Bringing a Hostess Gift - dummies

By Sue Fox

When you’ve been invited to someone’s home, giving the host a small gift (often called a hostess gift) is always a nice gesture, even if the invitation instructs you not to. Offering a bottle of wine, a flowering plant, or a gourmet food item is a considerate way to show your appreciation and display superb guest etiquette.

When presenting the host with the gift, the ideal way is to send it ahead of time or give it to him as soon as you arrive.

[Credit: © 2008]

Credit: © 2008

Think about the host’s hobbies when you select a gift. If you know that the host loves to garden, listen to music, or read, for example, consider a gift or memento for that special interest. Select a hostess gift that suits the recipient and not one that you would like for yourself.

Don’t allow your hostess gift to be a burden to the host in any way. For example,

  • If you want to give cut flowers, make sure they are already in a vase so the host doesn’t have to hunt for one and then arrange them. Remember that the host will be busy and may have carefully planned the party decor. If your flowers conflict with the color or theme, you’ll have put your host in the awkward position of deciding where to place them.

  • Gifts of food, wine, or special blends of coffee or tea are acceptable as long as you let the host know that it’s not necessary to open or serve them at that particular party or event. The host most likely has already planned the menu. Tell the host that you hope he or she will enjoy the food gift later.

Whatever you choose, the hostess gift doesn’t need to come with a card or be wrapped (although a wrinkled brown paper bag can be a little tacky). And it’s not necessary for the host to send a thank you card.