Finds | 11.09.2023

14 Best Hostess Gifts for the Holidays

People arriving for a dinner party, they hug and exchange a hostess gift.

By Franki Hanke

When someone else is handling all the cooking and cleaning, showing up with a hostess gift is an easy way to appreciate your host! Instead of opting for a panic-bought bottle of wine you buy on the way, shop these hostess gift ideas before your next dinner party. 

When it comes to packaging hostess gifts, you don’t need to wrap them. Wrapping them can create confusion about when they should be opened, but some minimalist packaging can emphasize that it’s a gift and show your forethought. Add a simple velvet ribbon and tag it with a note about why you picked a gift to dress it up. 

Many of these items would make great housewarming gifts or stocking stuffers, so take the inspiration and run! If you want more help gift shopping, read more gift guides next. 

Food Gifts

When you’re coming over for a meal, it fits to bring something to use during their next menu. Plus, food doesn’t require you to know as many preferences as other more permanent gifts like decor pieces which makes it one of the best hostess gifts. 

Maldon Salts – $7 – $22

Maldon is the best name for finishing salt. Their packaging is recognizable, and even if your hostess has some on hand already, they’ll need more eventually. For some variety, gift them the Smoked version (alone or alongside a restock of the classic) so they can experiment with the extra flavor it adds. 

Shop Maldon Salt (1): Smoked Sea Salt Box | Original Tub

See’s Candies Little Pops Assortment – $10 – $17

While See’s is best known for its lovely truffle assortments, its sleeper hit is its lollipops. They feature rich, lingering flavors that are a smidge lighter than chocolate. As a chocolate alternative or a fun deviation from the expected, gift these mini versions for a post-party pick-me-up for your hostess. 

Shop See’s Candies: Little Pops Assortment | Full-Size Assortment (2)

Harney & Sons Tea – ~$15

Tea is an easy, affordable hostess gift that can be made more appropriate by fitting the tea to the season. As an avid tea drinker, Harney & Sons is one of my favorite teas plus their packaging is attractive for gifting. Choose from a variety of seasonally fitting teas depending on the occasion and your host. 

  • For an autumnal gathering, capture the season with the herbal tea African Autumn which blends seasonal cranberry with orange, and hibiscus. 
  • For a general holiday gathering, reflect that with Holiday Heritage black tea with cinnamon and apple flavors or Williamsburg Ginger Cake tea for a deeper, more spiced flavor. 
  • For a Christmas gathering, reference the season with White Christmas, a white tea with almond and vanilla flavors. 
  • For a wintery gathering, evoke snow with Celebration’s white and blue packaging. 

Shop Harney & Sons Tea (3): African Autumn | White Christmas Tea | Williamsburg Ginger Cake | Holiday Heritage Tea | Celebration Tea

Graza Olive Oil – $17 to $37

Graza has been a best-selling olive oil for months now, especially when their Sizzle and Drizzle oils are paired together into a gift set. The brand offers high-quality, extra virgin olive oil in attractive, convenient squeeze bottles that are recognizable to anyone in the online home-cook sphere. It’s been raved about by everyone from Food & Wine editors to Wirecutter reviewers

Buy both Sizzle ($14) & Drizzle ($21) for a pair-up designed for cooking and finishing separately. 

Shop Graza Oils (4): Sizzle & Drizzle

Chuoao Chocolate Sampler – $24

What gift guide is complete without chocolate? Chocolate is almost always a good idea, especially these little sampler bars from French chocolatier Chuao. Plus, it’s already in a nice gift box! They’re the perfect size for a late, extra dessert which is precisely what I’d write on the card: “Let these be a little post-clean-up treat!” 

Shop Chuoao Chocolate Sampler (5)

Portland Syrups Drink Syrups – $30+

For the bar cart aficionado, a drink syrup can be used at their next party with a bubbly mixer like tonic or soda water to make drinks easily. Choose from a variety of flavors or, since they come in two packs, buy a few and mix and match the two packs into a few different hostess gifts for different households. 

Shop Portland Syrups: Spiced Cranberry | Grapefruit Tonic | Hibiscus Cardamon (6) | Spicy Ginger | Rose Cordial 

Entertainment Gifts

For a laid-back hostess or the game night host gift, these offer a new activity in their arsenal and may even work to pull out that same night! 

Bananagrams – $14 – $22

For anyone who plays Scrabble Go with you, here’s your next hostess gift! Bananagrams is a portable spin on word-building games. It’s quicker and easier to jump into than Scrabble though.

For a slightly elevated gift, pick up their Signature edition which comes with elegant brown and gold tiles and is packed in a box. 

