I received my Christmas edition of Southern Lady in the mail a couple of days ago and was immediately jolted into the reality that the holidays are fast upon us. No, we haven’t yet had Halloween (although homes in my neighborhood have been decorated for it since mid September!), but Thanksgiving is early this year. And then, while we do have five weekends between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, that Holy Day of all holidays will be here before we can say pass the fudge! That means it’s time to talk about hostess gifts for the holidays.
To break us into the holiday spirit gently and to give us ample time to order the perfect “something,” I thought I’d share my top fifteen host and hostess gifts for the holidays. I don’t have to tell you ladies that host and hostess gifts are still good etiquette. We might all need to remind our children of this time-honored tradition, but most of us were raised to know that it’s gracious and even beautiful to bless our hosts with a little “something” to thank them for the trouble they’ve gone to on our behalf. I’m always so thankful that someone has bothered to invite me, plan for me, prepare for me and host me, that I don’t want to show up empty-handed.
A few hostess gift considerations
I have learned that some things make better hostess gifts than others. For instance, I prefer not to take loose cut flowers unless I have already arranged them in a unique vase for my hostess. Otherwise, she has to stop what she’s doing and arrange the stems I’ve brought. Also, I don’t want my hostess to feel like I expect her to use my flowers as a centerpiece, since she’s undoubtedly already gone to lengths to prepare one. So if I do take flowers, I arrange them in a unique vase (which is something she can keep and enjoy) and tell her they are for her to enjoy the next day. Better yet, I might send flowers the next morning with a thank you note.
Also if I take a food item, such as a tin of specialty cookies, coffee or wine, I make sure my hostess knows that my gift is for her to enjoy later. If she insists on opening it and sharing with the other dinner guests, that’s certainly fine. But I don’t want her to feel confused or pressured by my gift. Plus, I don’t want her to think that I was concerned that her preparations may have been lacking and that I needed to supply something additional. That would be an insult, and I certainly don’t want to do that.
So what is the perfect gift?
I think the best gifts are those that you know your host or hostess will especially enjoy. Maybe she is a hot tea drinker, so you present her with a tea pot and a tin of loose leaf tea. Maybe he’s a transplant from the south living up north now, so you give him a basket of southern specialties like pecans, White Lily flour, peach preserves and a tea towel like this one. Bottom line? When possible, put some thought into the gift, selecting something that reflects your host or hostess’ tastes.
But of course, I don’t always know my host that well. Then it’s perfectly fine to select a more general gift. That’s when I might take a candle reflecting the scents of the season, a bundle of pretty dish towels for the upcoming holidays, a luxurious liquid hand soap for their powder room or a tin of specialty cookies or candies. And while I do try to keep a few such gifts stored and ready to go in my closet, I still try to select gifts that are special, unique and maybe something one wouldn’t necessarily buy for themselves. A little nicety.
My Favorite Hostess Gifts for the Holidays
Here are a few gift ideas you could have on hand to give as host or hostess gifts for the holidays. Keeping in mind that some gifts are suitable for a dinner party while others are more suited to an overnight stay, I’m providing options in a full range of prices. Also, if I do choose to give my host or hostess a holiday themed gift, I try to choose one they will still have time to use. For instance, if I’m invited to a friend’s house the day before Thanksgiving, I would probably give them a scented candle or napkins they can use during the upcoming Christmas season, instead of giving a fall themed gift. So keeping timing in mind when selecting hostess gifts for the holidays.
- I love the few Southern Living cookbooks I own, so I wouldn’t hesitate at all to give my hostess this 2018 Southern Living Christmas Cookbook, especially if she enjoys cooking.
- I think a set of paper buffet napkins wrapped in a pretty bow is a lovely hostess gift for a friend who has invited you over for tea or lunch.
- Visiting in the home of an old friend during the holidays and remember that she is a tea drinker? This Pioneer Woman tea pot would be a sweet gift to leave with her.
