Finding the right host or hostess gift to bring when you’re invited to someone’s home can be a challenge, but it can definitely make or break your chances of getting invited back again (plus it will dictate the level of gift the host will be obligated to bring the next time they visit your home). Here are some of the best host and hostess gifts our Design Team has given and been given over the years:
1. Flowers: Nothing brightens a room like fresh cut flowers. Neutral monochromatic arrangements like lilies, white roses, and gerberras work well in almost any space. In the case of a housewarming or bridal/baby shower where others will likely bring flowers as well include a simple but elegant vase so the host(ess) isn’t left scrambling to find a vessel to put the flowers in.
2. Wine or Spirits: If you know the host’s favorite wine or spirit they’ll likely appreciate your attention to detail. If not, opt for something obscure that they may not be familiar with (the staff at most higher-end wine and liquor stores should be able to provide you with suitable recommendations). For the teetotaling host(ess) a beautiful bottle of imported mineral water or sparkling juice is great too.
3. Live plants: More personal and long-lasting than flowers, live plants or seeds are perfect for hosts with a green thumb. Plants from your own garden or seeds you’ve had good luck with in the past are perfect.
4. Books: An elegant coffee-table book or an antique classic novel will make it look like you put a lot of thought into finding the perfect gift. Stock up on several next time you’re at a bookstore so you’re always prepared for those impromptu invites.
5. Music: An eclectic mix CD of songs that remind you of the host is another personalized gift that’s sure to wow. Or, for those hipster friends you want to impress, drop by a vintage record store and pick up a couple of rare LPs with groovy cover art.
6. Exotic Spices, Oils, or Marinades: Many gourmet specialty stores and high-end supermarkets feature exotic spices, flavored oils, and marinades for meat and fish. Pick something that looks like it would be universally appealing, and as with wine the more unique and obscure looking it is the better.
7. Baking: Anything you’ve made yourself is bound to impress any host, but avoid bringing anything you expect them to serve at the party unless you’ve made prior arrangements with them (some hosts will be offended/inconvenienced if the baking you bring clashes with the planned menu). Many gourmet stores also feature prepackaged mixes for cookies, scones, and other more exotic baked goods containing all the ingredients in a giftworthy package.
8. Cheese Basket: Gourmet cheese stores often have pre-packaged gift baskets ready to go, or you can assemble your own with small wedges of Brie, Gorgonzola, Muenster, Camembert, and other exotic offerings. Place them in a decorative basket and wrap it with cellophane tied with a large velvet bow.
9. Vintage Curios: Tiny vintage picture frames, snuff boxes, and ornate paperweights are another outside-the-box solution to the hostess gift dilemma. Find them at antique stores and flea markets and research their pedigree on the internet or make something up to tell the host when you present them.
10. Incense: Incense sticks or cones in exotic fragrances like jasmine, lavender, sandalwood, and sage make a welcome gift for the host who has everything. Plus they’re usually inexpensive to buy at Asian import stores and they often come with small wooden cases and stands to prop them on.
And for help getting your home in tip-top shape for entertaining visit our DESIGN SERVICES page and check out our professional decorating packages designed to impress on any budget!