Shop Bananagrams: Classic or Signature

If: Questions for the Game of Life – $9

This book should only be gifted with some storytelling, because the intent has to be to inspire conversation around the tabletop, or the book may feel random. However, this book is one of the older conversation starter trends and feels less like couples therapy and more like interesting conversations. Before gifting, tab a few of your favorite questions to make it easier to dive in on the highlights. 

This book used to ride along in my parent’s car as a hold over from their early relationship and often inspired some genuine conversations for all of us. 

Shop If

Home Decor & Kitchen Gifts

Unless you’re best friends, home decor can be a bit of a risk, so they require extra insight into your hostess and their interior design. 

For example, items like cocktail napkins, placemats, glassware, or coasters need enough to have one for each of their guests, so how many people do they normally have? Unless you know they specifically don’t have one of these essentials, what makes the ones you are buying uniquely useful? Remember, items your recipient already owns aren’t good gifts, so I’d avoid popular picks like acacia cheese boards, charcuterie boards, or cheese knives unless you know they’re in the market for another one. Most of us who host often have those essentials handled.  

So, if you are buying non-consumable gifts, be extra picky and consider if our picks fit your recipient the best. When in doubt, opt for something earlier on our list. 

A selection of home decor and kitchen hostess gifts.

Swedish Dishcloth Set – $15

If you want something you know they’ll use, look no further. Swedish dishcloths are ultra-absorbent, reusable cloths perfect for a variety of clean-up tasks. For Earth By Us offers them in so many designs, they manage to be super useful and cute for gifting. 

Shop Swedish Dishcloths: Neutral Pattern Pack (1) | Floral Pack

Olive Oil Cruet – $20

If you’re not gifting Graza olive oil because your host already has a household favorite, do they need a convenient bottle? Olive oil should always be stored in a dark bottle to keep it protected and fresh, so these ceramic stoneware cruets combined the necessary darkness with an easy pour and attractive finish in a variety of color combinations. 

Shop GUTE Olive Oil Cruet (2)

Capri Blue Candle – $30

If you’ve ever shopped in-store at Anthropologie, you’ve smelled Capri Blue’s Volcano Scent. It’s a lightly sugared citrus smell that truly feels like background music for your nose. It’s not overpowering but is a scented candle that would satisfy many noses. 

To really wow, splurge on a large size to increase the burn time. As a candle alternative, the reed diffuser is equally wonderful. 

Shop Capri Blue: White Candle (3) | Reed Oil Diffuser | Jumbo Gold Candle 

Fruits & Passion Cucina Line – $20+

Borrowing from Italian for the name, the Cucina line of hand products is the perfect skincare gift for your favorite chef. Whether you opt for hand soap, lotion, or a combination of both, the scents are all culinary-inspired with unique combinations from Orange & Fennel to Lime Zest and Cypress. 

Avoid the pre-bundled gift set that comes with a holder though. Most people already have a method for styling their soap of the moment, so avoid gifting more clutter. 

Shop Cucina Skincare: Orange & Fennel Soap (4) | Orange & Fennel Lotion (5) | Lime Zest Lotion Bundle | Sea Salt & Amalfi Lemon Soap | Sea Salt & Amalfi Lotion

MD’s Pick Barista Hand Cream – $18

Alternatively, to the lovely scents of Fruits & Passion, MD’s Pick is a Korean skincare favorite that’s designed with no scent. It’s made for chefs and baristas to protect their hands against frequent handwashing with a non-greasy, hyper-functional lotion. For your more utilitarian host, this might be a better pick! This product comes in a two-pack, so if you’re on a budget, only gift one for two separate hosts. 

“I cook many hours per day and am constantly washing my hands, which were always dry, cracked, and sometimes bleeding. This cream has worked wonders right from the get-go. It is greaseless and odor-free. Using twice a day, my hands were softer after one week than they had been in over 25 years,” one reviewer wrote.  

Shop MD’s Pick Barista Hand Cream (6)

Garlic Grater Dish – $48

Anyone who loves to serve oil and bread needs one of these garlic plates. These handcrafted ceramics feature a series of circles inside that allow you to quickly grate the garlic into a paste before adding herbs and oil for an easy dip. If you usually love shopping Etsy’s hand-made offerings, these are American-made in California and feature lovely variations of their handmade crafting. 

Shop Manuela Marino Garlic Grater Dish (7)

The caveat to home decor gifts is if you know they need it. If you’re close to your hostess and she mentioned not having enough wine glasses last week or being embarrassed by an old knife set with the company over, then those would be wonderful gifts, but only buy these more permanent items when you’re confident in how they’ll be received. 

Don’t worry about picking the perfect gift, anything you’ve picked from our hostess gift ideas with intention behind it will be seen as a thoughtful gift. When in doubt, avoid potential clutter and opt for consumables! Then, roll up to the soiree confident you’ll be their (unspoken) favorite guest with a great gift. 

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