- You could add a tin of loose-leaf tea to your friend’s tea pot gift. Or if you’ve been invited over for tea, dessert or coffee, you could bring a tin to your hostess.
- I have a friend who likes to get a new holiday serving platter every Christmas. This beautiful Winter’s Wonder Platter from Pier 1 is just what I would give her if I were visiting in her home this November or December.
- A pretty set of festive napkin rings is always a lovely gift for your Thanksgiving day hostess.
- And if you’re feeling especially generous, you could give your Thanksgiving day hostess those napkin rings (#6) with these cloth plaid Christmas napkins. After all, hosting Thanksgiving is a big job! (I think this set of 6 is extremely reasonably priced.)
- If you and your husband go to a business associate’s home for dinner, you might prefer to take some luxurious hand soaps in appreciation of their hospitality. I like to choose a fairly neutral scent instead of one that is too exotic. I especially like almond scented soaps or something in a citrus scent, such as grapefruit, lemon or orange.
- Even though I don’t serve cocktails, I have a thing for cocktail napkins. After all, you can also use them with dessert and coffee or appetizers. So I would love to receive these gold embroidered Christmas cocktail napkins from a grateful guest. Wouldn’t they be pretty wrapped in a ribbon, maybe with these wine glass charms attached?
- I like to buy several sets of pretty dish or tea towels to have on hand for impromptu invitations. That way I never have to go to someone’s home as a guest empty handed. You can give the tea towels alone or use one to line a simple basket or tin of goodies…maybe homemade cheese straws, cookies or scones.
- This FaLaLa Apron would make a sweet gift for the lady who volunteered to host your entire Bible study group, exercise class, book club or knitting group’s annual holiday party.
- This set of porcelain Woodland Wonders appetizer plates would make a substantial and sweet gift for a hostess who has gone the extra mile, whether you’re attending a dinner party or cookie exchange in her home.
- Visiting a dear friend in the city while you get your Christmas shopping done? Why not pack this pretty cheese board in your suitcase to take with you, then add a few specialty cheeses and a jar of olives to leave bundled with this unique gift? Or shoot, you could break it out early and enjoy a charcuterie board of all the goodies with your hostess upon returning from your day of shopping! She’d like that, right?
- Having lived in Arizona for over 13 years, I’ve fallen in love with all things cactus! So I think these holiday cactus cocktail napkins are worth a mention. I think they’re darling.
- Finally, you just can’t go wrong with a Yankee Candle, in my book. You can choose a scent of the season, one that you know your hostess loves or a classic, like lemon or lavender.
Continue shopping for hostess gifts for the holidays here:
The shopping widget below contains some of the items I’ve listed below and a few others. Be sure to look through it for additional hostess gifts for the holidays.
I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s post about hostess gifts for the holidays. This is definitely a good post to pin to your gifts, holiday or hospitality Pinterest boards. (I’d love it if you would follow me on Pinterest, too!)And you would do me a great honor and favor if you’d share this post with your Facebook friends as well. Oh, and while we’re talking social media, are you following me on Instagram? (Ha, ha! I don’t want much from you, do I?!)
What kinds of gifts do you like to give or receive as hostess gifts? I’d love to know! I do hope you have ample opportunities to bless some sweet and gracious hosts and hostesses with gifts of gratitude this holiday season. And I also hope you’ll shop someone some love by having them into your home. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate fete, you know? Just having someone in for coffee or tea is such an act of kindness, and it goes further than you may realize in making someone else’s day.
Blessed for My Day
May the Lord bless you with creative and sweet opportunities to show someone hospitality in the coming days. We live in a world where so many people live far from family and “home.” People are aching for connection, community and contact. Why not do more than think about it or pray about it? Why not extend the invitation today? Put the date on the calendar to host someone for coffee and dessert, a simple lunch of soup and sandwiches or a night of games and pizza. Invite a new co-worker, the neighbor you only wave to, the woman in your church who recently lost her husband, the pastor’s family or a dear old friend. Just do it. And you’ll be so glad you did.
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality. ~ Romans 12:10-13