Bringing a gift to a party is a time-honored way for guests to show their appreciation to the host. If you’ve ever hosted a party yourself you know all the planning, errands, cooking, cleaning and countless other preparations that go into creating a great get-together for friends and family. The gift you bring to a host doesn’t have to be over the top or expensive, just a little something to convey your appreciation for welcoming you into their home and for taking the time to put everything together!
Here are several options to consider whether you want to just say thank you, make a lasting (and positive) impression or offer a sincere token of gratitude:
Wine is a pretty standard gift especially for a dinner party and with so many varieties it’s easy to find one that will suit the palette of your host. Don’t bring a wine with the intention that the host will serve it; they might have already paired certain wines for dinner. Bring an all-occasion or after-dinner wine so that the host can enjoy it later. If you are unsure if your host enjoys wine, bring a sparkling variety or premium water that has an unusual or re-usable container. Go the extra mile and personalize the bottle by creating a unique label. Wrap it up using a couple of cloth napkins and cinch at the neck with a napkin ring!
Flowers make a wonderful gift, but don’t put your host on the spot by making them search for a vase. Bring an arrangement already in a small vase and keep the flowers neutral or match them with the festivities like a small poinsettia for Christmas or lilies for Easter. A small potted plant is also a great option and makes a distinctive gift. Make it personal by wrapping the container in a pretty fabric or wrapping paper to go with the occasion you’re celebrating. If you want to get really creative, put together a trio of ‘flours’ and present in a decorative pot!
Specialty food items, especially those specific to the season such as jams and jellies, fancy nuts, olives, olive oil or vinegars and chocolates are all acceptable and are fun to receive. If the party has a theme, bring a specific food item to match like exotic teas or a trio of spices. If you know your way around a kitchen, offer your own specialty like cookies or homemade bread and personalize the packaging (nothing that need be returned to you!) and attach a handmade card and top with a bow! Remember to keep items small and contained and nothing that requires heating or taking up space in the fridge so your host can find a place for it quickly.
Depending on the type of party and how well you know your host, a gift basket can make a fun and unique gift for the host. Choose travel sizes of all their favorites and combine in a small basket or choose a container that matches the contents. For example, a filmophile might enjoy a copy of a classic, movie tickets and some candy all wrapped in a popcorn bucket. An Italian themed basket could include pasta, sauce, oil and bread; throw in a recipe card and put it all in a colander! Creating a personalized gift basket takes some time and effort to put together but you will have fun creating something personal that you know your host will appreciate.
Items for the House
Reserve this type of hostess gift for those you know more than just as a casual acquaintance. Items like cocktail napkins, guest soaps and lotions, a picture frame, or beautiful candies are all appropriate and appreciated by even the pickiest guest. Make the wrapping simple; you don’t want to steal the host from other guests for too long!