Ideas for Hostess Gifts at Holiday Parties

Branch & Twig Cocktail Picks from Anthropologie

By: Nikki Nies

While you can’t necessarily go wrong with bringing a bottle of wine as a hostess gift to your next holiday party, it won’t take more than a few extra seconds to peruse your local store or online catalog to deviate from that normal gift.  Also, as we know, not all gifts fit all ‘hosts.’ So, whether you’re attending a party of an acquaintance, boss or dear friend, let’s add some more holiday cheer by mixing up the host and/or hostess gift a bit!

  • hostess-metal-fruit-bowl
    Metal Fruit Bowl via Zara Home

    The Acquaintance: bring a sampler box of treats (e.g. World Gourmet Sea Salt Sampler or Lindt Chocolate Swiss Luxury Selection Box) or a fun, simply kitchen tool, like a Bird Lemon Squeezer

  • The Boss:  posh slate cheese board or stylish coasters, I’m talking copper!
  • Gardener: build own bonsai tree!
  • Work Colleague or commuter: tea gift set or coffee sampler; coffee pour over coffeemaker; heated travel mug 
  • In-Laws: his & her gifts can be  a great addition to any one’s holiday; it’s better to spend a few extra dollars on them
  • Cocktail party: bring a gift that can be used a future party (e.g. tasting games, eclectic drink stirrers or a themed cocktail book). Ideally, take something that can be used at the party right then! It’s best to avoid bringing gourmet gifts that need to be consumed within the next 24 hours as the host will feel the need of serving the gift even though it wasn’t part of their initial party plans
  • Dinner party: every host will be grateful for additional ‘serving’ equipment. If it’s not your first time at the host’s house, take a mental inventory of what kind of dishes they already have, why not add an additional serving tray or platter to add to their arsenal? They’ll be grateful for the sentimental gift that can be used repeatedly.

Keep an eye out for great ideas at the following places as well: Williams Sonoma, Etsy, West Elm, Pottery Barn, Rejuvenation, Canvas Home Store, Amazon, Luminaire, Sur La Table, World Market, Anthropologie, Crate & Barrel, The Container Store, This statement comes from Real Simple.

Of course, we all want to give useful, thoughtful gifts, but hopefully the above tips tap your inner creative side and helps you give the perfect host and/or hostess gift! Personally, I’m grateful for the above list as I can have a hard time navigating the different types of wines.  However, I’ve also found that giving a heartfelt homemade gift doesn’t hurt! Throughout the year, I’ll often try to learn what my friend, acquaintance(s), colleagues and/or boss’ ‘favorite’ something is, whether it’s dessert, drink, snack or go to place. I’ll then try my hand at making said favorite from scratch and it works like charm! For example, my friend loves gingerbread lattes from Starbucks, but can’t get over the price, so I thought it was the perfect opportunity to make from scratch gingerbread lattes! Not only did she say it was delicious, but she had more than just one cupful! I realize there isn’t always the time or interest in making homemade anything and everything, but the same concept of observing what your host has mentioned in passing what they like, can do no harm! When in doubt, bring a dessert!


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