For an evening dinner party
courtesy Belvoir Fruit Farms and Kikori Japanese Whiskey There are a number of etiquette rules to consider when you’re a guest in someone’s home. When it comes to selecting a hostess gift, a good guideline is to choose something that matches the effort the host put into the occasion, according to Diane Gottsman, a national etiquette expert, author of Modern Etiquette for a Better Life, and founder of The Protocol School of Texas. “While your host will undoubtedly thoughtfully plan every event, a holiday cocktail or dinner party is a bit fancier than a BYOB barbeque.”
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
courtesy Dogeared Jewelry If you are staying overnight—or over two nights—you may want to go for a $50 to $100 gift, and also make sure to take the host out to dinner or brunch and chip in with daily chores such as setting the table, clearing the dishes, and keeping your room clean. “The hostess gift is not ‘payment’ for the kindness; it’s simply the first gesture of gratitude. You should still contribute with other kind gestures or experiences, like something for the house or pay for theater or sports tickets while you are together,” says Gottsman.
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
via titosvodka.com A week-long stay would require a $50 to $100 gift plus the same rules as staying the weekend. “The cost of a week’s grocery is what you should aim to contribute in one way or another during your stay, as well as buying some groceries without asking and offering to make a meal or two,” says Gottsman.
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.