We are entering the season of gatherings, and finding thoughtful hostess gifts can be a challenge. Today I want to offer not only a few gift suggestions, but also a couple of different ways to think about hostess gifts.
The heart behind a hostess gift is to give a tangible representation of your gratitude to someone for opening their home to you and inviting you to join them for a meal or an event. It is a token, a kindness, a way to put love into action, and it is never required, but always appreciated.
When you are choosing what to bring to your host, here are a few thoughts to consider.
Consumables are brilliant.
I am a huge fan of gifts that can be consumed. The enjoyment of the item is tied to a particular sensory experience, and more importantly, consumable items do not add to the piles of useless stuff in our homes. A box of dark chocolate caramels, a beautiful bottle of whiskey, a signature candle, your favorite coffee, a loaf of breakfast bread, homemade chocolate chip cookies, a luxurious hand lotion, a bottle of good vanilla, or an assortment of specialty pantry items make for wonderful hostess gifts.
Don’t create more work for the host.
If your gift requires work from the host when you present it, the gift is a bit of a bother. This primarily pertains to flowers, but can also apply to other items as well. If you bring flowers, make sure they are in a vase. No one wants to stop and arrange flowers right as guests are arriving.
Consider a next-day gift.
You are allowed to show up for a gathering empty handed. I strongly encourage you to do so with confidence, knowing your presence is the real reason you have been invited over. However, if you would like to give a gift, consider a next-day option. Sending flowers or a gift basket the day after a party or event is a spectacular way to communicate gratitude. Williams-Sonoma will send pastries through the mail, and everyone loves to receive a special delivery!
Including a personal note elevates any gift.
Otherwise average gifts are instantly elevated with the addition of a handwritten note expressing your gratitude in a personalized way. If you like to keep your gifts simple and straightforward, take it up a notch with a few kind words written inside a lovely card. Specific sentiments are always the way to make a note stand out, so don’t be afraid to use your words to convey exactly what you are looking forward to or what the host means to you.
Consider a surprise.
I have a friend who from time to time will leave a hostess gift on my pillow. She sneaks into my room when I am unaware and leaves a little love note and gift on my bed, and when I discover it after the party, it is the best kind of surprise. Some of the best surprise hostess gifts have included eye patches or a little zip bag of toiletries with a note of gratitude. Of course, you need to have a level of closeness with your host in order to walk into their bedroom, but this idea can be translated into a lot of fun ideas.
Give a gift you love.
Generally speaking, a gift you love will make a lovely gift. Your favorite deck of colorful playing cards. Your favorite journals. Your favorite ice cream (what a fun surprise to leave in the freezer!). Your favorite hand soap. Your favorite Banana Bread. If you love it, it is instantly personalized and has a connection back to you that feels special and unique.
If you are asked not to bring anything, then really don’t bring anything.
As a final note, if your host has asked you not to bring anything because he or she wants you to simply show up and enjoy the evening, then do as you are told. Yes, you can still bring a gift, but don’t bring something that you expect to be served that evening. Make it obvious the gift is for later enjoyment, and be a guest who is as comfortable receiving as you are giving.