A hostess gift is one name for a gift taken and given to the host(s) or hostess(es) by guests as a token of their thanks for the hospitality. The type, value and other specifics of how the gift is given vary from one culture to another.
Some common gifts to take to dinner in the U.S. are a bouquet of flowers, a bottle of wine or box of candy.
Some places it is normal for an overnight guest to bring something representative of the place they are from.
Some other hostess gifts:
- a scarf (especially one made in the guest's home country or with something on it of special interest to the hosts)
- a decorative or nice smelling candle (scents can trigger allergies, so be cautious)
- a potted plant - flowering or fresh herbs (bought or seedlings you started)
- baked goods
- candy - a nice box or specialty candies
- tea or coffee - a set of samplers? see below
- hand lotion
- a picture frame
- gourmet food ingredients: flavored olive oil
- cocktail napkins in a holder
- some luxury toiletries (pretty soaps, hand creme, etc.)
For someone who's in a new home, you could consider a house warming type gift.
Make it specialEdit
Presentation can help a gift look special. Nice wrapping, an assortment of related items in a nice basket or decorative, reusable bag, tin or box makes the gift seem more thoughtful.
For instance, if you have more time and less money, bake some cookies, wrap them on a paper or plastic plate you don't want back (even the trays that come with some frozen dinners will do after they're cleaned), write the recipe neatly on a card (if you have small children or feel artistic, draw a picture on the card or use pre-decorated ones), use colored plastic wrap if you can find and afford it, or dress up clear wrap or aluminum foil by adding some decorations - a bright ribbon or draw on the outside with colored markers or glitter glue. As an alternative, if you're shorter on time, buy the cookies or an assortment of cookies that look nice. Buy a few decorative plates or bowls at a "dollar" or thrift store. The Salvation Army or other resale shops often have lovely old plates available for a dollar or less. Especially around the holidays some plastic wraps come out in various colors -- usually costing little or no more than the regular clear wrap.
Combine a few things on a theme... does the host like dogs? Find a notepad or calendar with puppy pictures, go to the toy or school supply department and find some dog stickers, print out a short, cute story from the Web about a dog, wrap them up together, and voila! a gift.
If you have many friends who like tea, buy a bunch of different teas (with individually wrapped bags), then mix them up to create your own samplers. Put them into pretty boxes or baskets with (depending on the situation and your budget) a tea cup and saucer, a teaspoon, some quotes about tea drinking (gift shops have books or copy some from the Web or tea onto a pretty card or the blank side of a piece of wrapping paper), some tea biscuits, etc.
Even a regular piece of paper can be folded like origami and then taped to a package to make it feel special.