Hostess Gifts: The Sign of a Thoughtful Guest

Headed to someone’s house for dinner and aren’t sure what to bring as a hostess gift?

Congratulations!  The fact that you are asking the question means you are a thoughtful guest and are already anticipating the event.  While you certainly don’t have to bring anything, I think it’s a lovely gesture since your hostess has likely put a ton of effort into the meal.

Let’s start with items to avoid.  I would steer clear of anything that will require the hostess’ immediate attention when you give it to her.  She has more than enough on her mind without trying to find a vase for a bouquet of flowers.  I would also refrain from anything that you are hoping she will include as part of the meal—a cake from a local bakery; a side dish of your signature green beans–since the item may not work well with the menu she’s prepared.

As for ideas of what to get, I think hostess gifts are a great opportunity to show your creativity with a fun little gift that’s unexpected or something the hostess might not get for herself.   If she’s invited you over for dinner, it’s a pretty safe assumption that she enjoys entertaining and food-related items.  Some ideas:

-Gourmet treats to sample-I’d focus on a theme so your items have maximum impact.  A few bottles of flavored olives oils (wrapped in a dish towel perhaps?) would be appreciated for many meals in the future.  Some waffle mix and a few different syrups would be a lovely way to start the day.  You could even do a variety of ice cream toppings and a jar of sprinkles. (I’d better stop!  I’m making myself hungry!)

-Cocktail party accessories-fun cocktail napkins, forks, toothpicks, etc.   I’m amazed at how many cool things there are to choose from these days.

-Mini herb garden-a wooden basket with a few plants of oregano, rosemary, thyme and other favorites to sit on her windowsill.

If you are someone who doesn’t enjoy shopping or is pressed for time, you could always select a plant.  I’d suggest something seasonal that doesn’t require her to do anything except set it on a table somewhere.  This time of year, a mum in a bright color would be lovely.  Depending on where you live, you may even be able to find a beautiful plant at your local grocery store or even your local home improvement store.

If you’re still stumped, you can always bring a bottle of wine.  If you go this route, it’s always a good idea to wrap it (bag, bow, etc.) and include a note indicating why you selected the particular bottle.  The note not only personalizes the gift, but can help the hostess remember who the bottle is from.

Have a wonderful time at the dinner!  I’d love to hear what your go-to hostess gifts are!

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