Around the holidays, we love to give luxury hostess gifts that last. Keep reading to discover our top suggestions for hostess thank you gifts, etiquette for gift giving, and other answers to common questions you may have about what to bring, when to gift it, and how much to spend.
As the saying goes, you should never arrive empty-handed. Etiquette dictates that if you attend a holiday or dinner party that you need to bring a gift for the host. While the gift doesn’t need to be expensive, it should show your appreciation for the invite and the planning that went into the event.
What are Hostess Gifts?
Hostess gifts are presents you bring for the person hosting a dinner party or event. Typically, these gifts are items that the host or hostess would use when entertaining guests. These gifts are used to show your appreciation for the host’s or hostess’ hospitality.
Etiquette for Hostess Gifts
As hostess gifts are a way to thank a friend or family member for their invite, you want to make sure you follow proper etiquette when choosing a gift.
When Is It Appropriate to Give a Hostess Gift?
You should bring a hostess gift for most occasions including brunch, informal dinner parties, and cocktail parties.
When Should You Not Bring a Hostess Gift?
Ordinarily, you should not bring a hostess gift to a large, formal dinner party or a black-tie event. This is especially true if you don’t have a close relationship with the host. Instead, opt for sending a thank you card the following day.
(We love using Minute Mail Gifts to send out thank you cards to our favorite hosts! Not only do they mail it for you saving you a trip, but you can also send a card and gift together for around $5 or $6 total!)
Another exception is if you are bringing a salad, side dish or dessert for dinner. Your contribution to the meal will qualify as a gift in lieu of something for the host or home. However, don’t bring food for the meal unless asked. Food items that don’t need to be consumer right away such as a bottle of wine, a specialty coffee blend, or a box of chocolates are still fine to bring.
Other occasions where a hostess gift isn’t required are recurring social events, such a casual game night, and events such as birthdays, showers, graduations, or weddings where the guest of honor receives a gift.
Do You Give a Hostess Gift at the Beginning or End of Your Stay?
If you are attending a dinner party, cocktail party, brunch, or holiday event, you should either send a gift ahead or give your host a gift upon arrival.
In situations where you are an overnight or weekend guest, you have several options. You can give gift upon arrival, the same as you would for a holiday or dinner party. Alternately, if you aren’t overly familiar with your host, or it’s your first time in their home, you can wait to buy the gift during your stay once you have a feel for your host’s personality and taste. You can also send a gift by mail after your trip has concluded.
What Is an Appropriate Hostess Gift to Bring to a Dinner Party?
The best hostess gift idea for a dinner party is one that is personalized for the recipient in some way. It may be related to their hobbies or passions. You can also bring a lasting gift for the home.
Typically, this item is specifically for the home or entertaining. It may be home décor, such as candles or a houseplant. Alternately, it may be that new cookbook by the hostess’ favorite author, personalized coasters, monogrammed cocktail napkins, flavored olive oil or vinegar, or a bottle of wine.
Whatever you decide to give your host, make sure your choice is sincere and thoughtful in addition to being personal to the recipient.
What Gifts Should Be Avoided?
While flowers seem like a great hostess gift idea, you want to avoid bringing a bouquet. Without knowing whether the host or guests have allergies, it’s just a bad idea unless you know the person very well.
If you do bring flowers, make sure to gift them already in a vase. Otherwise, dinner preparations can be interrupted and send the host into a frenzy hunting down a vase and arranging flowers as guests are arriving.
You also want to avoid regifting items. This is generally in poor taste, especially if there’s a chance that you’ll be found out. If you do regift something you’ve received from someone else, it should be in its original packaging and free of any personalization.
Finally, while luxury hostess gifts are appropriate in certain situations, you don’t want to go overboard. Something too extravagant can make the host feel uncomfortable, especially if their financial situation varies greatly from your own.
What Should You Take to Dinner When Told to Bring Nothing?
Many hosts and hostesses will tell you to bring nothing but yourself when you’re invited to dinner. However, it’s poor party etiquette to come empty handed. Hosting a holiday or dinner party can be quite costly. By bringing something for the hostess, you can help offset some of these costs. It’s also just a wonderful way to thank the hostess for her efforts.
Therefore, you should also bring a gift for the hostess when it’s appropriate — even if the invitations states otherwise. In this instance, you can give a small token of your appreciation such as home baked goods, a bottle of wine, olive oil or vinegar, chocolate, a book, a potted plant or herb pot, or a candle.
Should You Wrap Your Gift?
It is not necessary to wrap a gift for the party hostess. However, you may want to avoid handing it to your host in a grocery bag. You can either hand your present directly to the host, unwrapped, or you can wrap in a simple gift bag with tissue paper and a small tag or card.
How Much Do You Spend on a Hostess Gift?
How much you spend on a hostess gift ultimately is determined by the type of event and how well you know the host. It’s also subjective based on your budget.
If you’re attending a dinner party, then consider how much you would spend if you were to go out to dinner. If your typical entrée runs $35-$50, then use that as a guideline when budgeting for your gift. Alternately, we advise spending 1/5th of the cost for the food provided by the hostess, assuming you have an idea of what will be served.
When bringing wine for the host, we recommend that you spend at least $20 on your selection. If you know that the wine will be consumed at the party, and not afterwards by the host, then bring an extra bottle or two to be shared.
For showers, such as baby or bridal showers, where you also give the hostess a gift, we suggest giving a luxury gift in the $50-$100 depending on how well you know the host. This is also true for holiday occasions.
Of course, at the end of the day, you don’t want to gift something outside of what you can afford. If you don’t have extra money to spend, then consider a small token of gratitude that your budget allows, such as home baked goods.
Luxury Hostess Gift Ideas
Following are our top suggestions for luxury hostess gift ideas for holidays and dinners parties. These impressive gift ideas are sure to guarantee invites to future events and ensure your gracious gesture won’t be forgotten.
Wine and Wine Box Gifts
Go beyond the traditional bottle of wine and gift a quality wine with a wooden wine box. Each of these keepsake wine boxes can be personalized and comes with a selection of five stainless-steel wine tools.
The heritage chest is another wonderful wood wine gift box. This durable box makes for a gorgeous gift presentation. It also includes a set of wine tools and can be customized with your message for the recipient. As a bonus, this personalized wood keepsake box doubles as a storage chest after the wine is gone.
Personalized Wood Keepsake Boxes
Personalized wood keepsake boxes are a beautiful way for recipients to store their favorite recipes, mementos, jewelry, and photographs. (You can find memory box ideas here.) Delicately engraved with your custom message, these wooden memory boxes come in your choice of carefully crafted walnut or cherry.
This acacia wood caddy is the perfect choice any hostess. With so many uses, it’s hard to go wrong with this personalized gift. It can be used as a bath or wood desk caddy as well as a storage organizer for just about anything you can imagine.
Wood Serving Trays
Every hostess can use a serving tray! Whether it’s used for serving guests or as an elegant, holiday charcuterie board, this acacia wood serving tray is a kitchen staple for entertaining and everyday use as a cutting board. Featuring unique scalloped edges and a characteristic wood grain, this serving board looks stunning when engraved with your personalization.
This cherry wood serving tray with handles is another wonderful gift option for your favorite host. Featuring a variety of designs with the option for additional customization, these rectangle wood serving trays have a comfortable grip and are ideal for serving drinks, desserts, and snacks. Crafted from beautiful American cherry, this natural wood product also looks stunning when displayed on a cutting board stand.
More Gift Guides and Ideas
We hope you love our suggestions for luxury hostess gifts! For more custom gift ideas, be sure to check out our other gift guides for clients, friends, and family.