017 4 min read

The holiday season is in full gear and with it brings family gatherings, ugly-sweater parties, holiday dinner parties, and a ton of excuses to celebrate and get together with loved ones. While there are many past chivalrous practices that are now dead, bringing the host or hostess a small gift is still the golden rule of being a good guest. Of course, along with being neat, courteous, and polite. In other words, do not be the person who gets drunk and ruins the party for the other guests.

Your host or hostess is certain to invite you back to their house if you show some gratitude. A host or hostess gift does not need to be a large, expensive gesture but just something thoughtful enough to acknowledge the time and effort they put into having you in their home.

The size and amount you spend on the gift are not important, instead, consider the individual and what you think they will enjoy unwrapping the most. To help guide you along, we’ve put together this list of perfect host and hostess gifts for the holidays, no matter what the occasion.

First, Select Your Gift Budget

The holidays are a very expensive time of year, with all of the gift-giving and social events, it is very easy to blow your budget. When it comes to host and hostess gifts, many guests end up overthinking it and going over budget in the process. Do not do this. In fact, an elaborate gift can almost always backfire by making your host or hostess uncomfortable.

Instead, select your gift budget early on, and certainly, keep it under $100. This will ensure that you do not embarrass the hostess, or yourself. Your wallet will also thank you later. Do not begin shopping, until you have followed this advice.

The Most Thoughtful Gifts Can Be the Least Expensive

If you are staying at a best friend’s home during the holidays or visiting someone you have grown up with your whole life, finding a hostess gift can be a breeze. Simply, dig up some favorite memories together, and create a gift based off of those good times.

Consider creating a mixed CD or playlist from a concert the two of you went to together. Assemble an album or calendar with photos of the two of you. Get a bouquet of their favorite flowers, or gift some DIY bath products in a beautiful gift basket. Handmade gifts are often the most personal and the most meaningful.

If you do not have the time for such gifts, then purchase away but always use your discretion and be mindful of the host or hostess’ preferences. A common pitfall is when guests gift something they would like themselves, rather than considering what the host would like. For example, do not bring charcuterie to a vegan’s household, or alcohol to someone who has a history of substance abuse. If you always practice mindful gift-giving, you are certain to delight your host or hostess.

dinner party

Excellent Hostess Gifts for a Holiday Dinner Party

A food or drink gift is an excellent choice to bring to a holiday dinner party. Again though, do not bring something you would like to eat, instead bring your host’s favorite dish. It is customary that the gift will be shared at the host’s discretion, so give it to her when you arrive so she has the option to store it before other guests arrive.

If the host decides to share your gift, be gracious and let others dig in first. Do not make it a point to overtly say that the item is your gift, no one likes a braggart. If you are meeting at a restaurant but the host is covering the bill, consider bringing a small gift. If, however, everyone is splitting the bill then there is no need to bring a gift.

In addition to a food or drink item, here are some other appropriate host or hostess gifts for a dinner party:

A bouquet of flowers

A bottle of wine

Tray of cookies

Luxe candles

A small houseplant

Flavored oils and vinegar

A CD or mixed playlist

throw blanket

What to Bring for an Overnight Stay

When staying overnight at a generous host or hostess’ house, it is appropriate to bring a gift that is a bit more indulgent than a dinner party gift. Often your hosts have gone to great lengths to make you feel comfortable, and their generosity should be appreciated. Consider giving a gift that your hosts can enjoy later in their home on their own.

Some great gifts to show your appreciation for an overnight stay include:

A luxury fleece throw blanket

His and her waffle robes

Tickets to a show

A gourmet food basket

A tea set

A picnic basket

A spa gift basket

When you return home, get out a stack of thank you cards. Write a handwritten thank you to your host or hostess, and promptly put it in the mail. Even if you bought a gift, this is a classy move. Your acts of gratitude will leave an excellent impression and are a wonderful way to show thanks, this holiday season.

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