post off: what’s the best hostess gift you’ve ever received?

This weekend my best friend and I are celebrating her birthday with a girls weekend at her uncle’s house in the country. I’ve never met her uncle, but I’d like to bring a small token to thank him for opening up his home to us for the weekend. I know wine is typical, but it just seems so obvious. Have you ever received a hostess gift that really wowed? I’d love to hear about it. –Erica P.

Photo by marija jure.

From our partners

a plant or a small shrub.

Tiffany S.

It’s hard when you don’t know the person, but I always like little kits – either a breakfast kit with scone mix and jam, or an herb kit with a plant and a recipe. I’m sure he’ll appreciate whatever you come up with. Have a great trip!

Megan B


I think when you don’t know the person, and he lives in a different town, you can’t go wrong with a jar of local honey from your town.


It’s a guy – local micro brew.

uh, apparently I’m the only person I know that knows you should give a hostess gift. I want to put subliminal messages in my invitations next time. I try to give wrapped up packages, with numerous small things, because usually the hostess will like at least one thing in the basket/beg/kit, and if they don’t like it all, then they can regift! So really it’s the gift that keeps on giving!

Really anything is wonderful. I like to bring something local from where I live when visiting out of town. The farmer’s market is great for this. Some jam or honey by a local provider. Handmade candle tapers with a decorative box of matches. Siiri, I’m with you that people are clueless that you should do this. Inviting people into your home, whether for a dinner party or a weekend, is such a wonderful, giving thing…you should definitely show your thanks!

One hint that someone told me long ago that I live by is to not bring flowers to a party unless they are already in a vase. The host/hostess has enough to do…they don’t need to be digging in cabinets for an appropriate size vessel when they need to be welcoming guests and putting out food!

i always love houseplants – you can never go wrong with those, i think!

anything food is good. my mom often gives a salt combo – one jar of kosher salt with one jar of sea salt. very nice.


I’ve found a nice bar of soap (e.g. made of natural ingredients and beatifully/simply/organically packaged) is always gratefully received and works for both men and women. These are my favourite and I always have a couple on standby:

when my husband and I through a housewarming party at our then-new house in Houston, Texas, a friend gave me a small milk jug shaped like a cow, and a bottle of organic Texas honey. The card say, “My your life in your new home filled with milk and honey.”

it’s the sweetest gift I’ve ever received.


I agree with others that local specialty foods from your area show that you’d like to share a little something from your area since he’s sharing his.

shelterrific » Blog Archive » five things we learned last week

[…] 1) Think local when seplaceing for the perfect host or hostess gift. Susie says, “Really anything is wonderful. I like to bring something local from where I live when visiting out of town. The farmer’s market is great for this. Some jam or honey by a local provider.” Share your gift ideas and read suggestions from others here. […]


I read somewhere to send flowers ahead of your arrival with a note saying that you are looking forward to the occassion. Then your host can find a nice place to put it before your arrival and they know you put some thought into it ahead of time.


For those who think people are clueless as to the practice of giving hostess gifts, you are right. The fact is that this is something that has to be taught, and I confess that my parents never informed me about it. I always wondered why my brother would bring something over for my wife when he visited our home. It turns out that his wife had been taught to do this by her mother.

My wife love to cook and is very good at it. She will spend large amounts of money buying food to cook for our guests. They will stay with us sometimes for several days, and it never even dawns on them to do something for the hostess or even pick up some groceries to defray our expenses.

I guess it’s like Jesus said, “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do.” If folks have never been given any schooling in manners and etiquette, they can be quite ungracious.

Giving a gift to the hostess is a token of your appreciation for all the hard work and for the expenses that the host household has graciously given for you benefit. It is a very appropriate thing to do.

shelterrific » Blog Archive » give your next bottle in a wine cylinder by roost

[…] by Velocity Art & Design for just $10-$15. –Erica P. Find more hostess-giving insight here and […]

Elsie T. Wood

I traveled all the way from Florida to Maine as a surprise to one of my dear friends, the late Emily Amor, who was celebrating her 100th birthday.

The hostess paid for my cab because no one could pick me up downtown, and it was some miles out to where the party was held. They gave my friend Emily 100 roses in two frames of 50 shaped in two hearts, and her picture was taken between them. I’ve never learned to drive, so really appreciated them paying for my cab. I could have, but they insisted.