Giving a hostess gift is a sign of thanks and appreciation, and choosing unique hostess gifts shows even more thoughtfulness and consideration from the honored guests.
About Hostess Gifts
Hostess gifts are small gifts of appreciation that guests present to the party planner - typically the hostess of the event - in thanks for their invitation and entertainment. While hostess gifts are not typically expected for casual events, more elaborate fetes such as formal dinner parties, holiday events, or other large gatherings are appropriate occasions to give a hostess gift. Many party guests also give hostess gifts if they are staying overnight or otherwise require more than usual accommodations, such as if they have a special diet or other needs the party's hostess has graciously attended to in order to make the party enjoyable for them.
Traditional hostess gifts are simple and suitable for everyone. Flowers, chocolates, a bottle of wine, and candles are favorite options, but they can also be predictable. If a party has many guests, it is easy for a hostess to be overwhelmed with similar gifts, and choosing unique items shows more personal thought and attention to the thank-you gift.
Ideas for Unique Hostess Gifts
Depending on the type of party and the guest's budget, there are many unique options to choose from.
- Gift Baskets: A gift basket is easy to customize with any number of small items. Theming the basket is a great way to add uniqueness, and the theme can be anything the hostess may enjoy; gourmet chocolates, spa pampering treatment items, and hobby-oriented baskets are popular choices.
- Cleaning Services: A party takes massive effort to put together flawlessly, and any hostess will appreciate the gift of professional housecleaning services to help her recuperate from the event.
- Hobby Items: A guest who knows the party hostess enjoys scrapbooking may choose a set of specialized papers or scissors as a gift, or a hostess who loves to garden may appreciate new gardening gloves as a unique thank you.
- Soaps: Handmade soaps in unique shapes, scents, and designs are luxurious gift ideas.
- Drinks: A bottle of wine may be predictable, but après dinner drinks such as a fine liqueur, gourmet coffees, or unusual hot chocolates are more unique options.
- Gift Certificates: The party hostess has treated all the guests to food and entertainment, and guests can easily reciprocate that with a gift card or certificate to a movie, local event, or favorite restaurant.
- Homemade Items: Homemade hostess gifts such as cookies, jewelry, or knitting are personal, sentimental gift ideas.
- Flower Alternatives: Many guests give flowers, but more unique hostess gifts may be lucky bamboo arrangements, fresh herbs, or a bonsai tree.
- For the Kids: Giving a hostess gift to keep the children entertained is not only unique but also practical. Coloring books, a new DVD, or quiet toys can help keep the kids from feeling left out of the festivities.
- Holiday Ornaments: Many people host elaborate holiday parties, and giving an unusual ornament - perhaps a handcrafted one - is a unique and appropriate gift idea.
Giving Hostess Gifts
When a guest walks in the door to a party, it is considered poor manners to simply thrust the gift at the hostess, no matter how well intentioned that gift may be. Depending on the gift, it may be given as the guests arrive, or if it can be discreetly hidden (such as a gift certificate), it may be given as the guests depart. A card with sincere thanks should accompany even the most thoughtful gift, and the party guest should always verbally express their thanks and appreciation for the event.Some gifts, especially food and drink items, can be awkward as hostess gifts. The party hostess has spend considerable time planning the event, from issuing the party invitations to coordinating the decorations to planning the menu. To ensure that the hostess's careful plans are not disrupted by a well-intentioned gift, the giver should present items casually and express that they are meant to be enjoyed at a later time if desired.
A hostess expends considerable effort to make a party enjoyable for everyone invited, and choosing unique hostess gifts is a way to reciprocate that effort and express appreciation for the planning and personal invitation. From cleaning services to homemade goodies to hobby-oriented items, there are innumerable unique gift ideas to choose from, but they all express the same thanks and friendship as the initial party invitation.