For an evening dinner party
Consider a good bottle of wine or liquor, like exotic Kikori Whiskey from Japan, or get the party started with drink mixers, like Belvoir Fruit Farms Elderflower and Rose Lemonade, Ginger Beer Lemonade or Elderflower Lemonade. If you're not sure your hosts are drinkers, you can't go wrong with Droga Chocolates Money on Honey Gift Boxes—confections with a caramel center made with wildflower honey.
For spending the weekend
For the hostess gift, consider a Gold Cocktail Shaker Set, an update on barware with a gold plated stainless steel shaker and strainer. It's so elegant it just may upstage even the best-dressed guests. Or give something more personal, like Dogeared's wishbone jewelry—it's perfect for Thanksgiving, and they can wear and think of you for years.
Fragrant soaps and candles are also always welcome. Take the guesswork out of giving with classic options from Au Lit like the Illume Tonka Noir Candle, a delightful scent that blends bright and night by mixing notes of juicy mandarin, rose essence, and rich jasmine with hints of salted musk, creamy sandalwood, and smoky vanilla.
If you're on a budget and looking to go the homemade route? Consider one of these thoughtful mason jar gifts.
For staying a week or more
To that end, consider a Spanish Pantry Basics Gift Box, a gift box filled with staple items that evoke the distinct flavors of Spain, including intensely smoked pimenton de La Vera paprika, Marcona almonds, roasted piquillo peppers, membrillo quince preserve, solera aged sherry vinegar and extra virgin olive oil.
Another great idea is to bring a taste of home, suggests Sharon Schweitzer, etiquette expert, frequent international traveler. If your host is from Texas originally and that's where you are visiting from, consider bringing some Texas BBQ sauce, Tito's vodka, a set of Moscow Mule cups with all the set-ups—ginger beer, fresh lime juice, candied ginger, and fresh mint, a Texas stone cheese board with host's favorite cheese assortment.
If someone is hosting your child for the weekend
For the hostess who needs a helping hand, Yumble is a new meal delivery service created to make feeding kids healthy, tasty meals that are also affordable. Currently delivering to 27 states east of the Mississippi, it has signature dishes like Chicken Lollipops and " Smack and Cheese" (created with whole grain pasta, protein-rich cheese, and a some hidden nutrients from squash). If you get desperate, these are the frozen dinners you can feel good about feeding your kids.
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If you're staying with friends vs. family
Family, especially parents, are a bit different. "They probably don't want you to do much financially, but you can certainly pitch in with groceries, a special gift or experience, and the gift of time," says Gottsman. Follow these rules to be a good house guest.
Make the right presentation
Some great ideas for well-packaged, memorable hostess gifts: Brina, super-luxe insulated wine sleeves made in Italy. Gift the sleeve with a bottle of their favorite wine inside! Also Clase Azul tequila, high-end, super premium tequila that doubles as a vase, a lamp, or a candle-holder once the alcohol is gone (the product label is fully removable so there's no branding when you want to make it truly a piece of art).
Avoid bringing flowers if they're not already in a pretty mason jar or decorative vase. "Better still, send them in advance so the host can place them someplace special before her guests arrive," says Gottsman. Or skip the traditional flowers entirely and send a Plantogram, a cool fruit tree, as a thank-you gift. These avocado trees are fine for small spaces and are sure to be the most inventive gift they get this season. And as a bonus, avocados have powerful health benefits.
Never give a re-gifted hostess gift
A gift they know is fresh and just for them is a beautiful cheese plate if you know you share a love of cheese. How about a beautiful cheese and charcuterie platter from Murray's Cheese? The gifts range in price from $50 to $300 and can be shipped anywhere in the U.S. Or, if you know they love to cook, a cookbook you love and think they might as well, such as Chrissy Teigen's Cravings cookbook or Shannon Sarna's Modern Jewish Baker. Golden Door Spa's three-pack of gourmet honey would also be a sumptuous treat here. (And honey will stay fresh forever if you do this one thing.)
Personalize the gift based on the hosts' preference
Do they love dirty martinis? The Bitter Truth Olive Bitters makes mixing a dirty martini surprisingly simple. Mix a few dashes with gin or vodka and there's no need to add any olive brine to the drink. Or add a couple drops to Bloody Marys for a salty kick at brunch the next morning.
Fruit fans will love the festive Holiday Spirit Gift Set from Edible Arrangements, with chocolate dipped strawberries, chocolate dipped bananas, fresh pineapple, and more, all artfully arranged in a beautifully designed Happy Holidays container.
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Hostess Gift Taboos
Don't miss these other affordable hostess gift ideas.
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