Always Get Invited Back: Thoughtful Hostess Gift Ideas


No matter what is going on in your world, the winter season provides the perfect opportunity to take stock, enjoy the present and regroup for what’s in store.  There’s so much love, positivity, food and booze flowing during this time of year that it’s no wonder people so willingly open their hearts and homes to “strays,”  in addition to friends and family.   And while the old adage says, “it is better to give than to receive,” I’m betting many hosts don’t mind a little gift-y or two from considerate guests.

I’ve never participated in Cotillion, nor did I ever take etiquette lessons, but apparently there are some do’s and don’ts to gifting hosts that will undoubtedly get you invited to events year after year.  These bits of wisdom–passed down by the goddesses of magazine features and how-to articles–can be summed up in a few simple ideas.

1. A host gift should not make more work for the recipient, nor should it require attention that would distract him/her from the event at hand and render him/her a bad host.

2. In addition, the gift should appropriately reflect your relationship to the host.

These guidelines actually make a lot of sense.  But it does not hurt to be reminded of them when your enthusiasm  might cloud your judgment and lead you to buy monogrammed shot glasses for your co-worker’s parents who have invited you over for Thanksgiving dinner.


The holidays are a hectic time for everyone.  It never hurts to have a few gifts on hand for those events that suddenly crop up.  Here are a few ideas to get your wheels turning.  And remember that most hosts are just happy to have you in attendance.  A big, sincere “THANK YOU” is always well-received and never causes any trouble.


Deer Bottle StopperFor an acquaintance

Nine times out of ten, a bottle of red wine is a great gift.  Make this standby special by pairing it with a pretty bottle stopper.  When your host has finished the wine, she will have something to remind her of the occasion.



For your bestie

You know her so well–she probably spent the last week agonizing over what to wear and how many mini-meatballs to make.  Homemade sachets of lavender bath salts, a beautiful canister of chamomile tea, or a playlist of her favorite tunes to put her in a cheerful mood will be much appreciated.


ScrabbleFor an S.O.’s family member

You’re probably anxious enough about spending time with your S.O.’s family that the thought of stressing over a gift is making you fidgety.  Just be yourself!  And bring something that will replace your nervous laughter with real laughter.  Did your S.O. grow up playing Scrabble with the family?  Is your S.O.’s brother planning on renovating the kitchen?  The classic word game or a subscription to Dwell magazine are a great conversation builder.  Consult with your S.O.

For a co-worker

There is no need to talk shop once you’re off the clock.  Show your co-worker that you’re not all business by giving him/her an embellished deck of cards or a colorful set of  dominoes.


Pastry BasketFor your parents

Even though you’ll always be their little baby and you don’t really think of them as “hosts,” you know how much work your parents put into keeping things as peaceful and delicious as possible during the holidays.  Give them the gift of a no-work-required breakfast.   A basket of baked goods, jam, coffee and a bottle of champagne will help them enjoy (or forget) a successful family get-together the morning after.

Wendy Cortez

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