Entertaining 101: Hostess Gifts

With the holidays around the corner and an increase in dinner and party invitations, we thought it would be helpful to touch on a tradition that we believe has too often fallen from practice – the giving of host/hostess gifts. And while you may not bring one every time you are a repeated guest, it is an especially nice gesture if it is the first time you are visiting, your hosts have moved, had a baby, or experienced any major life change, you are staying overnight, it’s a holiday or it’s been awhile since you have visited.

These gifts do not need to be expensive, can be simple, and should certainly be easy. In fact, you can always have a couple of gifts on hand for last minute invites. Here are some of our ideas for some appropriate and thoughtful host/hostess gifts.

Perhaps the most traditional gift is a bottle of wine. Buying a local wine is a nice touch to this age old offering. These are easy to keep on hand and you can usually find one for less than $10 or for a finer occasion you can splurge a bit more. Here are some ideas for ways to present your gift.

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An artisan bread and local or homemade jam is a wonderful gift. This also could be purchased for less than $10 and the jam is easily stored in your pantry for those unexpected invitations.

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A live herb plant is a lovely addition to any cook’s kitchen. You can find them right in the grocery store produce section and it is a gift that continues to give to your host or hostess. Basil, Italian Parsley or Chives are especially good choices. These should be available for $5 or less.

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Flowers are always a safe bet. You can bring a plant or a bouquet of flowers for less than $10 and often even closer to $5. They brighten anyone’s day and certainly express gratitude. (I  picked up the bouquet below at our local farmer’s market.)

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Finally, a home-baked good is perhaps the most budget-friendly gift and is always well received. In our busy society, baking is often a crowded out luxury or lost art. Brownies, bread, pie or cookies are excellent choices. Make sure to bring the baked goods in a container that you don’t need back.

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Expressing appreciation and recognizing the work that your host/hostess has gone to is thoughtful. And I’m certain there are many more practical and appropriate gifts to give. So stock up and bring a gift that will delight your hosts this holiday season!

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