The holidays are almost here. And while invitations to big holiday bashes are probably not rolling in this year like they usually do, you may still be invited to a couple small, intimate gatherings with your family and closest friends. And with a year like this one, it only feels right to bring the host or hostess something particularly special. After all, bringing a thoughtful gift isn’t some outdated old-school tradition — it’s a thoughtful practice that's still very much alive and well.
So, how do you show your appreciation for their hospitality? We're here to answer that question by walking you through mastering the art of the host gift.
First, think about the type of event you’re going to. Is it a small, casual group of friends getting together, or a formal party with colleagues (most likely something that won't be applicable until next year)? The gift — and its presentation — changes depending on the situation. With the former, handmade soap or a classic candle of a scent they love for after the party shows you put thought into your decision. And, since it’s a laid-back event, don’t feel like you need to wrap it (you can always add a bow if you want to jazz it up).
If you’re attending a more formal event (again, something that may be reserved for next year), you’ll want to elevate your gift and its presentation. A monogrammed cheese board demonstrates forethought (since you clearly didn’t run out to grab it right before the party), and it’s something the host will be able to use the next time they throw a party. Given the more upscale nature of this type of event, you’ll want to wrap the present you’re giving. It’s a simple step that lets the host know you put time into their gift.
Another factor to keep in mind: How well do you know the host? Assuming it’s a good friend or family member, you can tailor the gift to their interests. If you know they like to cook, you could get them artisan sauces or jams to use the next time they hit the kitchen. Is the hostess a cocktail connoisseur? Consider getting a gift box with everything they need to make their favorite drink. For that friend who always spends their weekends at the local coffee shop, a DIY cold brew kit might be exactly what they need to unwind the next weekend. But, if you’re shopping for an acquaintance you only recently met, you’d be better off going with a gift that’s a little less personalized, but more likely to be appreciated. Think: wine caddy, a lotion gift set, or a serving bowl.
To master the art of the host gift, there are just a few more considerations. Make sure you greet the host before you give them the gift. That way they know you’re genuinely excited to see them. Don’t make a big deal out of the act of giving the host your gift. Be subtle so that you don’t make guests who may not have brought a gift uncomfortable. And, don’t expect the host to open the gift in front of you. They have a lot to do — they are hosting a gathering after all. They’ll see your thoughtful gift at the end of the night when everyone’s gone home and they have a few moments to breathe.
Still can’t decide on that perfect host or hostess gift? Check out our Gifts for the Host collection with suggestions like bottle openers, serving boards, bar tools, and more.
Written by Dani Howell
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