We all find ourselves in situations where friends/family/whoever are hosting us at their homes for one thing or another – parties, dinners, to spend the weekend – and I always wonder, what should I bring? Ask the hostess (or host) and she’s almost always sure to tell you that you don’t need to bring a thing, but I still hate walking in empty-handed (and sometimes I wonder if she really means that). If you’re like me, the what-to-bring quandary has irked you on more than one occasion, so here are a few classic (and not-so-classic) hostess gift ideas.
Socks – This one’s a bit unconventional, but I love it. My friend Rachel recently came to stay with us for a weekend visit, and she brought the cutest socks for both me and my husband. The thought of socks as a hostess/host gift had never crossed my mind before, but now, I’m obsessed. A cute pair of socks is the perfect gift to bring when you’re staying in someone’s home – everyone wears socks (and can always appreciate a nice new pair), you don’t have to know someone’s size and they’re a great gift for both women and men. Win.
Flowers – Everyone, and I mean everyone, likes fresh flowers. I like to pick up blooms from our local farmers’ market as a little gift for hostesses – it’s great to support local farmers and shop local; plus, they tend to be a little more wallet-friendly at the market than at the florist.
Baked goods – Nothing shows your appreciation more than a baked good crafted in your very own kitchen (these vanilla bean-coconut cupcakes are surprisingly easy to make yet seem like they took hours of slaving away to create). Can’t stand the heat? Pick something up at a local bakery – though it won’t have the personal touch of something you made yourself, there are few hostesses that would turn their noses up at a tasty baked good.
Wine – Wine is a classic hostess gift – head to a dinner or cocktail party and there are sure be at least a few gifted bottles floating around – but it’s always appreciated. If it doesn’t help share the burden of hosting a group of boozers, it can provide your hosts with some much-needed personal backup at the end of a long day later on. I try to keep a mental list of wines I know I like so I can make the gifted bottle of wine at least a tiny bit more personal and tell the hostess something about it so she knows what to expect (and so I’m not gifting something that tastes like two-buck chuck).