Host or Hostess gifts can be so much more than a bottle of wine or other alcohol! A gift for the host of your evening (whatever gender they may be) is a lovely opportunity to preemptively thank them for the fun you’ll have and retroactively thank them for the time, thought, and effort that went into planning and preparing.
Read on for thoughtful (and useful!) gift ideas for the host or hostess of the party. As Judy always says, never show up to a party empty handed!
Choosing great gifts for hosts
The key to a good host or hostess gift is that it fall into at least one of the following categories (or ideally multiple categories):
- A) Helpful and general enough to be universally appreciated.
- B) Discrete enough that it isn’t somehow an imposition to receive
- C) Special in a way that said host probably wouldn’t think to get it for themselves
- D) Relatively convenient for you to procure
- E) Is actually for the person hosting the party, and not for the party itself. Wine or alcohol is a common item to bring, but too often, guests break into that bottle during the party. Also, what if your host/hostess isn’t a big drinker?
All that said, don’t put too much pressure on the gift. In our experience as hosts, we appreciate any gesture of thanks, so I think you’ll find people generally aren’t that picky!
We have store-bought options and some tips for homemade gifts too. All are thoughtful, most are pretty affordable, and every single one will make sure the host remembers the evening fondly—and you as well!
Note: Prices were accurate at the time of publication.
The best hostess gifts:
We’re a spoonula family. Look for one that constructed as one continuous piece, from the handle to the spoonula itself. Glued-on handles tend to break! Flexible with a sharp edge, we have a Di Oro spoonula for every member of the family and then some so we never have to fight for one.
When you gift this GIR mini whisk, you’re really gifting a lifetime of perfectly emulsified salad dressing. It’s an item that your host or hostess isn’t likely to already have in their kitchen, but it’s also a tool they’ll find themselves reaching for often. You can shop the full color range at GIR.
A little kitchen luxury for zest, cheese, garlic, ginger, and nutmeg! This idea comes via Melissa Clark, and is very much spot on for hosting folk. It’s also one that they might not already have in their kitchen.
Milk Frothing Wand
This falls under the category of delightful things people have been meaning to buy, but haven’t yet. They’re usually rechargeable via USB and fit into crammed utensil drawers or desk drawers at the office!
We’re always extolling the virtues of having a kitchen scale around, but they’re still really not common in American kitchens! This one may not be the coolest out there, but it is the most reliable one we’ve ever used.
“Good” Olive Oil
A very nice bottle of olive oil is a great alternative to the traditional choice—a bottle of alcoholic something. A nice and fruity one for dipping crusty bread or finishing off soups and pastas makes everything feel extra special.
Homemade chili oil
From our chili oil to chiu chow sauce to XO sauce, make homemade sauces for friends and family instead of or in addition to the usual cookies! Gift them in a jar with a rubber seal and hinged lid or buy your favorite! (Psst, the recipe for Shortcut Dan Dan Noodle sauce is in our cookbook!)
Baggu Cooler bag
I know we all have loads of reusable shopping bags now, but Baggu consistently comes out with unique and clever bags like this fun cooler bag. You can transport items for the party and leave it behind as a host gift—plus, you’re sure to find one that fits their taste and aesthetic!
In keeping with the “what can I get that isn’t a bottle of wine” theme, balsamic glaze feels special and a little fancy—and is also really versatile! You can make it yourself (The Mediterranean Dish has a recipe!), buy an affordable one, or go all out depending on your budget!
Make cookie dough, freeze it in a log, and include slice and bake instructions, so your host can enjoy warm cookies from the oven. (And without the pressure of having to share them with the whole party!) As Sarah said as I was writing up this guide, she would be *thrilled* with this gift!
This journal serves as a kitchen companion for the experimental cook! The pages are made of water and greaseproof stone paper so there’s no runny ink! The cover is vegan leather and we love the red color!
Quality flakey salt is elevated and affordable and will be a hit even if the person in question already has a box stashed away! We love it sprinkled into salads, over eggs, or buttered toast for an extra hit of flavor
*Those* brass salt and pepper mills
I’ve been seeing these brass salt and pepper mills all over Pinterest and Instagram. It’s something that I would never buy for myself but would be totally and utterly delighted to receive.
*That* hand soap and hand cream
This will make anyone feel like the host with the most! With the stuff of bougie hotels and restaurants the world over, help make their home feel like an extra special getaway too!
Chinese rolling pin
For the kind of host who has every kitchen gadget, we’re pretty sure that the versatile and compact Chinese rolling pin will be a welcome addition. It’s great for making bao, dumplings, and just about any dough you might want to have some extra dexterity for.
If you’ve ever tried to get a dish out of the steamer and found yourself struggling with a dish towel to avoid burning yourself, this is the best, cleverest, “surprise and delight” kitchen gadget, helping lift hot dishes out of hot pots of steaming water.
Really good fruit
It’s deeply ingrained Chinese etiquette to bring large crates of superior quality fruit to parties, whether it’s ripe peaches or individually wrapped Asian pears. Anything that feels special and in season is great. How about, say, a medley of blood oranges, mineolas, clementines, lemons, and naval oranges in a basket? Heaven!
Flowers with a vase
I know there are some hosts out there who balk at the idea of someone bringing unapproved flowers into their home, but we’re not those people. We love cut flowers. Bonus points if you find a beautiful vase (even if it’s thrifted!) to bring it in, so the host/hostess doesn’t have to spend time trimming stems after you arrive!