We all know better than to show up to a party or event empty-handed, but finding the right hostess gift can be hard!
When is a bottle of wine, or a bouquet with a flower vase just simply not appropriate? We all want to be as gracious a guest as possible, and to do this we have to learn what to bring to each occasion as thanks for all the hard work and effort the hosts have put in to make the event unforgettable.
In this article, we’ll go over the do’s and don’ts of picking the perfect hostess gift, for a variety of events.
Follow along for a gift guide for all occasions: holiday parties, registry gifts, and birthday occasions, as well as tips on the correct etiquette of when to present it.
What You Shouldn’t Bring As A Hostess Gift
Flowers: This may seem counterintuitive but when you bring flowers as a hostess gift, it actually creates more work for the host.
He or she has to stop what they’re doing, be that greeting guests, or putting the finishing touches on appetizers or dinner, find a vase and water, and arrange the flowers so they can be out during the party.
All this stops the host from being able to, hopefully, enjoy the event they’ve put time and energy into.
Wine: For one, the hostess has already curated the cocktail and wine list for the party, and the addition of your average bottle of wine only complicates things.
If you’re going to bring wine as a gift, be sure to explain that you don’t expect the wine to be opened and served to guests, but rather enjoyed at a later date.
Food: Anything that’s food will be an imposition on the hostess, as she will think you expect it to be served at the party.
If you insist on bringing food, perhaps opt for some breakfast pastries for the morning following. However, whenever possible, it’s best to choose something else.
What Makes The Perfect Hostess Gift?
The perfect hostess gift is something that can be used in the activity of entertaining.
This sets it apart from a regular gift such as clothing or jewelry. Instead opt for something that will either bring beauty or functionality to their next event, such as place card holders, a beautiful serving plate, a candy dish, or an artisan key tray.
Michael Aram makes a variety of gorgeous high-end pieces, looking around the website you’ll be sure to see plenty of hostess gift ideas.
Time Of Year
When shopping for the ultimate hostess gift, the time of year should be considered. A Christmas tree ornament is nice, but it should match the decor of the hostess’s tree.
Christmas-themed items are nice, but perhaps not as lovely as things that can be used all season round. For a more universal gift that can be used year-round, dinnerware sets or kitchenware always make great options.
If you wanted something festive yet neutral, Our Santa Moon Plate is aptly Christmas-themed, without being colorful, and will match with a variety of holiday aesthetics.
If the event is in the summertime, a piece such as Ocean Reef Oyster Nut Dish makes for a timely hostess gift. It’s handcrafted to be a gorgeous entertaining accent, and though it can be used in the season it is beautiful enough to be enjoyed all year long.
The Nature of The Event
Depending on the nature of the event, your hostess gift should reflect its scale.
If you’re going to a small family affair, a board game for the whole family can be a perfectly fine hostess gift. If you’re attending a large-scale event that took months to plan, it’s best to invest in a gift that will show your appreciation.
Relationship To The Hostess
If you aren’t particularly close with the hostess, but still want to bring a classy elegant gift, it’s best to go with items that are versatile and loved by all.
Black Orchid Cutlery Caddy is the perfect gift to bring, as it has the function of helping the hostess hold cutlery, while still being stylish and chic, and because everyone uses cutlery they are sure to appreciate it.
Steer clear of statement art pieces unless you know their hostess and their taste well.
If you know the hostess well, or they are a close friend of yours, it’s always best to go personal. What do you know about them? Do they love candles and the scent of vanilla and pine?
Opt for an exquisite candle in their favorite scent along with an artisanal candle snuffer such as this.
Do they love to bake? The Calla Lily Midnight Cake Stand to display their delicious creations will mean so much and surely be a hostess gift they’ll treasure.
When Is The Right Time To Present Your Gift
Regardless of what you choose to bring as your hostess gift, being a gracious guest doesn’t end with choosing the right gift.
Confirming your invitation, showing up on time, and in the right attire as well as knowing when to stay home (particularly if you are or might be sick or contagious) is just as important.
Hostess gifts are often overlooked and unvalued when it comes to etiquette and we hope this article gives you plenty of ideas and inspiration for the next time you attend an event.