What is Appropriate for a Hostess Gift?


What is Appropriate for a Hostess Gift? - Alef Bet by Paula

What is appropriate for a hostess gift?

You're invited for an evening or a gathering at a home and it's your first time being invited, what do you do?  What do you bring?  It's appropriate to bring a hostess gift.

It is actually considered good manners to bring a thank you gift, also known as a hostess gift.


The traditional hostess gifts are items that can be used for the event or are symbolic of your gratitude. These gifts can be simple, but thoughtful and can range from flowers, a bottle of wine, a box of chocolates, a scented candle, or even a small decorative item that matches the host's decor.


This gives thanks to the person hosting. As more and more invitations come in, you can "relax" on the gifting.  However, please note when a holiday invitation comes in, such as Easter, Christmas, Hanukkah, Thanksgiving-- you should still bring a hostess gift.  This differs from a casual dinner or barbeque. 

Gifting hostess gifts has been a traditional way to show gratitude to the person who invited you to their home or hosted an event. It is a way of saying thank you and showing appreciation for the effort and hospitality that the host has put into organizing the event.

When it comes to the amount to spend on a hostess gift, there is no fixed amount. The key is to choose a gift that reflects your appreciation for the host and is within your budget. A small gift that is well thought out and given with sincerity can often mean more than an expensive gift that lacks meaning.

There are some customs and traditions that are unique in regards to hostess gifts. Depending on where you live could signify a particular gift, as well as the time of year. Side note: if you've just moved to a new area, best to ask the "locals," or buy what you know the hostess will really appreciate.

Here are a few examples:

  1. Bring a Dish: In some parts of the United States, it is common for guests to bring a dish to contribute to the meal, especially for potluck-style events. This is a great way to show appreciation and share your culinary skills with the host and other guests.  You can leave the dish behind as a token of thanks.

  2. Regional Gifts: Depending on where you are in the United States, there may be regional gifts that are appropriate to bring as a hostess gift. For example, in the Southern United States, a jar of homemade jam or a box of pralines might be a popular choice, while in the Pacific Northwest, a bottle of locally produced wine or craft beer could be a great option.

  3. Monogrammed Gifts: Monogrammed or personalized gifts are also popular in the United States, especially for weddings, baby showers, and other special occasions. A personalized cutting board, wine glasses, or a set of monogrammed towels can be a thoughtful and unique hostess gift.

  4. Seasonal Gifts: Another popular tradition in the United States is to give seasonal gifts, especially during the holidays. For example, a festive holiday candle or a box of gourmet chocolates can be a great way to spread some holiday cheer and show your appreciation for the host.

Gifting a hostess gift is not only polite but also a great way to establish or strengthen a relationship. By showing your appreciation, you are creating a positive impression and leaving a lasting impact on your host. It is also a great way to ensure that you get invited back again!


Flowers and home blessing gift idea

To ensure that your gift is well received, there are a few protocols to follow.


First, make sure that the gift is appropriate for the occasion and the host's personality. For example, if your host is loves good karma and family, a nice home blessing would be very appropriate.

Second, make sure that the gift is nicely wrapped or presented to add to the charm and beauty of the gift.

Lastly, always accompany the gift with a handwritten note expressing your gratitude and appreciation.


The tradition of gifting hostess gifts can be traced back to ancient times when travelers would carry gifts to their hosts as a sign of respect and gratitude. Today, the practice has become an essential part of modern etiquette, and many cultures around the world practice it.

In conclusion, gifting a hostess gift is a traditional way to show appreciation for the effort and hospitality of the host. The gifts are often small, but thoughtful and can range from flowers to decorative items. It is not about the price of the gift, but the sincerity behind it that counts. So, the next time you are invited to a party or event, don't forget to bring a hostess gift to show your appreciation and make a lasting impression!

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