A list of classy ideas for hostess gifts to show your good manners and appreciation in an elegant way. As a frequent host and former event director, I've got all the tips and inspiration on gifting a party host in the best way.
- 1. Send flowers, but a day early
- 2. Bring Dessert Wine
- 3. Wine Pair With a Trio of Wine
- 4. Homemade Petit Fours
- 5. Specialty Coffee
- 6. Good Quality Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
- 7. A Selection of Cheeses
- 8. Pretty Cocktail Napkins
- 9. Luxury Hand Cream
- 10. Scented Candle
- 11. Chic Place Cards
- 12. Board Games
- 13. Tea Towels
- 14. Herb Pots
- 15. Luxury Surface Cleansers
- 16. Servings Trays and Dishes
- Dinner party hosting 101
- Canapes to serve at dinner parties
- 💬 Comments
If you're being hosted, it can be considered poor etiquette to turn up empty-handed. It's a nice gesture to bring a gift and show your hostess you appreciate the effort they have put into putting on an enjoyable time. Here are some gift ideas you can bring along and start the evening off in the best way.
1. Send flowers, but a day early
Send fresh flowers to arrive the day before the event so your hostess has time to receive and appreciate them, and then arrange them in their favorite vase and put them on display for the party. Everyone loves getting fresh flowers. But instead of leaving your host to struggle to take care of the flowers whilst simultaneously balancing the meal prep and hosting duties, send them early to let them know in advance how much you appreciate the effort they are going to on your behalf. And this way, the flowers can serve as decor for the party, too. I always choose seasonal blooms in a color palette that will suit their home.
2. Bring Dessert Wine
Take a bottle of dessert wine as a unique hostess gift idea that everyone at the party can enjoy with whatever sweet treats your host has prepared for dessert.
A bottle of bubbly might be a more obvious choice of hostess gifts to take to a dinner party, but the chances are they have the aperitif covered, and also, it won't be chilled. Dessert wine is a more unusual gift, but it's also a useful gift for a hostess as (in my experience) not many people serve dessert wine at dinner parties. A Sauternes is an obvious choice. It's a sweet French wine with delicious honey and dried fruit notes that will taste amazing with most desserts. Put it in the fridge as soon as you arrive, and half an hour before dessert is served, move it to the freezer so that it is ice cold upon service.
3. Wine Pair With a Trio of Wine
A more luxurious hostess gift would be to take a trio of wines with you, one to pair with each course of the meal. This will only work if you know the menu in advance and might need to be planned in conjunction with your host, but I do find that often, they will really appreciate the offer! You could bring a red, a white, and a dessert wine, and remember you will get 5-6 glasses from each bottle depending on how generous your pour is.
Read more food and wine pairing tips here to always create the perfect dinner party experience.
4. Homemade Petit Fours
Your host will have prepared everything for a meal, but some elegant petit fours for a dinner party will be a charming addition to enjoy with coffee after everyone has eaten. Because surely everyone still has a sweet tooth?
I often make hazelnut coffee macarons, some no-bake cheesecake balls, or meringue cookies. But if you don't have time to cook, a box of elegant dark chocolate truffles will always do the trick and look appealing on the dining table.
5. Specialty Coffee
If your host is a coffee lover, some specialty ground coffee or coffee beans will go down well! Or they might need it the morning after...
6. Good Quality Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
Finishing oil is a great gift idea for a host, and everyone always loves edible gifts. If someone is hosting a dinner party, the chances are they like cooking, and some cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil will be a useful addition to their pantry.
7. A Selection of Cheeses
Bring a selection of cheese and crackers to serve in the European style after a meal. I recommend bringing one soft cheese like a Brie or Camembert, one hard cheese like a Cheddar, and one blue cheese like a Roquefort, Gorgonzola, or Stilton. Alternatively, a cheese and charcuterie board is a nice sharing food idea for appetizer time, so your host may choose to unwrap them immediately!
Read my post on French cheese and wine pairings.
8. Pretty Cocktail Napkins
Anyone who hosts often is always in need of pretty cocktail napkins. If you know your host's style, pick some printed napkins that they'll like, or if you're unsure, choose some in neutral hues. A small size is ideal for canapes or appetizers, or larger ones work at buffets or luncheons. Because it's fun to make cocktail hour prettier! And napkins make more affordable gifts as well as useful ones.
9. Luxury Hand Cream
A beautiful bottle of hand cream is a wonderful gift idea for a hostess. Because cooking takes its toll on your hands; trust me, I'm a chef! Choose hand cream with natural ingredients like evening primrose oil (which contains plenty of fatty acids to help moisturize their skin) and without artificial perfumes.
10. Scented Candle
A scented candle makes a great gift for a hostess as it lasts longer than your visit, and whenever they light it, they will think of you. Search for scented candles that contain more than just one scent, balancing top, middle, and bottom fragrance notes. Try to find alternatives to paraffin wax, such as coconut wax, beeswax, and soy wax, which burn slower and are better for the environment.
11. Chic Place Cards
If your host often has dinner parties and likes to make seating plans, then cute place cards will always be a welcome gift to receive. Choose elegant place cards made from card/paper with a high gsm (grams per square meter), as they will be thicker, better quality, and sturdier on the dinner table. So look for tent cards using heavyweight card stock.
12. Board Games
Bringing a game is always a fun way to mix things up after dinner. A pack of cards is useful, but something more strategic that engages everyone's competitive edge is more fun. A board game will bring out guests' playful sides and end the evening with laughter.
13. Tea Towels
Brighten up your hostess's kitchen with some elegant tea towels; you can never have enough of them! Buy sustainably made high-quality fabric tea towels that are machine wash friendly. Cotton is the most absorbent fabric for tea towels, and if you buy the waffle weave, they are even better.
14. Herb Pots
Fresh herbs elevate any dish, and having some pots of fresh herbs in the kitchen or on the windowsill is such a boon. Common herbs like mint, parsley, chives, thyme, and rosemary look super cute in pots and are also super useful.
15. Luxury Surface Cleansers
After the party comes the clean up. Show your hostess you appreciate the effort they have put into preparing their home for you and getting rid of the mess you'll all leave behind! This Diptique multi-surface cleanser smells delicious and looks great, too.
16. Servings Trays and Dishes
If you host, you need trays. Trays for drinks, trays for canapes, they are always really useful gifts for a hostess. Nothing too cumbersome or heavy, but not so light that it becomes flimsy. Flat chinaware is excellent for canapes or wooden trays for drinks.