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The Ultimate Guide to the Right Hostess Gifts for Every Occasion

We know we're supposed to show our appreciation to our hosts, but it can be tricky to choose the right gifts for each situation. We got etiquette experts to explain the rules.

Soda Stream starter kitvia

Bubbly for all ages, for a dinner party

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. ”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 versatile gift like a SodaStream SodaStream Jet Sparkling Water Maker Starter Kit, which easily turns typical tap water into elegant sparkling water, and even adds pizzazz to house cocktails.

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Maple gift boxvia

Something elegant and sweet, for a dinner party

If you’re not sure your hosts are drinkers, you can’t go wrong with Runamok Maple Syrup—one of the most authentic and natural varieties on the market, which can easily spruce up morning coffees, slow-cooked meats, and the more obvious pancakes. The glass bottle packaging elevates the gift. These holiday gifts are perfect for your boss or coworkers. 

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Hazelnut spreadvia

Bring dessert and a topping, for a dinner party

If the dinner party you’re headed to is a more laid back and casual affair, consider putting aside just enough dough for a few quarts of fresh berries and a jar or two of Once Again Organic Amore Hazelnut Spread With Cocoa and Milk. It’s the organic hazelnut spread dinner goers will obsess over dipping just about everything into. Don’t miss these Amazon Prime gifts for everyone on your list.

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Frescobaldi Laudemio oilvia

The most elegant oils, for overnight stays

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 Frescobaldi Laudemio First Pressing 2018 30th Anniversary Special Gold Edition olive oil—an extremely elegant version of the standard EVOO that won’t soon be forgotten.

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Nest Fragrances candle setvia

Thoughtful has a scent, for overnight stays

Fragrant soaps and candles are also always welcome. Take the guesswork out of giving with classic options like the NEST Fragrances Discovery Candle Set, a delightful set that blends bright and night thanks to an assortment of ten different votives.

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BBQ saucevia

Something to top every meal, for overnight stays

If you’re planning to stay through at least a few meals, try bringing condiments that will highlight all the best ingredients. Your hostess will love slathering this Red Duck Traditional 3-Sauce Sampler Set on breakfast sandwiches, grilled lunches, and oven-roasted dinner favorites. It comes with an Organic Original Ketchup, Smoked Applewood Molasses BBQ Sauce, and a delicious bottle of Approachable Mild Taco Sauce.

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PieSteve Cukrov/Shutterstock

A truly memorable kitchen piece, for staying a weekend or more

A weekend-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. Consider bringing a variety of smaller gifts bundled in a large gift set, starting with an elegant pie server like this Edward’s “Pedestal.” It’s super cute, easy to clean, and surprisingly lightweight. Here are more popular holiday gifts on Amazon.

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Chocolate babka pievia

Artisan baked goods, for staying a week or more

Obviously, a pie server is best when topped with a deliciously sweet treat, so you’ll want to bring a famous Breads Bakery Babka Pie to top it off. You’ll be a hero for doing so, and your best bet is probably to order a variety of items to stash in the freezer and thaw over the course of the week.

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El Pinto Mild salsavia

Far off flavors, for staying a week or more

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 local Texas BBQ sauce, a favorite Wisconsin cheese, or even local condiments like El Pinto Mild Salsa from the iconic restaurant in New Mexico. Be sure to bring as much as possible so your host feels fully appreciated.

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Philips Sonicare toothbrushvia

Something theyll use every day, for staying a week or more

If you’re planning to stay a while, consider offering a practical gift you know they’ll use every day and truly be wowed by. The Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4100 Plaque Control is the modern rechargeable electric toothbrush they’ll be eager to reach for in the morning and offers a nifty pressure sensor too.

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Practical items, for the person hosting your child

For someone taking care of your kids for the weekend, Gottsman suggests sending a $50 to $100 gift—a box of good quality stationery with their initial, a basket of healthy snacks for the kids and host parent, a casserole for breakfast, and a bag of roasted coffee beans, gourmet jelly and muffins. Also, consider a gift card to a local pizza place or supermarket. It wouldn’t hurt to add something luxurious they can do for themselves on their next DIY spa day, like the RPZL Polisher Brush and other hair accessories. Find out more products they’ll use every day.

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Blue Lagoon mud maskvia

Stress-busting items, for the person hosting your child

A Blue Lagoon Silica Mud Mask made from Iceland’s Blue Lagoon is sure to impress and enthuse the family member or friend hosting your little one.

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Aveda moisturizing oilvia

Pampering items, for the person hosting your child

Give them permission to relax and luxuriate with an aromatic conditioning body oil such as Aveda beautifying composition Moisturizing Oil, which will also look gorgeous on any vanity.

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Pancake mixvia

Fun things to eat and make, for the person hosting your child

For the hostess who needs a helping hand, consider putting together a giant gift set of all the best Krusteaz pancake, waffle, bread, and other mixes. She’ll have fun knowing at least most breakfasts are planned and accounted for in advance, and if there’s a little one, they’ll love to help. Next, check out this ultimate gift guide for everyone on your list.

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Every product is independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Bryce Gruber
Bryce Gruber covers gift ideas, shopping, and e-commerce at, although you've likely seen her work across a variety of women's lifestyle and parenting topics at, Bravo,, Martha Stewart, and on your TV screen through national talk shows including The Tamron Hall Show. She lives and works in New York's Hudson Valley with her five small children. Find her on social media at @brycegruber.